DANIEL ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - Charleston billionaire Ben Navarro, who made headlines earlier this year when he was a finalist to buy the Carolina Panthers, made a different big purchase on Wednesday, taking over the Volvo Car Open tennis tournament on Daniel Island.
Navarro, who's the CEO of Sherman Financial Group and has founded the non-profit Meeting Street Schools in the Lowcountry, also takes over operations of the Family Circle Tennis Center and Volvo Car Stadium with his purchase of Charleston Tennis LLC. That group will now become a locally-owned and operated organization.
"I look forward to building on the current tournament tradition that is already 47 years in the making with the Volvo Car Open," Navarro said in a statement. "Bob Moran and his team have created a tennis legacy in Charleston with the event and its facilities. Our goal is to continue to grow the tournament's impact, promote junior tennis in Charleston, and make the sport more accessible for all. Personally, Charleston Tennis LLC's mission of giving back and making a positive influence on our community align with my family's values and beliefs."
"I've had the pleasure of getting to know Ben over the last year through his commitment to growing tennis here in Charleston. His club LTP Tennis has hosted numerous ITF and junior tournaments culminating with the US Girls Clay Court National Championship, held this past July," said Bob Moran, President of Charleston Tennis LLC said in a statement. "I'm blown away with not only Ben's commitment to tennis, but his love for this community. His work with Meeting Street Schools is truly inspiring. Our team is excited to get started building towards the 2019 Volvo Car Open and working with Ben and his team to create an even bigger and better experience for our players, fans and partners. With this commitment and investment to build world-class experiences by our new owner, and the support of our title sponsor, Volvo Car USA, we will continue to remain a vibrant part of the Charleston community for years to come."
Steve Simon, WTA CEO and Chairman stated, “Rooted in the WTA’s rich history as one of the very first tournaments in 1973, it is a pleasure to see both the tradition and growth of this event continue. We are delighted to welcome Ben’s ownership to the Volvo Car Open and look forward to the positive impact this will have on the continued success of one of the premier women’s tennis events in the world.”
Navarro is also the owner of LTP Tennis Club in Mount Pleasant, S.C. He and his wife are avid tennis fans and their four children play the sport.