Author: Kayla Wilkinson

Fungiball Secures Rights from PTPA and Winners Alliance to Feature 250+ Tennis Stars in Groundbreaking Fantasy Tennis Game

First Large-Scale, Officially Licensed Fantasy Tennis Game to Feature Tommy Paul, Jessica Pegula, and Many More Professional Tennis Stars

Washington D.C., March 20, 2024 – The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) and its commercial affiliate, Winners Alliance, have formed a groundbreaking collaboration with Fungiball, a leading developer in the next-generation fantasy tennis gaming sphere. This innovative partnership will bring forth the first large-scale game of its kind, featuring over 250 professional men’s and women’s tennis players. Fungiball has secured rights to showcase the names, images, and likenesses of these players in their upcoming officially licensed tennis game.

Scheduled for launch in late March 2024, Fungiball’s web3 fantasy tennis game promises an unparalleled gaming experience. The license gives Fungiball immediate access to hundreds of top ATP and WTA tennis players, allowing fans the opportunity to play with their favorite stars such as Felix Auger-Aliassime, Alexander Bublik, Tommy Paul, Jessica Pegula, Caroline Garcia and many others. The game not only financially supports featured players, but also fosters novel engagement opportunities with fans, contributing to the overall growth and visibility of the sport.

“With over 250 professional tennis players, Fungiball offers unparalleled authenticity in the Fantasy Tennis universe,” stated Ahmad Nassar, PTPA Executive Director. “Our collaboration with Fungiball reinforces the PTPA’s and Winners Alliance’s commitment to supporting players with new, incremental revenue-generating opportunities and empowering them to maximize their off-the-court value.” 

“We are committed to providing a high-quality gaming experience for tennis fans worldwide,” expressed Jean Matias, CEO of Fungiball. “Fungiball merges the excitement of professional tennis with blockchain technology. We’re thrilled to provide gamers and tennis fans a more immersive and interactive experience by featuring a robust lineup of the sport’s biggest stars and next-generation talents.”

Fungiball is a play-to-earn game that seamlessly combines the thrill of professional tennis with the transformative power of blockchain technology. Users have the opportunity to craft unique game avatars, each endowed with four core skill sets: Serve, Return, Mental, and Power. To enhance their avatar’s proficiency, users can engage in weekly online tournaments—mirroring the professional tennis schedule—or utilize the Fungiball marketplace to collect and trade digital cards (NFTs) featuring their preferred men’s and women’s players.

Each player’s digital card encapsulates essential attributes, including Serve, Return, Mental, and Power ratings, along with distinctive factors such as favorite court type. As the on-court performances and results of real-life players fluctuate throughout the tour season, the skills ratings, value, and rarity of their corresponding Fungiball NFTs also evolve.

Since its establishment in 2022, Winners Alliance has consistently secured novel, player-centric commercial opportunities with premier brands such as Hilton, Topps, TUMI, and Priority Pass. Eric Winston, President of Winners Alliance, added, “Fungiball is an exciting addition to our growing portfolio of partners. Fungiball’s commitment to providing fair market value and increased visibility to players aligns with Winners Alliance’s athlete-centric model. We look forward to continuing to provide players and their teams with dynamic and impactful opportunities.”

The marketplace is now live here and features dozens of players, with additional players added throughout 2024. Gameplay will be available to users beginning late March 2024.

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About the Professional Tennis Players Association

The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) is a global organization that unites and mobilizes tennis players to foster transparency and fairness in professional tennis. As an independent entity, the PTPA is dedicated to advancing and safeguarding the rights of professional men’s and women’s tennis players throughout their careers. By prioritizing crucial aspects such as health and safety, schedules, rules, purses, benefits, and education, the PTPA endeavors to build an equitable and sustainable competitive environment for present and future generations of players. Headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area, the PTPA operates on a global scale. For more information, visit www.ptpaplayers.com and connect with @ptpaplayers on social media.

About Winners Alliance

Winners Alliance is a global, athlete-centric commercial solution dedicated to creating novel group licensing, sponsorship, partnership, content, investment and event opportunities for world-class athletes collectively. Launched in August 2022, Winners Alliance serves as the for-profit affiliate of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) and Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA), representing the group commercial rights of hundreds of athletes worldwide. Among its pioneering initiatives, Winners Alliance aims to establish a sustainable group licensing program encompassing video games, trading cards, collectibles, and related opportunities. To learn more, visit www.winnersalliance.com and follow @WinnersAlliance on LinkedIn, Instagram and X.

About Fungiball

Fungiball is a next-generation, play-to-earn fantasy tennis game built on blockchain technology. Users create their own virtual tennis player avatars by collecting digital cards representing the real-life skills of over 250 men’s and women’s professional tennis players. By collecting players’ cards, which are divided into four categories (Power, Service, Return, Mental) and three rarity levels (Silver, Gold, Platinum), users build their own avatar and compete in weekly tournaments for the chance to win premium prizes such as rare Fungiball cards, tennis equipment, tickets, and much more. Fungiball’s digital marketplace is now live, with game play scheduled to launch in late March 2024. Visit fungiball.io to play and learn more. 

Media Contacts

Winners Alliance & PTPA: david.cooper@winnersalliance.com

Fungiball: contact@fungiball.io

Winners Alliance Supports Tennis Players’ Travels Via New Partnership With Priority Pass

The Professional Tennis Players Association partnership with Priority Pass – via Winners Alliance – bolsters the mission to help alleviate travel burdens of pro tennis players

Washington, D.C., February 28, 2024 – The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA), global advocates for professional tennis players, today announced Priority Pass as an official partner. This marks a significant step in supporting the travel needs of players worldwide who have a desire to decompress during their rigorous travel schedules.

This announcement comes on the heels of a global survey recently commissioned by Priority Pass that shows 53 percent of travelers say visiting an airport lounge has improved their ability to switch off and relax during their travels.

Facilitated by the PTPA’s for-profit affiliate Winners Alliance, the partnership grants hundreds of professional tennis players complimentary Priority Pass Prestige memberships – which includes the most comprehensive benefits of the three membership tiers to maximize comfort. Priority Pass Prestige membership includes:

• Lounge access that provides a sanctuary of peace and quiet, away from the bustle of the airport so players can recharge between tournaments

• Complimentary food and beverages, including access to healthy dining throughout the day with wellness in mind

• Access to lounge alternatives including sleeping pods*, pre-flight spa treatments* and restaurant experiences* (*At select airports) 

“Priority Pass is a thoughtful and natural addition to our growing family of PTPA partners given the rigorous travel schedules for professional tennis players,” said Vasek Pospisil, PTPA Executive Committee member. “We’re always looking for ways to make our travels more comfortable, and we’re grateful that Priority Pass is committed to supporting players in our day-to-day lives.”

Priority Pass, renowned as the world’s leading provider of airport lounges and experiences, boasts 1,500 lounges in over 700 cities and 145 countries. A transformative brand founded in 1992 and continuing to grow to this day, Priority Pass has been providing frequent travelers with award-winning independent airport lounge access worldwide. With the professional tennis tour spanning 30 countries over 11 months, players who face one of the most demanding travel schedules in all of professional sports now have access to seamless, premium airport experiences across the globe.

“Priority Pass is proud to partner with the Professional Tennis Players Association enabling us to directly impact players and their overall travel experience,” said Sheryl Pflaum, President, Collinson Americas (operator of Priority Pass). “These athletes deserve to travel with ease of mind and comfort thereby empowering them to play at their highest level. This meaningful partnership allows players at all levels equitable access to the full benefits of our program, thus enhancing the growth of their careers.”

Ahmad Nassar, PTPA Executive Director, stated, “The PTPA’s partnership with Priority Pass is another strategic step in supporting professional tennis players worldwide through new benefits, services, and opportunities. World-class athletes deserve world-class support, and we know Priority Pass will provide players with added comfort and convenience during their travels.”

Added Eric Winston, President of Winners Alliance: “We are dedicated to creating opportunities that enhance the lives of professional athletes. This partnership with Priority Pass aligns with our mission, providing a tangible and valuable benefit to our members as they crisscross the globe in pursuit of their athletic dreams.”

The PTPA, through Winners Alliance, has strategically crafted this partnership to address the unique challenges players encounter, aligning with its broader mission of creating an equitable and sustainable competitive environment.

About the Professional Tennis Players Association

The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) is a global organization that unites and mobilizes tennis players to foster transparency and fairness in professional tennis. As an independent entity, the PTPA is dedicated to advancing and safeguarding the rights of professional men’s and women’s tennis players throughout their careers. By prioritizing crucial aspects such as health and safety, schedules, rules, purses, benefits, and education, the PTPA endeavors to build an equitable and sustainable competitive environment for present and future generations of players. Headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area, the PTPA operates on a global scale. For more information, visit www.ptpaplayers.com and connect with @ptpaplayers on social media.

About Priority Pass

Priority Pass is operated by Collinson, the global, privately-owned company dedicated to helping the world to travel with ease and confidence. Priority Pass is the world’s original and market-leading airport experiences programme. We provide travelers with access to over 1,500 airport lounges and travel experiences in over 700 airports in 145 countries. Members can access an ever-growing range of premium experiences – from spas to sleeping pods to dining – that help elevate every journey into something special. By building partnerships with other leading brands, we help to bring a better travel experience to the world.

About Winners Alliance

Winners Alliance is a global, athlete-centric commercial solution dedicated to creating novel group licensing, sponsorship, partnership, content, investment and event opportunities for world-class athletes collectively. Launched in August 2022, Winners Alliance serves as the for-profit affiliate of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) and Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA), representing the group commercial rights of hundreds of athletes worldwide. Among its pioneering initiatives, Winners Alliance aims to establish a sustainable group licensing program encompassing video games, trading cards, collectibles, and related opportunities. To learn more, visit www.winnersalliance.com and follow @WinnersAlliance on LinkedInInstagram and X.

Media Contacts

For PTPA & Winners Alliance: david.cooper@winnersalliance.com
For Priority Pass: Aaron Kokoruz: aaron.kokoruz@ketchum.com

Eric Winston Takes the Helm as President of Winners Alliance

Washington D.C., July, 13, 2023 – Winners Alliance, the for-profit affiliate of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA), is pleased to announce the appointment of Eric Winston as its President. With his background as the former Chief Licensing Officer and Head of Partner Development & College at OneTeam Partners, Mr. Winston brings extensive expertise in group licensing programs and forging partnerships for athletes. Recognized as a co-architect of OneTeam and a leader in revenue generation for athletes, including as the President of the NFL Players Association, Mr. Winston’s experience will be invaluable in his new role. He will also serve as a Senior Advisor to Ahmad Nassar, the Executive Director of the PTPA and CEO of Winners Alliance.

“Eric’s tireless advocacy for athletes has had a profound impact on the commercial landscape,” said Mr. Nassar. “During our collaboration at the NFLPA, where we worked on developing the NFL Players Inc. marketing and licensing business, and in launching OneTeam, I witnessed firsthand his ability to fiercely advocate for athletes and create growth opportunities for them. I am thrilled to see him now leading Winners Alliance. With the support of our team, we are dedicated to building a business that prioritizes athletes’ interests, empowering them to enhance their brands.”

During his four-year tenure at OneTeam, Mr. Winston played a pivotal role in establishing the company as a leading commercial rights representative for over 10,000 players across eight professional athlete unions. Additionally, he co-led the development of the nation’s largest college NIL business and secured partnerships with Players Associations in major sports leagues, including soccer and basketball.

As President, Mr. Winston will lead Winners Alliance through its next stage of growth by developing, communicating, and executing the long-term strategic goals and objectives of the business. This includes overseeing platform development, maximizing the commercialization of players’ rights, and managing relationships with brands through licensing partnerships as well as any acquisitions Winners Alliance looks to transact. The organization is establishing a groundbreaking group licensing program encompassing video games, trading cards, collectibles, and related opportunities. A recent partnership with Fanatics Collectibles will provide players with the opportunity to be featured in a group trading card set program under the renowned Topps brand.

“I am honored to take on the role of President at Winners Alliance and contribute to the advancement of commercial opportunities for professional tennis players,” said Mr. Winston. “With my experience in growing revenue for all athletes, I understand the significance of placing them at the core of our business. In less than a year, Winners Alliance has achieved remarkable progress. Alongside our talented team, we are committed to driving innovation, fostering growth, and ensuring that players have the opportunities they rightfully deserve in the sport they are passionate about.”

Mr. Winston has had a distinguished career, including serving as President of the NFLPA. He led negotiations for a CBA valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars, governing the sport through the 2030 NFL season. He also spearheaded financial advisor and NFL agent regulations, co-authored a financial literacy program for the NFL, and supported transitioning football players through The Player Trust. With his 12-year playing career, Mr. Winston’s advocacy and leadership skills are well-established. In recognition of his expertise, he was named to the NFL-NFLPA Player Benefits board in 2022, which oversees $9 billion in benefit money, including pension, 401K, and insurance.

Mr. Winston holds a B.B.A. degree in international finance and marketing from the University of Miami and earned his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

About Winners Alliance

Founded in August 2022, Winners Alliance is the for-profit affiliate of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA). Its mission is to generate and maximize off-the-court commercial opportunities for players and their agents, drawing inspiration from successful players associations in other sports. Among its pioneering initiatives, Winners Alliance aims to establish a sustainable group licensing program encompassing video games, trading cards, collectibles, and related opportunities.

About the Professional Tennis Players Association:

The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) is a global organization that unites and mobilizes tennis players to foster transparency and fairness in professional tennis. As an independent entity, the PTPA is dedicated to advancing and safeguarding the rights of professional men’s and women’s tennis players throughout their careers. By prioritizing crucial aspects such as health and safety, schedules, rules, purses, benefits, and education, the PTPA endeavors to build an equitable and sustainable competitive environment for present and future generations of players. Headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area, the PTPA operates on a global scale. For more information, visit www.ptpaplayers.com and connect with @ptpaplayers on social media.

For media inquiries, please contact: david@mvppr.com

Fanatics Signs 20-Year Tennis Card Deal With Winners Alliance

As collectible prices boomed in recent years, multiple tennis stars’ trading cards sold for over $10,000 each. Yet, the biggest manufacturers have not made a robust product for the sport. That could change as soon as this year.

Fanatics Collectibles and Winners Alliance—the for-profit affiliate of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA)—announced a new partnership Thursday to create an annual series of cards for the next two decades. Men’s and women’s players will be represented in the sets, which will be made through the Fanatics-owned Topps brand.

“With Fanatics Collectibles’ focus on reaching new audiences and enhancing the collector experience, we’re thrilled to be bringing the trading card hobby to tennis fans around the world for the first time,” Kelvin Smith, Fanatics Collectibles VP of global licensing and partner development, said in a statement.

While the PTPA has not announced how many players have already signed up for its group licensing program, the organization’s goal is to represent the top 250 men’s and women’s competitors. Its not clear how many players would be represented in each year’s set of cards, though it would likely include a mix of new entrants as well as established champions. Individuals could also sign their own autograph or memorabilia deals with Fanatics. Star players from Novak Djokovic to Serena Williams have popped up in previous trading card sets made by smaller companies such as NetPro and Ace Authentic.

In 2020, Djokovic announced the formation of the PTPA, a players association separate from the ATP or WTA. Last year, the organization raised $26 million to launch Winners Alliance, an entity to help players monetize their fame. The group hired OneTeam Partners CEO Ahmad Nassar to be the PTPA executive director and Winners Alliance CEO.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time the last few months talking about the theoretical,” Nassar said in an interview. “‘Hey, players in tennis should have a Players Association. Players in tennis should have an independent voice. Players in tennis should have more commercial deals.’ And this is really the first time we’ve been able to say, ‘And here it is.’”

Fanatics Collectibles has emerged as a power player in the cards business since acquiring baseball, football and basketball-related licensing rights in 2021, followed by the Topps acquisition for roughly $500 million early in 2022. With tennis, they’ll look to chart largely unexplored ground.

Bill Ackman Is Helping Tennis Players Earn More Money Off the Court

Billionaire is helping athletes profit from their own brand

Licensing for video games, trading cards among group’s plans

Billionaire Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Foundation and investment firm Prysm Capital led a $26 million investment in a new organization designed to help professional tennis players pursue business opportunities off the court.

Winners Alliance, a for-profit affiliate of the Professional Tennis Players Association, appointed Ackman as chairman of the board. Among its first initiatives, the organization plans to set up a licensing program for players to get paid for their likeness being used in video games, trading cards and related areas.

The board also includes Christina Francis, president of Magic Johnson Enterprises, Prysm Capital co-founders Jay Park and Muhammad Mian, and Ahmad Nassar, who formerly led athlete agency OneTeam Partners and NFL Players Inc. Nassar, who was named executive director of PTPA and CEO of Winners Alliance, also participated in the fundraising.

For tennis players who have reached the pinnacle of the sport such as Naomi Osaka, Emma Raducanu, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, prize money is steadily supplemented by lucrative partnerships with brands like Sweetgreen, Tiffany & Co., Richard Mille and Mercedes-Benz. But for hundreds of other lesser-known contenders, injuries or winless spells can make the professional tour financially challenging.

“With the launch and funding of Winners Alliance, we are now well resourced to make a material difference in players’ lives,” said Vasek Pospisil, who co-founded the PTPA with 21-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic.

Read more: Djokovic’s US Open Bid Is Foiled by Holdover Rule From Pandemic

“I have had a lifelong passion for tennis, both as a player and a fan, but have long recognized the challenges that most professional tennis players experience due to the sport’s inferior economics for all but the very top of the rankings ladder,” Ackman said in an emailed statement.