Gold exemption list and players commitments
I've been thinking about this topic, all the problems the WTA is having to comply with the players commitments to tournaments. How all tournaments want the big stars, even small tournaments are wanting the big starts to play there.
In short, the wta has become a showcase for a few big stars, and not a sports tour.
What the WTA should do?
Well, the first thing you need to do in marketing is... listen to the market.
That's the way tournaments should be treated. If players want to play San Diego, there are reasons for that: they like the city, they like the way they are treated, the prize money, the date the tournament is held, etc. etc.
It's the same reason why someone would choose to go to one hotel other than the other, because the set of benefits you get vs the costs is better than others. You wouldn't guarantee a hotel certain visitors would you? If an hotel wants to lure tourist to stay there, they have to do something, put prices down, offer more benefits, etc.
Some tournaments have advantages over others, location, date, prize money. It's difficult for a tier 2 to compete against a tier 1 because the prize money is lower, but they do sucessfully compete because they offer other advantages.
Los Angeles for example offers the big advantage of being near San Diego, so players can go and play there without travelling much, not jetlag, and they get two weeks rest before the US Open. You can't compete against that if you are for example Toronto or New Haven, but then you have to get imaginative. You can offer the players more benefits, treat them better, increase the prize money, etc.
In short, the wta should not be guaranteeing tournaments that certain players will be there, it's up to the tournaments to convince the stars to play, the gold exemption list is a bad idea and it needs to be scrapped. You basically have a group of people deciding what the players' behaviour should be, and that shouldn't be that way, it's proven that it doesn't work, you cannot go against the market, the sooner they understand that, the sooner they will find a fix for it.
We've seen the disaster with the Califonia tournaments and Toronto. When you see how players commit to tournaments because the wta forces them to and them pull out or lose in the first round. Really, the wta should not do the tournament's job, it's the tournament's job to convince the players to play.
Another important consideration. The WTA is relying heavily in a few big stars, eg Maria, Venus, Serena. Problem is, they are not selling tennis, they are selling Maria Sharapova or Serena Williams, that doesn't work in the long term.
Suppose you have a store that sells electronics, you want more customers so you decide to offer I-pods at $100 each. Sure you will get a lot of customers and you can think that the money you are losing with the i-pods is a promotion cost.
Fair enough, but if you don't offer the customers something else when they are there, you are screwed, they will simply pick up the cheap ipods and leave, and if you want them to keeping coming you will have to keep offering ipods at a loss. So, attracts your customers but give them a good experience, use the ipods to get them there and then show them why they should come back.
Same with tennis, you want to use Maria to attract customers? fine, do it, but once the fans get to the tournament, make their experience unforgetable, make them enjoy their stay and make them want to come back, so, if you don't have Maria, they will still be your customers.
There are many things the tournaments can do to make the experience more enjoyable, and it depends on the tournament, but that should be the idea, they are not selling Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams or Venus Williams, they are selling entertainment, through a tennis tournament, Maria and Serena are only one example of the attractions they offer.
Last but not least, get rid of that stupid ad "they can't cook but sure they can serve", that's not going to atract any customers, except to laugh at you.