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TENNIS

Anschutz Group Teams With USTA

April 29, 2002|LISA DILLMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Another move toward development of a tennis television package and a unified summer series of tournaments leading to the U.S. Open was taken Sunday when it was announced that the U.S. Tennis Assn. and the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) signed an agreement toward that effort.

The new partnership will explore the development of high-profile U.S. summer events--with a preference of combined tournaments.

AEG, according to the announcement, will look into "the development and construction of state-of-the-art tennis facilities."

Said Arlen Kantarian, the USTA's chief executive of professional tennis: "Our partnership with AEG, along with our initiative to secure a summer-wide television package, will hopefully provide new resources to help lift the entire sport."

AEG already has started construction on one major facility, in Carson, which will feature a 13,000-seat tennis stadium. AEG also has been attempting to lure the men's event at UCLA and the women's event at Manhattan Beach to its Carson site.

When asked how the new partnership would impact existing U.S. tournaments, partnership officials characterized the move as "a first step." No specifics were offered.

"There are clearly next steps to bring, whether it's combined events or solo events, to these state-of-the art complexes, starting with Carson," Kantarian said. "It's going to be a new breakthrough for tennis that will be built brick by brick."

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