Dubai: Chris Kermode, former tournament director, the executive chairman and president of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), has been appointed as vice-chairman and a member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO).
A tennis professional between 1985 and 1988, Kermode’s last responsibility was with the ATP where he served as the executive chairman and president from 2014 to 2019 when he was shown the door by a “palace coup” engineered reportedly in part by world number one Novak Djokovic.
During his six years with the ATP, Kermode helped transform the season-ending World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London into the largest and arguably most successful indoor tennis event in the world. Kermode also launched the Next Gen Finals, featuring the best men’s players under the age of 21, while the amount of prize money in men’s professional tennis increased more than 70 per cent during this period.
Earlier this year, Charles Adamo, the executive chairman of the PTO had signed a long-term investment deal from Welsh billionaire Michael Moritz and his Crankstart Investments with the hope of pushing the sport of triathlon into the mainstream.
Given the decline in participation in sports like tennis and golf and the growth in triathlon, cycling and other endurance sports, professional triathlon has enormous potential to develop into a mainstream sport. This will require a unified front from the professionals and aligned interests with the commercial partners
Moritz had already announced a $2 million (Dhs 7.6 million) prize fund for the Collins Cup, an annual competition between Europe and America that was scheduled to be held on May 29-30 in Slovakia.
Adamo is confident that the partnership with Moritz will offer triathlon the opportunity to develop into a global sport with a much larger fan base in the future.
“We are very fortunate to have Chris come on board as vice-chairman of the PTO. From his start as a professional player, Chris has experienced the formation of the ATP Tour in 1988, when tennis professionals sought to have a greater say in the growth and direction of their sport - the position professional triathlon finds itself in today,” Adamo said in his welcome note to Kermode.
“We are privileged he has agreed to devote his talents and experience to triathlon and the PTO,” he added.
The PTO is a non-profit organisation representing professional triathletes while aiming to push and grow the sport further.
Speaking on his new role, Kermode observed he could see comparisons between triathlon and where professional tennis once was. “The PTO business model and the triathlon market is compelling, and I am excited about helping the PTO achieve its goals,” Kermode said.
“The PTO has many similarities to professional tennis which began to boom once the professionals started to act together to promote the sport and engage and expand their fan base. Given the decline in participation in sports like tennis and golf and the growth in triathlon, cycling and other endurance sports, professional triathlon has enormous potential to develop into a mainstream sport. This will require a unified front from the professionals and aligned interests with the commercial partners,” he added.
“That is why the unique ownership structure of the PTO, where the professionals and Crankstart Investments have equal interests in the success of the venture, is so valuable and why I am confident that the PTO can be the catalyst that turns triathlon into more of a mainstream sport,” Kermode insisted.