IMG, an Endeavor company and global leader in sports, events, media, and fashion, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with Super Slam Ltd and its affiliates to acquire the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament and the Acciona Open de España golf tournament. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, subject to ATP / WTA and regulatory approvals, as announced by IMG.
Mutua Madrid Open is just one of the Romanian former tennis player Ion Tiriac’s investments in sports. And, as it sometimes happens, the ATP tournament was riddled with controversy, partly because of the Romanian billionaire.
The Blue Clay controversy
Mutua Madrid Open is the very tournament to spark the blue clay controversy. In 2012, following Ion Tiriac, the organizers used the (in)famous blue clay for that particular tournament. The billionaire argued this color helps the viewers compared to the regular clay.
Both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic lost on the new surface, claiming the blue clay doesn’t have the same properties as the regular one. This was the end of the blue clay adventure in one of the ATP tournaments.
The controversy didn’t end up here, as journalists said that the actual reason behind that color was the resemblance with the colors of the Spanish insurance giant Mutua Madrileña, the sponsor of that tournament.
The new owner is another giant, IMG. Any of the parts didn’t disclose the sum of the contract. One thing is sure, though: Ion Tiriac will increase his cash deposit, not that would have ever been a problem.