WTA Ventures, the new commercial arm of the Women’s Tennis Association, is pleased to announce a raft of appointments to its leadership team, reporting to CEO Marina Storti.
The expanded team will work to deliver WTA Ventures’ ambition to further elevate the profile of women’s tennis and accelerate commercial growth for the benefit of fans, players, tournaments and all stakeholders. WTA Ventures was created earlier this year as part of the WTA’s strategic collaboration with CVC Capital Partners.
With more than 20 years’ experience in brand management, consumer and media marketing, Sarah Swanson joins WTA Ventures as Chief Brand Officer on December 1 with responsibility for building the WTA brand and growing interest in the Hologic WTA Tour. WTA Ventures’ brand marketing, communications, and social functions will report to Sarah, who joins from the World Surf League (WSL) where she has been Chief Marketing Officer since 2020, having previously served as SVP, Strategic Insights and Consumer Growth.
In her role at the WSL, Sarah led global growth strategies and integrated fan-facing campaigns to drive revenue growth for the League, in addition to overseeing a transformational brand strategy and redesign based on key consumer insights. Prior to joining WSL, Sarah was Head of Marketing for the NFL in the UK, where she oversaw all marketing and fan growth activity, achieving double-digit fan growth over three years. She has also held marketing roles at NFL Network and Civic Entertainment Group.
Marijn De Wit will assume the role of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of WTA Ventures in January 2024, where he will lead the finance and HR functions. Marijn is an experienced finance leader who has held senior roles over more than 20 years in sectors including live entertainment, e-commerce and retail.
From 2016 to 2022, Marijn served as CFO of the leading live entertainment company Stage Entertainment, where he helped to lead the restructuring and transformation of the business, delivering a step change in performance while maintaining the creative focus of the company. Prior to joining Stage Entertainment, Marijn was for seven years CFO of online retailer bol.com and previously held finance leadership roles at Netherlands-based retailer Maxeda. He began his career at McKinsey and Company.
Also joining WTA Ventures in January 2024 is Aditya Shenoywho will assume the role of Head of Strategy Development with responsibility for developing and implementing strategic projects across all aspects of the business. Aditya brings significant experience in commercial and media rights strategy from his current role at beIN Media Group as well as previous positions at DAZN, Nielsen Sports and Monitor Deloitte.
The new additions to the WTA Ventures leadership team will join Russell Cleevewho recently joined as Chief Consumer and Digital Officer from Condé Nast. Russell is responsible for developing the WTA’s digital capabilities and crafting a robust commercial strategy to broaden the WTA audience, enhance fan engagement and drive revenue growth.
Commenting on the new appointments, Marina Storti, CEO of WTA Ventures, said: “I am delighted to welcome Sarah, Marijn and Aditya to the WTA Ventures team to help us drive forward our growth ambitions for women’s tennis. Following on from Russell’s recent appointment, they bring the experience, capability and energy to take advantage of the exciting opportunity ahead for women’s tennis.
“With the support of the WTA and CVC, we have a mandate to grow the sport to achieve its full commercial potential. Our intention is to deliver a step-change in fan engagement, drive innovation and build our brand, so that we accelerate commercial revenue, drive reinvestment in the sport and help the WTA to achieve the goal of equal prize money for women at all top events.”
The appointments follow WTA Ventures’ recent announcement of new media rights agreements with Canal+ for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and with Sky Sports for the UK and Ireland, Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The deals form part of WTA Ventures’ continuing drive to grow the profile and value of women’s tennis.