Multi-national computer technology company Oracle is looking to further aid the development of rising tennis stars in the United States by creating and funding a circuit of lower-tier tournaments in the US.
The Oracle Pro Series will begin in full next year and comprise approximately 25 women’s tournaments and 25 men’s tournaments.
As reported by the New York Times, prize money is expected to range from $25,000 to $108,000 per tournament, with all events providing ranking points on the ATP and WTA tours.
Sports event production company InsideOut Sports & Entertainment, which organizes the Invesco Series QQQ for former tennis pros across the the US, will manage the series for Oracle. InsideOut is run by American former world No 1 player Jim Courier, who said the Invesco and Oracle series could be combined to help the events grow.
“This is intended above all to help the pathway for players in the United States,” Courier told the New York Times. “In Europe, they have tournaments every week all over the continent at various levels for men and women. There are pockets in the American schedule where that is not the case. This is intended to fill those in.”
Most Oracle Pro Series tournaments will be staged as combined men’s and women’s events, many in college campuses, including Baylor in Waco, Texas, where Oracle chief executive Mark Hurd played tennis on a scholarship in the 1970s.
Seven events will be held this year in California, Texas and Florida before the series expands in 2020. The goal is to ultimately grow to approximately 160 events.
Oracle has deep ties to tennis already. Larry Ellison, the company’s billionaire founder, owns the prestigious BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden facility in Indian Wells, California.
It also title-sponsors the Oracle Challenger Series, which features on the WTA 125 and ATP Challenger tours and offers the top two American men and women finishers wild cards into the BNP Paribas Open main draws.
Ellison is also hoping the Indian Wells Tennis Garden facility will become a host venue for the revamped Davis Cup. Ellison is an investor in Davis Cup organizers Kosmos Tennis.