For Steve Bellamy, the chance to own a tennis tournament was too good to pass. Bellamy, president and founder of The Tennis Channel, has reached an agreement to purchase the Arizona Men’s Tennis Classic from sports marketing agency IMG.
The $400,000 tournament at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess begins Monday and runs through Feb. 27. It will be operated by IMG this year.
The Tennis Channel, a cable television network, will manage the event beginning in 2006. Terms of the deal were not released.
"There is a myriad of reasons why we wanted to own a tournament," Bellamy said. "For marketing and programing, owning a tournament is great. We own the content. Owning it in S cottsdale is even better."
In the past, the Scottsdale tournament has had trouble securing big-name players who wanted to rest up before the popular Pacific Life Open the following week in Indian Wells, Calif.
Bellamy thinks he can address that problem.
"One thing about our business, I’m on the phone with a major player almost every single day," Bellamy said. "A typical tournament director may talk to a player once a year."
Bellamy also said he hopes to bring back a women’s tournament to Scottsdale, one to run jointly with the men’s tourney.
"It is a huge priority for us to try and have a major men’s and women’s event," he said. "That is our goal."
MATCH POINT: Brendan Evans, the top-ranked junior in the world and the Australian Open juniors champion, and fellow Americans Alex Kuznetsov and Donald Young have been given wild cards into the tournament.