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The Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) is an international tennis showdown series organizing real competitive matches between some of the best professional players, streamed live into the homes of millions of fans from around the world.
The idea behind the highly entertaining tennis platform came about when renowned coach Patrick Mouratoglou and tech entrepreneur Alex Popyrin were brainstorming new ways of revolutionizing the way tennis is played, watched and appreciated. UTS organizers are viewing this challenge as a window of opportunity. Aligned with local social distancing requirements, the Mouratoglou Academy will host an invitation-only showdown series for five consecutive weekends starting on May 16 featuring real tennis matches between many household names in tennis, such as David Goffin, Fabio Fognini, Alexei Popyrin, Benoit Paire or Felix Auger-Aliassime (final lineup to be announced soon).
The one-of-a-kind tennis league gives tennis a new platform that has never existed before. This particular group of athletes will interact in real time with their fans, share conversations between themselves and coaches (on-court and video coaching will be permitted) and carry themselves more freely on-court. While UTS’ overall concept creates a lighter, more youthful and playful environment for coaches, players and fans to thrive in, this is strictly competitive tennis and not an exhibition. At the same time, everyone plays a part in the captivating show.
Through this engaging and interactive format, fans will inevitably feel closer and better connected to the stars of tennis. The UTS defines itself as a player-centric league, therefore distributing a sizeable income among the players participating. With a significant purse on the line for players competing in matches and its state-of-the-art playing environment, the UTS league has the potential of becoming the world’s most exciting tennis competition.
With a focus on fan involvement, the live distribution of UTS’ competitive matches (TV & linear) will be worldwide.
For the very first time, millions of tennis fans are not only watching a grippingly entertaining match between two of the world’s best tennis players live, but spectators play a role in what unfolds; they interact with the players and can ask questions on changeovers, see what’s happening behind the scenes in the lives of players, and hear every word exchanged between coaches and players.
At the beginning of each UTS match, fans aren’t physically in the stadium sitting quietly during points or passively watching a network airing (or worse yet, re-airing) of a match. In this new setting, millions of UTS fans are instead glued to their devices, watching and commenting on every serve, stroke, volley and call – all on their own terms. The typical crowd-filled stadium seen at Grand Slams and Masters 1000 events has been replaced by a UTS-sanctioned court equipped with digital screens, HD cameras and speakers that maximize the live-streaming experience to its infinite sea of followers. It is as though the whole world is captured in the all-encompassing UTS stadium.
In short, no.
The UTS league does not serve as a replacement for neither the ATP nor ITF tours, or any pre-existing professional tennis tournaments and circuits. Instead, it provides alternative opportunities for touring professionals and their fans to enjoy competitive tennis given the challenging realities of the ongoing global environment from COVID-19. All things considered, UTS league play will have a greater amount of entertainment value.
At the moment, there is room for a total of ten players (two ranked in the top 10, four ranked in the top 30, two “Next Generation” players and two ranked inside of the world’s top 150). The initial UTS standings will be based on current ATP rankings.
For future showdowns, UTS officials select players from a pool of those already registered and who have up-to-date eligibility. Throughout the selection process, the UTS considers standing, location, travel restrictions and other factors before making any final selections.
With millions of dollars in prize money up for grabs, these thrilling one-on-one battles live-streaming around the world deliver a completely novel interactive fan experience. Powered by cutting-edge technology and production value, the Ultimate Tennis Showdown is the world’s most exciting tennis competition platform available.
Throughout a five-week period starting on May 16, the Mouratoglou Academy-hosted series will feature ten UTS events per weekend that will broadcast into the homes of captivated fans around the world. A grand total of 50 matches will be played in a round-robin format among the ten competitors. This is just the spring season’s calendar lasting through June 14, with additional series of events on the horizon.
The official “Showdown” match format is still pending. Once finalized, UTS officials will announce the inclusion of innovative rules. The playing format will more than likely consist of shortened games, but that will be officially announced in the near future.
However, the UTS May series calendar has been released: Two rounds will take place each weekend starting May 16, and end with a thrilling final scheduled for June 14. All of these matches will be played at the Mouratoglou Academy on the French Riviera.
The first five weekends of competitions are taking place on-site at the Mouratoglou Academy in the South of France, with additional competition sites in other parts of the world to be announced soon. It is an invitation-based only tennis league, as UTS officials have so far welcomed David Goffin, Benoit Paire, Fabio Fognini, Alexei Popyrin and Felix Auger-Aliassime to its already star-studded roster of players.
Soon, UTS-sanctioned competitions will feature matches between top pro tennis players based in Europe, North America/Canada and Australia. Players living and training in other parts of the world will be eligible for competition at a future date.
Prize money distribution depends on a player’s UTS standing combined with how they do in their match (preliminary UTS standings directly correlate to current ATP rankings). UTS match winners receive 70 percent of the showdown prize pool, while losers still receive 30 percent of that pool. While it’s a win-win for both players in this sense, there’s still a lot of money and pride at stake.
Using a player-centric competition format, UTS is committed to financially distributing a major part of its advertising and broadcasting revenue directly to players. Through the UTS platform, active players of all levels should feasibly generate a comparable or better income compared to other known tennis circuits.
Upon request, UTS players may request more information on the formula behind the UTS prize money distribution.
Patrick Mouratoglou has announced that the first UTS match will happen on May 16 between top Belgian player David Goffin and up-and-coming Australian Alexei Popyrin. By mid-May, France is expected to ease its social distancing policies and allow for UTS to commence with local pro players only. Regarding a calendar of events, the UTS league will last for a five-week period through June 2020 at the Mouratoglou Academy, with five matches happening per day which accounts for ten matches each weekend over the course of the five straight weekends.
Safety, as always, come first and is the top priority of everyone involved with this league. UTS will comply with locally enforced social distancing requirements, including the possibility of precautionary testing, to ensure the safety of players, coaches and a limited number of UTS staff on site.
Players interested in exploring the possibility of joining the UTS league can register through this link: https://utslive.tv/playerregistration
Broadcasting and streaming partners will be announced shortly before any Showdown event. Keep an eye on www.utslive.tv for all announcements.