Larry Scott will become the Pac-10 Conference commissioner on July 1 after six years as chairman and chief executive officer of the WTA Tour.
Scott will remain with the women's professional tennis circuit into
June, the tour said Tuesday. He will work with the tour board to select his successor.
"With women's professional tennis more popular than ever, the
tour in the strongest business position in its history and a
fantastic senior management team in place, now is the right time
for me to embrace a new challenge," Scott said in a statement.
Scott became the CEO of the WTA in 2003, after having been ATP
chief operating officer and president of ATP Properties. Under his
watch, the WTA pushed for - and got - equal prize money for women
at Wimbledon and the French Open.
"He brings a lot of great skills and experience to the job," said Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby, who led the Pac-10's search and screening committee.
"He has great experience in branding. He has great experience
in sponsorship development and in television negotiations,"
Bowlsby said in a telephone interview. "He has the right energy to
build upon a great foundation with the Pac-10."
Scott will take over for Tom Hansen, who announced his retirement
last June after 26 years, making him the longest-tenured Division I conference commissioner in the country.
Bowlsby said his committee began work last August and forwarded
the names of four candidates to the conference presidents.
Scott's announcement that he is leaving the tour comes a little more than a month after perhaps the biggest controversy of his stay: Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer was denied a visa by the United Arab Emirates and wasn't able to compete in the Dubai Tennis Championships.
The WTA eventually fined the tournament's organizers a record
$300,000 and made them post a $2 million performance guarantee to
ensure Peer and other Israeli players won't be shut out of future
tournaments in the UAE.
Under Scott, according the tour, it has seen a 500 percent increase in sponsorship revenue, a 250 percent increase in overall revenues, a
40 percent increase in prize money and $710 million in new stadium investments.
He helped the tour land the largest sponsorship deal in the history of women's sports with Sony Ericsson at $88 million over six years. The announcement of his resignation came on the eve of the start of the Sony Ericsson Open on Key Biscayne.
"Under Larry's leadership, the tour and our sport have grown over the past six years beyond anyone's wildest expectations," said Steve Simon, tournament board representative and chairman of the tournament council.
Scott helped the tour change its calendar and rules to shorten
the season and lessen the strain on players, and it landed the
largest deal for the year-end championships, putting them in Doha,
Qatar, for 2008-10.
Innovations under Scott included electronic line-calling, on-court coaching, pre-match player interviews and a new doubles