Written by Phil Cerroni
By Jess Paniszczyn
In a press conference held at the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, officials announced, Mylan World TeamTennis is coming to Texas in the 2013 season. The team, which played for the past 20 seasons in Kansas City as the Kansas City Explorers, will relocate to their new home court in Irving and be renamed in a fan voting contest.
“The City of Irving has committed nearly $400,000 to this venture: $150,000 was for the venue, $250,000 was for the relocation of the team,” Mayor Beth Van Duyne said. “Our benefit on that will be $4 million in the first year. This deal is a win-win for both the residents of Irving and for our hotels that will pay more than $20 million annually in property taxes. Thanks to these dollars along with our hotel tax collections and visitor spending the average Irving household will save $461 in taxes.
“As the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, the site of the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson and now the home of this World TeamTennis franchise, Irving’s prime location provides easy access to all the major sports venues in this area.”
The team will compete in Mylan World TeamTennis, which showcases the best in professional team tennis competition, playing an innovative coed team format over a three-week season in July.
“World TeamTennis has the potential to draw visitors to Irving from around the Metroplex, across Texas, from surrounding states and beyond who will not only enjoy the world class tennis, but who will also spend money in Irving restaurants, stores and stay in Irving hotels generating revenue for Irving residents,” said Brad Smyth, tourism director for the Texas Office of the Governor's Economic Development & Tourism Division.
“World TeamTennis’ fun and exciting format will give Irving and Texas exposure to millions of viewers who watch World TeamTennis on TV around the U.S. and around the world. It is a great opportunity for both Irving and Texas to get exposure in a prime market.
“World TeamTennis has a long and illustrious history in the world of tennis. Almost all the great champions over the past 30 plus years have played for World TeamTennis. It is just so exciting that the great tennis players of today will be playing here in Irving.”
Co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s and based on a concept of gender equity, Mylan WTT offers unique access to the sport and some of its greatest champions who have played over the past 38 seasons.
"We are excited to bring Mylan World TeamTennis to Irving and become part of the great sports community in North Texas," said Mylan WTT CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss. "Fans can look forward to some of the best players in the world coming to Irving each summer. The team competition will be intense.
“This market has been one of our target markets for many years, so we couldn’t be more thrilled to be back here. World TeamTennis really is the only coed professional tennis league in the world. What we love and are most proud of is that there are men and women on the team together. What a great message to send all of our kids. So when you come to World TeamTennis whether you are a little boy or little girl, you can see yourself represented and you are also pulling for your team and your city.”
Team co-owner and general manager Jeff Launius will retain the rights to his 2012 team lineup which includes the world's top doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan, and Aisam Qureshi, No. 14 in the ATP doubles rankings. The team roster will be finalized at the Mylan WTT Roster Player Draft on March 12.
“Irving has a great vibrant corporate community, and that was especially exciting to me,” Launius said. “Franchises are only as good as their corporate sponsors. It does take money to make these things happen and to bring this caliber of players in. Now the real work begins.
“I want to make this franchise a franchise everyone can be proud of. I’m involved from a to z. I may be a bit of a control freak, but it is not only my image, it is the city’s image and the league’s image.”
The name of the new team will be determined through fan voting at WTT.com/Texas. Fans can vote immediately on several choices or add their own write-in candidates until Jan. 31.
The 2013 season of Mylan World TeamTennis runs during July in eight U.S. markets. The Texas team will play in the Western Conference along with the Orange County Breakers (Irvine, CA); Sacramento Capitals (Sacramento, CA) and the Springfield Lasers (Springfield, MO). The Eastern Conference includes the 2012 Champion Washington Kastles (Washington, DC), Boston Lobsters (Boston, MA), New York Sportimes (New York, NY) and the Philadelphia Freedoms (Villanova, PA).
For more information on Mylan WTT, visit WTT.com.
Some information provided by World TeamTennis.