In just under four months, World TeamTennis will kick off its 2019 season — but WTT fans will notice more than a couple changes this year. Yes, there will still be the high energy, fast-paced, professional team tennis, featuring both men’s and women’s singles and doubles, plus mixed doubles, with simplified scoring and an almost party-like atmosphere. But this summer, the league will debut new teams, a new look, and even a new media partner to make this season more thrilling than ever.
The league’s CEO, Carlos Silva, is himself part of this exciting wave of changes at WTT, taking the helm this past January. Silva’s love for tennis runs deep. A former collegiate player who also toured on the pro satellite circuit, he says the opportunity to lead WTT is “like a dream come true.” We talked with him about all fans can look forward to from the first serve to the last this July, and big plans for the future of World TeamTennis.
A Growing League
Since Silva was announced as CEO just a matter of weeks ago, WTT has already seen additions and changes from 2018. Most notably, the league added two new expansion teams: the Las Vegas Rollers and the Orlando Storm. Their addition means something even more exciting to WTT as a whole. Now, with eight teams, the top four teams will advance to the semi-finals, creating a postseason. Winners will move on to the finals to try to land the coveted King Trophy, named after WTT’s iconic founder, Billie Jean King. This year, both the semifinal and championship matches will take place in Las Vegas at Orleans Arena, home of the new Las Vegas Rollers.
Speaking of new additions to WTT, these new teams are led by two new General Managers, Sally Dewhurst (Las Vegas) and Jocelyn Davie (Orlando). Along with our own Aviators’ Cari Buck, Michele Cope of the New York Empire, and Philadelphia Freedoms’ Barbara Perry, the majority of WTT teams are helmed by women — underscoring the role that equality plays in this unique league. “The teams are all about men and women playing on the same playing field, and that goes all the way through into management, the coaches, and GMs,” says Silva. “It’s great that we’ve got men and women competing, and we’ve got men and women helping to grow the league side by side.”
Longtime fans will notice a major change in the look of everymatch, no matter which team is on court. The league’s signature purple, red, green, and blue courts will be replaced this year with a slightly less technicolor look, with a deep blue playing surface and gray outer court. “We thought it was important to have a fresh look, but more importantly, to have players playing on a field of play that is closer to the highest levels of what they’re doing at the grand slams,” says Silva. Working in partnership with DecoTurf, it was determined this color combination was best for livestreaming and television.
Stepping Up On Screen
The TV visibility is significant, considering a freshly inked partnership with CBS Sports Network. “We’re going to get as much exposure as you can imagine,” says Silva, which will include snagging a prime weekend sports timeslot. “On July 21, the Vegas Rollers are playing the Philadelphia Freedoms live from Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon from 4-6pm on CBS, so that is as big an audience as you’re going to see, [and] should really give some great exposure for WTT and for all of the fans who get to watch.” Matches will also be livestreamed on WTT.tv.
With so many changes packed into just the first few months of his tenure, what else could be on Silva’s mind? “I think it revolves around technology, how we work with all of our players within our league to help fans understand what great athletes they are,” he says, adding they’re looking at ways to possibly wire courts and players for fans to really see and hear what’s happening on-court. And if adding not one but twoteams this year weren’t enough, Silva says they’re exploring options to further expand both within and beyond the U.S. — to really put the “World” in World TeamTennis.
Don’t miss the excitement when the Aviators return to Omni La Costa Resort & Spa this summer! They’ll take on the Las Vegas Rollers at their home opener on Friday, July 19. Buy your tickets here.
Interested in sponsoring the 2019 Aviators? Join other great companies in our 2019 sponsorship such as Zephyr, UBS, Seltzer-Caplan, Har-Tru and others. Each sponsorship offers unique hospitality in ticketing and VIP options, on-site signage and promotions, social media and newsletter posts, and more! Contact our General Manager, Cari Buck at email@example.com to learn more.