About this speaker
Worked with Donald Dell and John Harris to promote their “Washington Star International” tennis tournament. At the time, it was the second professional tournament in the U.S. The other was the U.S. Open. In 1979, Guillermo Vilas was the winner. We became friends and he gave me two of his racquets from the finals, which I played with for the next 8 years.
As a result of working with Dell, Harris and the tournament officials, I met many of the people running the men’s and women’s pro tours. My firm then landed several contracts to promote those tours. At the time, the men’s tour was an uneasy alliance of the WTC and the Grand Prix. When I started promoting the combined tour, it was the “Colgate-Palmolive Tour”. The next year it was the “Volvo Tour”. My last year I was promoting the “Nabisco Tour”.
Good success led to an invitation to promote the women’s tour. This was Billie Jean King’s baby, and it was all about making the prize money equal.
Of all things, it was called the “Virginia Slims Tour.”
Another result our tennis work in Washington was a client in New York who wanted to promote a luxury community he was building in the Hamptons. I had the idea to promote his community tennis club with a tournament featuring tennis stars. That became the Hamlet Challenge Cup, and the first few years we had players like Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase, and my old friend Vilas.
Over a 30-year career marketing luxury golf and resort communities, I always pushed tennis to prominence as part of the lifestyle (because it worked), and because it is the easiest sport to tie in to charities and celebrities. Many of those communities are in the South ( ie.. Sea Pines Plantation, Amelia island, Landfall, Fisher Island).
Apart from tennis, other major marketing includes major league baseball, steeplechase and polo. Advertising clients ranged from American Airlines to Maserati, from Ralph Lauren to Donald Trump.