Serena Williams’ former coach Rennae Stubbs questions WTA’s media strategy after NWSL’s historic broadcasting deal

Serena Williams’ former coach Rennae Stubbs questions WTA’s media strategy after NWSL’s historic broadcasting deal

Former Serena Williams’ coach slams WTA after NWSL lands landmark media deal

Former Serena Williams’ coach slams WTA after NWSL lands landmark media deal

Serena Williams’s ex-coach Rennae Stubbs recently took a swipe at the WTA’s failure to capitalize on the popularity of the women’s tennis players after the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced a groundbreaking media rights deal worth $240 million over four years.

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The NWSL announced a set of domestic media rights deals with ESPN, CBS, Amazon, and Script Sports for a total of $60 million per year over the four years beginning with the next season. That’s a 40x increase over the previous deals, which brought in $1.5 million per season.

The new contracts will give the NWSL unprecedented exposure, as well as boost the players’ salaries, the league’s competitiveness, and the teams’ value. The deal will feature around 120 live matches per season across various platforms, including over-the-air, cable, streaming, and digital.

Serena Williams’ former coach Rennae Stubbs questions WTA’s media strategy after NWSL’s historic broadcasting deal

The WTA, on the other hand, had signed a 10-year media rights deal with PERFORM in 2014, which was worth more than $525 million over the duration of the contract. The deal, which runs from 2017 to 2026, was hailed as a “game-changer” by the WTA’s former CEO Stacey Allaster at the time, as it promised to showcase all 2,000 or so singles matches on the women’s tennis tour each year.

However, the deal also faced some criticism for its lack of transparency, as the WTA did not disclose how the revenues would be distributed among the players, tournaments, and the tour itself.

Stubbs, who has been a vocal advocate for gender equality and women’s empowerment in sports, implied that the WTA should take note of the NWSL’s success and strive for a similar level of recognition and reward for women’s tennis.

“@wta I’m looking at u,” Stubbs wrote in her Instagram story.

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Rennae Stubbs on Instagram
Rennae Stubbs on Instagram
Rennae Stubbs blasts WTA for year-end Finals disaster and lack of support for players
Rennae Stubbs at the 2022 US Open
Rennae Stubbs at the 2022 US Open

The 2023 WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico, was a disaster, according to Serena Williams’ former coach Rennae Stubbs. The tournament, which featured the top 8 women’s tennis players, was plagued by bad weather, low-quality courts, scheduling problems, and injuries.

Stubbs, who hosts ‘The Rennae Stubbs Tennis Podcast’, called the event a “slow-motion train wreck” and expressed her dissatisfaction at how it was managed.

“It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to say that we had highlighted a number of the issues, particularly on the tour. The truth is this was a slow-motion train wreck,” Stubbs said.

The 52-year-old blamed the organization for not giving the players enough facilities and time to prepare, noting that the top 8 did not get to practice on the main court until the day of the first match.

“When you have a certain amount of matches and a lot of them back-to-back-to-back to back every day, you better make sure that you get those matches done that day. The fact that they built that court, and the literal players of the Finals didn’t get to hit on the main court at all until the day of the first match is absolutely f**king ridiculous,” Stubbs added.

Iga Swiatek won the year-end Finals in Cancun by beating Jessica Pegula in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0. The Polish player reclaimed the World No. 1 spot from Aryna Sabalenka, whom she defeated in the semifinals, 6-3, 6-2.

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