IMG said Wednesday that eight of its top tennis clients will face off via the Mario Tennis Aces game exclusively for Nintendo Switch. They will be joined in doubles matches by celebrities such as Gigi Hadid, Seal, Ryan Tannehill, Haley Bieber and Karlie Kloss.
The live virtual tennis tournament is called the “Stay at Home Slam.” Competition is set to take place on Sunday, May 3 at 4 PM ET/1 PM PT. It will be streamed exclusively on Facebook via Facebook Gaming and IMG’s tennis Facebook page.
Competitors will take the virtual courts from their homes across the country. Each will receive $25,000 donated to the charity of their choice, with the winner of the tournament receiving an additional $1 million donation.
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“I am proud our IMG tennis clients came together so quickly to support a multitude of great causes,” said Max Eisenbud, SVP of tennis clients at IMG. “It is a testament to the people we work with across all our divisions that we were able to bring this to life in such a short amount of time.”
“It’s been incredible to see the creative ways athletes are using social media to support people during this difficult time,” said Evan Shugerman, Facebook Athlete Partnerships Lead. “We’re excited to be partnering with IMG to contribute to those efforts, which will bring some of the world’s top athletes together on Facebook for an entertaining and impactful competition.”
Tennis stars participating, and their corresponding celebrity doubles partners are:
Serena Williams and Gigi Hadid
Naomi Osaka and Hailey Bieber
Venus Williams and DeAndre Hopkins
Maria Sharapova and Karlie Kloss
Kei Nishikori and Steve Aoki
Madison Keys and Seal
Taylor Fritz and Addison Rae
Kevin Anderson and Ryan Tannehill
John McEnroe and YouTube personality iJustine (Justine Ezarik) will offer commentary.
This first-ever tournament is made possible by various divisions across Endeavor, including IMG’s tennis clients, events and esports teams, WME’s talent clients and digital groups, as well as Endeavor Content’s Film 45, which will produce the tournament livestream.
“Across the Endeavor network, we are pivoting in creative ways during this time of crisis,” said Stuart Saw, SVP of esports at IMG. “We’re thrilled to have the internal resources to bring a bit of levity to viewers’ lives, and who better than Mario to bring people together for some friendly, competitive fun? We’re also grateful to have the support of Facebook Gaming to help us bring this event to fans around the world.”
“Gaming’s superpower has always been bringing people together and right now that’s the case more than ever,” said Leo Olebe, Global Director, Games Partnerships for Facebook Gaming. “Blending that superpower with pro athletes and epic entertainment to raise money for COVID-19 relief and research efforts is a natural fit that we’re proud to be a part of.”
In Mario Tennis Aces for Nintendo Switch, Mario steps onto the court for all-out tennis battles against a variety of Mushroom Kingdom characters including Luigi, Peach, Donkey Kong and Bowser.