ATP’s Groundbreaking Financial Security Program: Baseline
In a ground-breaking move, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) has unveiled a transformative financial security program called Baseline. This pioneering initiative is set to launch in 2024 with a three-year trial period, marking a significant milestone in the history of the ATP Tour. Comprised of three key pillars, Baseline aims to create a sustainable living for ATP players and revolutionize player finances.
The first pillar of the Baseline program is Guaranteed Base Earnings. This pillar guarantees minimum income levels for the Top 250-ranked singles players each season. If a player’s prize money earnings fall below the guaranteed threshold, the ATP will step in to cover the shortfall. For the 2024 season, the minimum income levels are set at $300,000 for the Top 100, $150,000 for players ranked 101-175, and $75,000 for players ranked 176-250. This assurance empowers players to plan their seasons with greater certainty, allowing them to focus on their game and invest in their teams. The program also covers the expenses of coaches, personal physios, and travel, providing players with much-needed financial security.
The second pillar focuses on Injury Protection, providing support to players who are unable to participate in at least nine ATP Tour and Challenger Tour events in a season due to injury. This innovative initiative includes financial thresholds based on ranking, with $200,000 provided to players in the Top 100, $100,000 to players ranked 101-175, and $50,000 to players ranked 176-250 in 2024. This financial support ensures that players have a safety net during difficult periods, allowing them to focus on recovery and make a successful return to the game.
The third pillar, Newcomer Investment, aims to provide a boost to up-and-coming players as they embark on their professional tennis journey. These rising stars will have access to $200,000 of funding when they break into the Top 125 for the first time. This funding will be paid in advance of the following season and offset against their prize money earnings. This enables players to invest in their teams and resources, facilitating their transition onto the ATP Tour.
Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, expressed his excitement about the introduction of Baseline, stating, “We’re beyond excited to introduce Baseline. This initiative is a complete shift in the way tennis approaches player finances. It represents our commitment to the players and their careers, fostering an environment where they can thrive and elevate the sport. It is also just the start of what we hope to achieve. Our ambition is to expand this game-changing initiative in the years to come.”
Grigor Dimitrov, ATP Player Advisory Council Member, highlighted the importance of Baseline for players starting their careers, saying, “Being a professional tennis player comes with incredible rewards, but it’s also a challenging journey, especially for those starting their careers. Baseline is a game-changer. Knowing that we have a safety net through the minimum guarantee and injury protection pillars gives us peace of mind, allowing us to focus on our game and strive for success. This truly shows the ATP’s commitment to the players and the future of our sport.”
Between 30 and 45 players are expected to receive financial support through Baseline each season. The eligibility for this support is determined based on various criteria, including a player’s ranking, career prize money earnings, and the number of events played. The 2024-26 trial period will serve as an initial proof of concept, with the potential to expand funding in the future.
Overall, the Baseline program represents a groundbreaking step towards ensuring a sustainable living for ATP players and revolutionizing player finances. With its three pillars – Guaranteed Base Earnings, Injury Protection, and Newcomer Investment – Baseline provides financial security, allowing players to focus on their game and shape a successful career in professional tennis. This initiative showcases the ATP’s dedication to the players and the future of the sport, promising to reshape the landscape of tennis finance for years to come.