Is it possible for there to be too many Tier I tournaments?
Tier I status is a simple trade really. The tournament provides a level of prize money (and certain other amenities), and the tour guarantees six top ten players. (I think they have to provide a certain number of Gold-Exempt and Silver-Exempt players too,but it's been a few years since I looked at that part of the WTA. Things may have changed.)
So the only theoretical limit of the number of Tier I's is having enough players to play them.
Doha becomes a Tier I next year. San Diego a couple years ago.
Meanwhile, there have been some disasters in terms of top players not showing up. Rogers Cup, Charleston, San Diego....
Add to that, all top ten players aren't created equal, in terms of fan appeal. Martina Hingis brings more eyes to the television set than Nadia Petrova. But the situation can be worse. And it is. The two biggest draw on tour, in terms of TV ratings, are Venus and Serena Williams. (Sania Mirza and/or the first Chinese GS singles winner will change that, of course.) I'm talking culmulative world TV ratings. Of course Henin likely gets better ratings than Serena in Belgium, and Mauresmo higher ratings in France. But the USA has more TVs per capita, and a huge fan base. There's a reason the USA can support three Tier I tournaments, and four Tier II tournaments, while the best any other country does is one of each.
So you can find investors to pony up the cash so you have a dozen Tier I tournaments. But what of the product? A Tier I tournament should have,at minimum, four of your star players. Not necessarily your BEST players. Your STAR players. I like watching Petrova play. She's not substitute for a Clijsters or a Mauresmo when it comes to TV ratings.
You wouldn't think over-expansion was even on the WTA horizon, but it seems to be. I guess you
can can't reduce the number of Tier I's, as a practical matter. But as it stands, Tier I's are the showcase events. And some of them recently have been seriously devoid of star-power.
Proud to be an American
Not blind. Not uninformed. We are party to atrocities. But the response of the world after 9/11 is worth noting. Even our most dire enemies offered aid. We should all be so lucky.
Last edited by Volcana; Mar 6th, 2007 at 04:53 PM.