IMG, the international sports and entertainment giant, has sold its 50% share in the ATP 500 Rio Open men’s tennis tournament to fellow shareholder Mubadala Capital, the Abu Dhabi-based investment firm.
The deal sees Mubadala Capital now hold 100% ownership of the Rio Open.
IMG’s move comes as it looks to adhere to the ATP’s tournament ownership rules following its acquisition of the Mutua Madrid Open ATP and WTA 1000 tennis tournament last year.
After the Madrid Open acquisition, Endeavor-owned IMG controlled three major tennis events along with the Rio Open and ATP 1000 Miami Open, breaking ATP by-laws preventing tournament operators from owning more than two top-level tournaments.
The agency also owns a third-tier ATP 250 tournament in Chengdu, China, although that is not classified as a top-level tournament.
Since the Rio Open's inaugural edition in 2014, IMG has worked with IMM, a subsidiary of Mubadala Capital, to build the clay-court tournament into the largest tennis tournament in South America.
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The tournament, which has a prize purse of over $2 million, features 60 of the world’s best players competing at the 6,200-seat Jockey Club stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Since its debut, the tournament’s principal sponsor has been telecommunications company Claro, while Betway, the international online betting operator, sponsored the tournament in a deal that ended after this year’s edition.
The 2023 Rio Open, played from February 20 to 26, was won by Britain’s Cameron Norrie.
Gavin Forbes, executive vice president and managing director of tennis events at IMG, said: “We are proud to have developed an incredibly successful tournament in Rio de Janeiro in partnership with Mubadala Capital and IMM.
“Over the years, we have worked together to establish the Rio Open as a truly special event amongst tennis fans and beyond from South America and around the world. We wish Mubadala Capital well as they continue to build on the tournament’s success in the future.”
IMG’s acquisition of the Madrid Open was agreed with Cyprus-based tournament organizer Super Slam in December 2021 and was concluded following approval from the ATP and WTA in April 2022. Along with the Madrid Open, the deal also included golf’s Acciona Open de Espana.
Through the acquisition, Madrid Trophy Promotion (MTP), the Spanish entity that operates the tournament, became part of IMG, with MTP’s chief executive and tournament director Gerard Tsobanian named the agency’s senior vice president of tennis events.
Image: Buda Mendes/Getty Images