Eight of IMG’s top tennis clients, including Serena and Venus Williams, Naomi Osaka, Kei Nishikori and Maria Sharapova will enter the world of the Mario Tennis Aces game exclusively for Nintendo Switch to participate alongside other celebrities in a live virtual tennis tournament titled the “Stay at Home Slam.” It will be broadcasted May 3 at 4 p.m. ET.
The primary broadcast will be streamed exclusively on Facebook via Facebook Gaming and IMG’s tennis Facebook page.
The participants will play the video game from their homes across the country, and each will receive $25,000 donated to the charity of their choice, with the winner of the tournament receiving an additional $1 million donation.
“I am proud our IMG tennis clients came together so quickly to support a multitude of great causes,” said Max Eisenbud, senior vice president 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.
Tennis stars participating and their corresponding celebrity doubles partners are Serena Williams and Gigi Hadid; Osaka and Hailey Bieber; Venus Williams and DeAndre Hopkins; Sharapova (who retired from professional tennis in February) and Karlie Kloss; Nishikori and Steve Aoki; Madison Keys and Seal; Taylor Fitz and Addison Rae, and Kevin Anderson and Ryan Tannehill.
John McEnroe will provide commentary on the matches, along with YouTube personality iJustine (Justine Ezarik).
The tournament came together through various divisions across Endeavor, including IMG’s tennis clients, events and e-sports teams, WME’s talent clients and digital groups, as well as Endeavor Content’s Film 45, which will produce the tournament stream.
“Across the Endeavor network, we are pivoting in creative ways during this time of crisis,” said Stuart Saw, senior vice president of e-sports at IMG. He said he was happy 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?
“Gaming’s superpower has always been bring people together, and right now that’s the case more than ever,” said Leo Olebe, global director, games partnerships for Facebook Gaming.
In Mario Tennis Aces for Nintendo Switch, Mario steps onto the court in tennis attire to compete against a variety of Mushroom Kingdom characters including Luigi, Peach, Donkey Kong and Bowser.