Charleston’s Ben Navarro buys Cincinnati pro tennis tournament | Sports



Charleston businessman and philanthropist Ben Navarro has added another professional tennis tournament to a portfolio that already includes the Credit One Charleston Open.

Navarro announced Friday that his group Beemok Capital has purchased the Western and Southern Open, a joint men’s and women’s event on the ATP and WTA Tours held in Cincinnati.

Beemok Capital purchased the event, which begins its 2022 run this weekend, from the US Tennis Association. Terms were not disclosed.

“It is an honor to partner with the USTA, ATP and WTA to help write the next chapter of the Western & Southern Open, one of the biggest events in tennis in the world,” Navarro said. “We welcome the opportunity to become a steward of this important tournament, as well as an ambassador of the USTA’s mission to promote the development and growth of tennis.

“We are committed to providing the best resources to the best players in the world and look forward to improving the Western & Southern Open experience for players and fans alike.”

In addition to other business interests, Navarro’s Beemok Capital purchased the Charleston Open in 2018 and owns the LTP tennis resorts in Mount Pleasant and Daniel Island.

USTA general manager Lew Sherr said Navarro was the “ideal new owner” for the Cincinnati tournament.

“In entering this sales process, the USTA had clear objectives. We wanted to find a potential steward who would invest in the event and in our sport to ensure that more children and more communities have access to our sport. We wanted to create a structure that suited American tennis, and finally, we wanted to elevate one of the premier events on the tennis calendar to even greater heights,” Sherr said.

“With this sale to Ben Navarro and Beemok Capital, we exceeded these objectives. Ben’s proven track record in Charleston, his commitment to tennis and, more importantly, to communities, make him the ideal new owner in Cincinnati.

The Western and Southern Open, also known as the Cincinnati Masters, began in 1899 and is the oldest tournament in the United States still played in its hometown. It is played in Mason, Ohio, near Cincinnati.

The men’s event has a total prize pool of around $6.2 million, while the women’s event offers a total purse of $2.5 million. It is a higher level tournament on the ATP side than on the WTA side.

Former men’s champions include Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Past female winners include Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Madison Keys and Ash Barty.

According to reports, the tournament set an attendance record in 2019, selling out 15 out of 16 sessions. In 2020, the tournament was moved to New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic and suffered a reported loss of $18.8 million. In 2021, the tournament returned to Cincinnati and recorded a reported profit of $7.1 million.

The Credit One Charleston Open, formerly known as the Family Circle Cup and Volvo Car Open, is the largest women’s professional tournament in North America.

This tournament started in Hilton Head in 1973 and moved to Daniel Island in 2001.

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