World Team Tennis (2000-2006)
Born: November 1999 – WTT expansion franchise.
Died: January 2007 – The FoxForce cease operations.
- 2000-2001: Hartford State Armory
- ????-2006: Apple Arena at Blue Fox Run Golf Course (2,500)
The Hartford FoxForce were members of Billie Jean King’s summer time World Team Tennis promotion for seven seasons between 2000 and 2006. Founded by King and a few other partners in 1974, WTT has operated quietly for the better part of four decades. The scale and ambition of the league has fluctuated over the years. After starting out in gargantuan NHL and NBA arenas in the 1970’s, World Team Tennis has settled into a niche as a sort of low-key glorified exhibition circuit, which emphasizes intimate venues and affordable family entertainment (expect music & “wacky” sound effects between points) without the traditional stuffiness and formality of pro tour events.
World Team Tennis teams are co-ed. Most of the league’s players are fairly anonymous low-paid tour professionals. In the year 2000, when the FoxForce joined WTT as an expansion club, the minimum base salary was $4,000 for three weeks work, plus performance bonuses. But each season, there are a handful of big name players who play for much larger appearance fees and provide the league with its box office appeal.
Boris Becker, James Blake and Monica Seles were among the top names to play for the FoxForce over the years. Jimmy Connors, Anna Kournikova, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Pete Sampras were among the stars that came to Connecticut on opposing teams.
The FoxForce were owned by husband and wife Brian Foley and Lisa Wilson-Foley for their entire existence. Brian Foley previously owned the Connecticut Pride basketball team of the Continental Basketball Association. The team had a loyal following, first at the 3,000-seat State Armory in Hartford and later at a 2,500-seat outdoor tennis stadium at Blue Fox Run Golf Course in Avon. In the winter following the 2006 season the Foleys shut down the FoxForce, citing a lack of corporate sponsorship support for the team.