International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) – A good idea or bad?

IPTL - New Tennis League


If you are a serious tennis fan who follows the Grand Slam tournaments religiously and knows all about Davis cup, ATP tournaments and the grand finale at Barclay’s World Tour Finals, you have something new to get excited about – IPTL!

Mahesh Bhupathi - IPTL Promoter

Late last week the Indian tennis mixed-double’s star, Mahesh Bhupathi, announced his intention to start a new premier league for tennis. The proposed project  that fashions itself after the hugely successful Indian Premier League (IPL) will bring a team aspect to tennis and will initially include six teams based in key Asian cities that are expected to bid for a franchise. Bhupathi’s current backers include Boris Becker and Justin Gimelstob, a member of the ATP board.

The concept is simple – provide entertainment and high quality tennis that draws a large number of spectators and television viewers.  After all, IPL successfully changed the face of one-day cricket by cutting it down to a mere twenty overs per team, played over three hours. Into its fifth year, IPL generates revenues around $3 billion and holds a $72 million, five-year naming rights agreement with Pepsi.

Bhupathi is hoping that the trend will catch on to tennis, currently a rich man’s sport in India. Countries Interested in IPTL FranchiseWith the popularity of other racquet sports like table-tennis and badminton, tennis plays second fiddle within the rest of Asia. However, it is early days for IPTL, and the details are a little sketchy. A quick look at the proposed structure is shown below:

Teams/Franchises – Six (spread over six Asian cities)

Number of players per team – Six to ten

Playing format – Five one-set matches per day/night (Men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, mixed doubles and legends)

Total time: Three hours

Total season: Thirty matches spread over home and away games

If the initial reaction from the top-ranked tennis players is anything to go by, Bhupathi may be onto something big. When Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams express interest in the league, you pay attention!

Overall, I think it is good for tennis and Asian sports! Despite what the purists believe, at the end of the day, tennis is a business that holds enormous entertainment value that drives TV revenues. The challenge is to keep it competitive and not turn it into a celebrity exhibition series like a WWE for tennis.

So, what do you think? Is there room for one more professional sports league to keep you engaged?

Dax Nair

Dax is a senior marketing professional based in Toronto, Canada. He is an avid racquet sports enthusiast, blogger and music lover, Dax can be reached at or on Twitter: @daxnair

8 thoughts on “International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) – A good idea or bad?

  • December 11, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    Really. Top players complain about a heavy schedule yet play in this event & many other exhibitions. It’s all about the money. The matches are a joke & the players aren’t out there trying. Don’t pay millions to these players & see who plays then? They’ll all whinge about too much tennis.
    The players think they work so hard.
    Go & get a real job where you work 8-10 hours a day instead of complaining about playing tennis for an hour or two every day or two & getting huge money.
    Spectators are sick & tired of the top players complaining about there lot in life.
    Must be hard!

  • December 4, 2014 at 4:51 AM

    Having watched a few sessions, I can only say it’s boring.

  • December 1, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    I think it’s a great idea, after all, it’s money talk, if prize is attractive enough, everyone will does it. or Let said, If the team willing to pay players with a salary like NBA or NFL definitely everyone with quit ATP and join IPTL. Guaranteed!! let see if IPTL can attract big sponsors .This can be BIG

    • December 1, 2014 at 8:31 PM


      Thanks for your comment. Only time will tell if this format will be successful…

  • March 3, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    It maybe good good business (and tennis players who want to make more money then they already do) but I fail to see how its good for most tennis players (who struggle just to keep playing). Moreover I have no interest in watching the top players play each other, not to win, and not against other players, but simply to make yet More money. I rate this idea a D.

    • March 3, 2014 at 8:02 PM

      I see your point.

      Though, I would argue that the level of tennis would still be high up there. If there is big money at stake, the players will strive to win. It may end up being part entertainment and part sport…

  • February 27, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    I think it’s good idea

  • June 3, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    This is a great idea but it will require more effort from the organizers part to make IPTL as populr as IPL.


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