Okay, so the guy is making all the same arguement I
made. Can't I pretend
I'm posting this because he's so insightful?
Originally Posted by Wertheim
I suppose you are crowing now that Wimbledon has capitulated to the ridiculous claim by women tennis players for equal pay for less work? Where is the backbone of the men in the ATP who agree to play longer hours for the same pay? Where, pray tell, is the equality? Why not just have one championship open to all players regardless of gender?
-- Al Ferg, Sherbrooke
Though most communiqués weren't as pointed as Al's, the most popular topic this week was, predictably, the decision at the All-England Club to award women equal prize money. I wouldn't say I'm crowing -- as one voice of reason pointed out, we shouldn't get too worked up over athlete salaries. But I do think the All-England Club made the right call.
If the disparity in pay had simply been about unequal pay for unequal work, the women would have been paid 60 pence on the pound, representing best-of-three-sets versus best-of five. That the women were paid something like 96 percent of the men's wages, made it -- perversely -- worse, suggesting this was little more than a petty symbolic statement.
Here again is my stance.
A) The number of sets is a red herring. We could just as easily base "work" on shots struck per match. The name of the game is entertainment value and as long as women have the commercial appeal of men at majors (sometimes they do; sometimes they don't -- but it sure is close) they deserve equal wages.
B) The difference in pay was so minimal that the bad publicity vastly outstripped the savings.
So far, really ordinary. But then he gets to the good stuff.
Originally Posted by Wertheim
While on balance, I applaud this decision, I find the WTA's gloating a bit disingenuous. Check out the prize money from last year and you'll see that the year-end ATP Masters Cup pays nearly 50 percent more than the analogous WTA Championship. The typical Masters Series event pays nearly double the WTA Tier 1. If I'm a WTA exec, I'm not sure how I respond to the question, "How can you clamor for equal prize money when the market consistently suggests your product is worth less?"
One could contend that a combined event is different from a tour event and that, so long as men and women both play on Centre Court, both receive commensurate television coverage, they should be paid equally. Still, I wonder whether, with this victory, Amelie Mauresmo, Venus Williams and Co. will now seek answers as to why, say, their 50th-ranked colleague (Severine Bremond) made nearly half as much as the 50th-ranked male (Nicolas Kiefer) last year.
Push comes to shove, the women seem to be worth as much in the semis and finals of a slam, but half as much in the 2nd round of a Tier III. And of course, if you're Venus or Serena, your presence virtually guarantees MORE profit from a slam final.
Would you like to be the person who figures out how the prize money should work in a situation like that? Imagine the discussion.
"If Serena is in the final, we'll make an extra three million in ad revenue. So she should get more for being in the final than Elena Dementieva."
That's totally unworkable.
NOTE: Jon Wertheim, you have noted that we by and large loath you here. Well, 'loath' is a bit strong. 'Detest'? 'Despise'? Who knows? Just want to mention that you actually do good work. It's just our nature, as ardent fans of a niche sport, to hate the tennis literati. Don't take it personally.