By Martin Ross
Richard Heaselgrave, the recently departed chief commercial officer of English soccer’s second-tier Football League, has been appointed as the new commercial director of Tennis Australia, organiser of the Australian Open.
It is understood that Heaselgrave will move to Melbourne in March to lead Tennis Australia’s commercial activities, looking to develop commercial income from the Australian Open and other events organised by the tennis body. He will be responsible for raising revenue streams in various areas, including broadcast, digital, sponsorship, licensing, ticketing and corporate hospitality.
The Football League announced Heaselgrave’s departure at the start of the month, stating that he was leaving by mutual consent, while Heaselgrave himself said he was "moving on to fresh challenges."
He joined the Football League in early 2012 after spending two years as vice-president of business development at basketball's NBA Europe, and prior to that held senior positions at Uefa, European soccer's governing body, motor racing's World Rally Championship and US brewing giant Anheuser-Busch.
The appointment of Heaselgrave follows the departure of Steve Ayles from the post of commercial director at Tennis Australia towards the end of last year.
Ayles was this week named as a commercial consultant in the Asia-Pacific region for the International Tennis Federation, the sport’s world governing body.
Ayles' departure from Tennis Australia followed the end of chief executive Steve Wood's eight-year tenure at the Melbourne-based association, with Craig Tiley taking on the role last October.
During his short tenure at the Football League, Heaselgrave helped land Capital One, the financial services company, as the title sponsor of the League Cup for four years from 2012-13.
He also worked on the new title sponsorship deal for the Championship, League One and League Two divisions taken up by Sky Bet, the betting arm of British Sky Broadcasting as part of a deal in which the UK pay-television operator extended its media rights deal until 2018.