Bouchard likely to change representation

It appears likely that WTA sensationEugenie Bouchard will switch management agencies by the end of the month.

Bouchard’s current representation, Lagardère Unlimited, had been unwilling as of last week to match an offer from IMG that includes commissions below 10 percent and hiring her mother to work on her team, sources said. Factoring into Lagardère’s decision not to counter bid, the sources said, is that if she were to renew with sponsor Nike — that deal expires at the end of the year — those commissions could flow to Lagardère at the 15 percent to 20 percent rate called for in the agency’s current contract, but only if the company declined to match.

Commissions on renewals typically flow to the company that was involved in the original signing.

Lagardère could make less money if it keeps Bouchard.

In other words, if Lagardère were to match IMG and then renew for Bouchard with Nike, it could end up making less money on the deal (with the lower commission structure) than it could by letting her go (but having the connection to the original Nike contract and the higher commission structure that came with that deal).

There are other factors at work, as well, including the different economic structures of IMG and Lagardère. IMG has a vibrant consulting and events business that can also make money off of Bouchard, so it is able to offer lower commissions. Lagardère’s tennis unit, by contrast, is far more dependent on athlete commissions, which are based on a percentage of endorsements, exhibition fees and, in some cases, prize money. Sources said Lagardère is concerned about what kind of message changing with Bouchard could send to its star clients like Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki, who are paying the higher rate.

Both Lagardère and IMG declined to comment.

If Bouchard does switch to IMG, it is believed that Jill Smoller would represent her. Smoller represents Serena Williams, and the move would mark the first major integration of IMG and William Morris Endeavor on the tennis front since the IMG sale to the Hollywood talent agency closed earlier this year. Smoller was with WME before the acquisition.

Wimbledon would like to host more celebs like the Beckhams.

BRINGING A-LIST TO ALL ENGLAND: Speaking of WME-IMG, the firm may be bringing some of its A-list talent to Wimbledon. Co-CEO Ari Emanuel met with executives from the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in New York last week, and one agenda item was more glitz.Mick Desmond, the club’s commercial director, who also was at the meeting, said the tournament could benefit from more celebrity sightings in the stands.

The U.S. Open has a staff that seeks out celebrities, but Wimbledon has not done the same. IMG has been the longtime marketing and licensing agent for the All England Club, and the biggest days in social media for the tournament this year were when David Beckham and later former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar attended the tournament.

Bouchard wouldn’t be IMG’s only new player-rep deal should it happen. Sources said the agency has signed to jointly represent Australian player Nick Kyrgios, who upset Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon this summer. Kyrgios is represented by Global Tennis Connections, a firm run by John Morris, a tennis coach who also has gotten into the agent business. Morris has no other client the stature of Kyrgios, whom he has under contract for another two years.

Morris declined to comment, as did IMG.

Peng Shuai made her first Grand Slam semi after 36 tries.

GOOD TIME FOR A DEAL: Peng Shuaichose a fine time to make her first Grand Slam semifinal after 36 previous tries. The Chinese player, who was into the final four of the women’s draw at press time, has her apparel deal with Li Ning expire at the end of the year. That deal was negotiated by Zou Marketing, the Chinese sports marketing firm run by former Nike executive Terry Rhoads.

Peng also uses her coach, Alan Ma, to handle deals, so it’s unclear who would represent Peng in any coming talks. But Rhoads, via email, said, “We’ll talk to Peng when she [returns] to China. Everything is in play with her.”


Citizen extends US Open partnership




Watch maker Citizen Watch Company of America has extended a long-standing partnership with the US Open tennis grand slam.

The deal – agreed with the US Tennis Association (USTA), which operates the event – will begin in 2015 and run for at least four years, until the 2018 edition of the tournament.

Under the new agreement, Citizen will benefit from expanded brand visibility throughout the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center grounds and an enhanced presence on US Open digital platforms, while continuing to serve as the tournament’s exclusive timekeeper.

Citizen will also become the official timekeeper of the Emirates Airline US Open Series and will have a presence at all of the series’ tournaments in the US.

“Citizen has been a valued partner of the US Open since 1993 and we are delighted that they will be on board through this next transformation of the National Tennis Center,” USTA chief revenue officer Lew Sherr said. “We are also excited to expand Citizen’s integration with other USTA platforms and initiatives such as the Emirates Airline US Open Series and the new Home of American Tennis in Orlando.”

James Murphy Turns U.S. Open Matches Into Music




August 29, 2014 11:48 amAugust 29, 2014 2:37 pm 1 Comment


Nicole Gibbs at the U.S. Open on Thursday. James Murphy’s project created a soundtrack based on her second-round match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. (Ms. Gibbs won the match in three sets.)Credit Timothy A. Clary/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

James Murphy has kept fairly busy since he disbanded LCD Soundsystem in 2011, with projects that have included writing film music, producing an album for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and working with Arcade Fire. Over the next few weeks, he plans to add 400 hours of new music to his catalog.

Mr. Murphy is collaborating with Patrick Gunderson, a developer at IBM, on “U.S. Open Sessions,” a project that will transform each game of the tennis tournament into a live-streamed electronic score, which Mr. Murphy will then edit, possibly for an album.


James MurphyCredit Chad Batka for The New York Times

The tournament began on Aug. 25 and runs through Sept. 8, and the pieces Mr. Murphy has completed so far are posted on a web page for the sessions. Mr. Murphy is making the music with a program that Mr. Gunderson developed that turns the game’s action, along with weather data and crowd responses, into algorithms. Mr. Murphy will turn the algorithms into music using a synthesizer-like interface that Mr. Gunderson created for him, which allows him to assign musical values – timbres, rhythms, durations, musical figures and hooks – to each one.

The rest of the process is automated; the moves the tennis players make lead to the sounds Mr. Murphy has programmed.

“We’re going to generate almost 400 hours’ worth of music,” Mr. Murphy said in one of several video clips that IBM has posted to YouTube to explain the project. “I mean, I’m not going to sit there and play 400 hours of music. We’re setting up a machine to do that.”

The music, so far, is spacey and Minimalist, in the sense that figures and rhythms are, at least in some cases, repeated until something in the game creates a change. But the live pieces may only be a part of Mr. Murphy’s process. He told Self-Titled magazine that he will create 14 remixes using the material and will make them available free on iTunes, Soundcloud and Spotify.