Universal Tennis and World TeamTennis (WTT) today announced a strategic partnership in which WTT will adopt Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) as the League’s official rating system, and WTT match results will now count towards player UTRs.
The partnership kicks off with Tuesday’s WTT Draft in Indian Wells, Calif., at noon ET / 9 AM PT, where WTT owners and coaches will use UTR to evaluate and select players for their teams for the 2018 season. This is the first phase in a partnership between the organizations, which will subsequently incorporate the use of UTR across all WTT properties, including Community tennis programs.
“The partnership with Universal Tennis will deliver key data and analytics for our team owners and coaches to help assess players in the WTT Draft, and also evaluate strategy during the season,” said Ilana Kloss, World TeamTennis CEO/Commissioner. “This information provides another way to enhance the fan experience when following players at WTT matches and throughout the year. The integration of WTT results into a player’s Universal Tennis Ranking is an important step towards increased recognition of professional team tennis competition.”
UTR Powered by Oracle is a proprietary algorithm-based rating system that provides a single unifying language and standard for tennis players across age, geography, gender and economics. Three factors go into the rating: competition (i.e., the strength of opponent), the score (based on percentage of games won during the match) and recent history (last 30 matches played over 12 months). The ratings range from 1.00 for beginners to 16.50 for the pros, with males and females measured on the same scale.
Universal Tennis will work with World TeamTennis to create a “WTT Index,” which will look at player and team UTRs to evaluate matchups and highlight events to watch throughout the season. These will be featured in the organizations’ respective digital and social media properties, across event programming materials, and in select broadcast coverage of the WTT season. WTT results will be included in a player’s Universal Tennis Rating.
“We like the programs that World TeamTennis has developed which showcase engaging, exciting dual gender matches,” said Mark Leschly, Chairman and CEO of Universal Tennis. “WTT embodies our mission at Universal Tennis which is to create the ability for all players to find competitive matches based purely on skill level, regardless of age, gender, geography and economics.”
Since January of this year, Universal Tennis has announced a new leadership team and a new ownership board of experts in the technology, sports and media space, as well as long-term strategic partnerships with Tennis Channel and Oracle. Today, Universal Tennis and UTR Powered by Oracle leverage data from over 6.5 million match results, providing accurate, real-time ratings for 700,000+ players from over 200 countries and is the official rating of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
About World TeamTennis:
World TeamTennis (WTT) showcases the best in professional tennis with the innovative team format co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s. Recognized as the leader in professional team tennis competition, WTT features many of the world’s best players competing annually for the King Trophy, the league’s championship trophy named after King. In July 2015, WTT became the fifth major professional team sports league in the U.S. to reach the 40th season milestone. In 2017, team owners Mark Ein and Fred Luddy acquired majority ownership of the organization. The 43rd season of WTT presented by GEICO begins July 15 and concludes with the WTT Finals on August 5. On the recreational side of the sport, WTT Community Tennis operates team leagues and events, providing grassroots programming throughout the year.
About Universal Tennis:
Universal Tennis is the Company behind UTR Powered by Oracle, a revolutionary system that provides a single, unifying language and standard for tennis players across ages, geographies and gender. The Company’s vision is to unify tennis for everyone by bringing cutting edge analytics and community based technology to players worldwide independent of level. UTR is a unique, algorithm based system for tennis that allows anyone to measure, identify and track their level relative to other players while also providing tools for coaches and organizers to run UTR Powered Events that are level based rather than age or gender driven. Today, the UTR Powered by Oracle system is gathering data from over 6.5 million match results, across 700,000+ players in over 200 countries. The Company has long term strategic partnerships with Tennis Channel and is owned by Iconica Partners and other seasoned investors, advisors and operators in tennis, sports, technology and media.