I feel like this week has been such a bummer, news-wise, but this story of an ATP sponsor-on-the-skids is too important to miss. (Thanks, Shaun, for sending it along!)
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has sued R. Allen Stanford, and his Houston-based Stanford Group Co., for “massive, ongoing” securities fraud. The SEC obtained an emergency court order freezing Stanford’s assets and has appointed a receiver to return money to investors, meaning that the over $100 million in sponsorship money that was promised to tennis, golf, cricket and other pro sports has likely disappeared.
Stanford is the ATP tour’s “investment adviser,” a backer of next month’s Sony Ericsson Open in Miami and a sponsor of the Champions Series senior tour.
(Click here for the full article from Bloomberg.)
This is yet another big, dark cloud over our sport’s already gloomy sponsorship landscape: Mercedes Benz has left; Barclay’s Bank was recently bailed out by the royal families of Abu Dhabi and Qatar; in January, Sony Ericsson posted losses of $245 million compared to a profit of $494.3 million in the same quarter last year; and BNP Paribas (title sponsor of the upcoming BJK Cup exo, Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Indian Wells tournaments, among others) is also bleeding money, according to a just released financial report.
It’s no surprise – all sectors of the economy are suffering, especially the fancy car companies, financial firms and banks that make up the core of tennis sponsorship. With even bankers and CEOs taking serious pay cuts, will tennis players be next?
Stanford Financial Group Managing Director Scott Chaisson at last Feburary’s ATP Delray Beach International Tennis Championship in Florida.)