The Tennis Space: People of Influence:
Number 13: Stacey Allaster
Sphere of influence: Women’s tennis
What she has done:
As chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, Allaster is in a position of power, as a matter of fact. But what she has done in her two and a half years in charge has made her a leading figure in the sporting world. Taking over from the much-respected Larry Scott was never going to be easy but if anything she has been even more successful. On the court, the Canadian helped reduce the crowded playing schedule through the WTA Roadmap, introduced on-court coaching, electronic line-calling and was fully behind the changes to the points-scoring in doubles, much to the delight of television, who can now plan their programming in even more detail.
But it is off the court where Allaster has really made her mark. Including an extension of the record-breaking $88 million deal struck in 2005 with Sony Ericsson, she bucked the financial crisis by helping to close more than $75 million in new sponsorship deals, according to Bloomberg. She increased the tour’s presence on Facebook and Twitter, has been instrumental in expanding the tour in China and convinced the men’s tour to stage more joint events. And the coup de grace – as president of the WTA before she stepped up in 2009 – she led the push for equal prize-money and got it done.
What she wants to do next:
With her focus on making women’s tennis as fan-friendly as possible, she has promised to try to make grunting a thing of the past. And if she has her way, we could see a combined men and women’s season-ending Tour finals.
Did you know?
Allaster was a top junior and college player and has a degree in Economics and Physical Education, not to mention an MBA from the Ivey School of Business. And she balances it all with being a wife and mother of two children.