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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

Is this inconsistent? It's been this way for a few years now. The women are receiving equal prize money. Ticket prices on the marquee days (semis, finals) are still different for the men and women though (it's 10 pounds more for the men's semis, and 8 pounds more for the men's final; I didn't take into account doubles because I don't know how the schedule works for those.)

Suppose we dismiss the "equal work" argument (men play more sets! vs women work just as hard in practice! which respectively beg the questions: should longer matches be paid more? should players who work harder be paid more?). Suppose we dismiss the "equal profit" argument (should more popular players who bring in more fans be paid more?) because a player is paid according to how far they advance in the draw. This still leaves the jarring phenomena of unequal ticket prices, which implies that a women's match has lower monetary worth. Whether this is due to the quality, or length - doesn't matter.

Ultimately, I still like the idea of equal prize money in mixed tournaments (where prize money is easily compared) because I like to think that sports can transcend itself and serve as edification via symbolism, where the equal prize money is a metonym for equality between the sexes. That is, if your chosen profession is tennis, and you do the best you can in your profession, then you'll be rewarded the same regardless of your sex. Ironically, the whole hoo-hah and publicity and resistance leading up to the eventual attainment of equal prize money may be more helpful on this front.

Is there any other reason for equal prize money besides its symbolism? Should ticket prices be synchronised for consistency? Or should women be paid more because they're selling not just one, but two products: tennis and sex?

Sorry for being verbose, and for rehashing a worn-out topic.

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 02:53 PM
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

Interesting. I didn't know they had two different prices, one each for the men and the women. Sure I'm all for equal pay, but let's face it, if they could get away and charge as much for the womens as they charge for the mens semi/finals, they would.

Hmmm....I take that back. Semis and Finals would still sell out if they were the same price, just b/c it is Wimbledon. I think they are losing money by not charging the same amount as the men.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 02:57 PM
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

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Is this inconsistent? It's been this way for a few years now. The women are receiving equal prize money. Ticket prices on the marquee days (semis, finals) are still different for the men and women though (it's 10 pounds more for the men's semis, and 8 pounds more for the men's final; I didn't take into account doubles because I don't know how the schedule works for those.)

Suppose we dismiss the "equal work" argument (men play more sets! vs women work just as hard in practice! which respectively beg the questions: should longer matches be paid more? should players who work harder be paid more?). Suppose we dismiss the "equal profit" argument (should more popular players who bring in more fans be paid more?) because a player is paid according to how far they advance in the draw. This still leaves the jarring phenomena of unequal ticket prices, which implies that a women's match has lower monetary worth. Whether this is due to the quality, or length - doesn't matter.

Ultimately, I still like the idea of equal prize money in mixed tournaments (where prize money is easily compared) because I like to think that sports can transcend itself and serve as edification via symbolism, where the equal prize money is a metonym for equality between the sexes. That is, if your chosen profession is tennis, and you do the best you can in your profession, then you'll be rewarded the same regardless of your sex. Ironically, the whole hoo-hah and publicity and resistance leading up to the eventual attainment of equal prize money may be more helpful on this front.

Is there any other reason for equal prize money besides its symbolism? Should ticket prices be synchronised for consistency? Or should women be paid more because they're selling not just one, but two products: tennis and sex?

Sorry for being verbose, and for rehashing a worn-out topic.
There is no argument for giving women's tennis equal pay except for political correctness if they can't deliver the goods. In that case male models should also be paid the same amount of money as female models but I don't see male models crying for equal pay or crying sexism all the time.

As for tennis and sex they combined can't match just tennis on the mens side. Its quite evident when we see tournaments like the Italian Open or Canadian Open which have quite contrasting attendance in consecutive weeks

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 03:02 PM
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

Just follow Nav's suggestion and make the girls play best of 5 in the majors. Physically, they can handle it--IF the technology is de-tuned to remove some of the power. IMO that's the single biggest reason the women are always retiring or withdrawing--their bodies just can't take the repetitive punishment. But they can run all day long if need be, so if they played with smaller-head raquets--or wood--I think you'd get some pretty good entertainment value over a 3 of 5 setter.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 03:02 PM
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

Hmm...its a bit annoying.
But i can see their point, mens matches on the whole last longer and are meant to be of a 'higher quality'.
That being said i believe in equal pay between sexes and i dont think making the mens matches more expensive tarnishses that

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

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There is no argument for giving women's tennis equal pay except for political correctness if they can't deliver the goods. In that case male models should also be paid the same amount of money as female models but I don't see male models crying for equal pay or crying sexism all the time.

As for tennis and sex they combined can't match just tennis on the mens side. Its quite evident when we see tournaments like the Italian Open or Canadian Open which have quite contrasting attendance in consecutive weeks
Yes, I think my phrasing it as "symbolism" was a euphemism for the political correctness behind the movement. There was a lot of pressure and bad publicity involved so I'm sure the tournaments were not doing it for solely altruistic reasons.

I don't know if modelling is a good analogue though. Seems too subjective to me, and is based on things like popular appeal, as with movie stars. In tennis, the goal is straightfoward: win x matches, earn $y. So ability is directly correlated to salary, and less salary implies less ability.

As for tennis and sex, I was merely jesting. Referencing Stich's tactless comments, which nonetheless bore kernels of truth.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 04:18 PM
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

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I don't know if modelling is a good analogue though. Seems too subjective to me, and is based on things like popular appeal, as with movie stars. In tennis, the goal is straightfoward: win x matches, earn $y. So ability is directly correlated to salary, and less salary implies less ability.
Modeling/Acting is a good analogue for popularity vis a vis sports. The toughest sports aren't necessarily the most popular ones. Golf isn't even considered a sport by many but gets huge amounts in sponsorship and winnings. Sponsorships comes with ability and / or popularity. The popularity of 3 players Sharapova and Williams sisters isn't enough to compensate for the shit that we see in the WTA daily. If I go to a mens match I know on an average I will get quality. Outside of the marquee names there is nothing to see in the WTA thats on par with the ATP. When was the last time we see a 3 setter final in a GS in the WTA. Forget anything of the quality of Federer Nadal finals. Womens tennis is not worthless but its definitely worth less.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

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Modeling/Acting is a good analogue for popularity vis a vis sports. The toughest sports aren't necessarily the most popular ones. Golf isn't even considered a sport by many but gets huge amounts in sponsorship and winnings. Sponsorships comes with ability and / or popularity. The popularity of 3 players Sharapova and Williams sisters isn't enough to compensate for the shit that we see in the WTA daily. If I go to a mens match I know on an average I will get quality. Outside of the marquee names there is nothing to see in the WTA thats on par with the ATP. When was the last time we see a 3 setter final in a GS in the WTA. Forget anything of the quality of Federer Nadal finals. Womens tennis is not worthless but its definitely worth less.
Well, the comparison is done within a sport, not across sports, so bringing up what the toughest sport is is besides the point. No one is suggesting that golfers should be paid the same as tennis players, or that lawyers should be paid the same as doctors. One could suggest that men's tennis and women's tennis are "different" sports though, much as singles and doubles are "different" sports. I think that's possible because the men don't compete directly with the women and the men's game emphasises different aspects of the game from the women generally (serve+forehand on the men's, ROS+backhand on the women's), but there will certainly be an outcry.

I agree that sponsorships for a tournament is awarded largely based on popularity, which is why equal prize money only makes sense in mixed tournaments. In Premier Mandatories, men even play the same number of sets as women. As for sponsorship for individual players... Anna K didn't get more money for her first round losses than other players. So it's clear that tournaments specifically do not award prize money based on popularity.

It's undeniable that the level of tennis on the ATP eclipses that on the WTA. But then biological differences between men and women means there are different limits to what physical skills they can demonstrate on court. And for these reasons, I think the men will always demonstrate more skill than women in a sport like tennis. The assumption (this is reliant upon good faith on our part) is that players on both tours have developed those skills to the best of their capabilities, so should women be penalised because they are biologically "handicapped"? I think this is the bit that brings the emotional argument in favour of equal prize money.

I suppose the counterargument is that life is unfair and people are "handicapped" to different degrees, whether it is looks, intelligence, or innate talent - and in sports, these biological differences are yet another manifestation of the lottery of birth.

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Ah no, it's always just my luck to get/One perfect rose.

Last edited by moby; Jun 22nd, 2009 at 06:27 PM.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 05:13 PM
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

on the Mon night for the QF when campers queue for tickets, there's not many in the Q, you can easily get QF tickets by just turning up at 6-7am on the morning

the Tues night, the Queue is much much longer, probably wont get a ticket for both courts by 10pm or so.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 05:49 PM
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

Mmmm... I’ll ignore the conditions you set on consideration just because I think – going by how I’m try to explain my point below – there’s a sort of co-dependence and interactions between factors.

Before I get into though just want to say that considering statistics that say that women on average earn roughly 5-15% less than men for same work and same hours globally, I'm pro-symbolism where you can get it .

But when it comes to sports will women ever really get a fair deal? Some of you sciency folks can correct me if I'm wrong but don't the physical differences between men and women impact performance / quality of product when things like racquet technology aren't factored appropriately. In other words, with racquet technology as it is favouring the power game, we basically have women playing / trying to play a men’s game then being compared to men on performance. It seems like a screwy approach to things and disadvantages women from the get go.

The disadvantage doesn’t end there. There’s also the implicit view that sport is a men’s thing; The first Olympics were men only. Sport encourages muscle growth which is “unfeminine” and so on. Ticket prices were never going to be equal. Look at women’s sports across the board, viewership always minimal unless it’s sex based. Price comparison are perhaps unfair.

So what should be considered? One thing is effort. Arguably women put in the same effort off court like in the gym – Can anyone tell me with confidence that Steffi, Henin and Jankovic put in less work off court than say Federer (with those chicken wings he tries to pass of as arms)? On court too – I suppose if you accept the physicality issue. I mean, many women have been prepared to play best of 5 set matches and they did at the YEC (why did that change because the scorelines were very competetive), but the establishment (including many of you guys on here) don’t want them too, in part because men suited racquet technology has meant an errorfest game style that you don’t want to see for 5 sets. Equal effort but not allowed to do equal work is pro equal pay.

Secondly we consider entertainment. It’s a disadvantage to women ‘s tennis to focus on this particular time period when women’s tennis is in a weak state and men’s not so much. Did the Evert Navratilova battles, Steffi V Seles battles and Hingis V Williams battles always come of second best in terms on entertainment compared to what the men produce? I have been more entertained by some of those battles than the men’s finals at the time. Entertainment wise, mens and womens tennis is never stagnant so decisions on financial rewards must have a long sighted/hypothetical view. There might very well be a time soon when women’s tennis gives you more competitive scorelines and drama then men’s tennis, lets say if heaven forbid Isner and Karlovic start making slam finals. So equal entertainment value potential is pro equal pay.

These two issues are 2 reasons why possible equal prize money could be justified. Why, equal prize money is as it should be. But I haven’t given this topic much thought so this is like a preliminary proposal, so don’t tear me to shreds mercilessly. Be gentle with me
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

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Mmmm... I’ll ignore the conditions you set on consideration just because I think – going by how I’m try to explain my point below – there’s a sort of co-dependence and interactions between factors.
...

These two issues are 2 reasons why possible equal prize money could be justified. Why, equal prize money is as it should be. But I haven’t given this topic much thought so this is like a preliminary proposal, so don’t tear me to shreds mercilessly. Be gentle with me
Heh, sorry, I didn't mean to impose any stipulations. Just kind of my thought processes as I was writing out the post.

I've a question about sports being a men's thing and how men's sports have always been more popular. Historically, that is the trend and suggests sexism. But then... perhaps men's sports are more popular because they are played at a higher quality (which they are usually thanks to the male physique) and this was the source of the initial view that sports should be a men's thing.

Argument from effort: For me, this is a pretty good argument. If women are biologically "handicapped", then maximising their potential seems to suggest they should be paid equal, especially since the deck is stacked against them, whether by systematic discrimination or by nature. But then in reality, people are paid by their output and not by how much effort they put in, so...

Argument from entertainment: This sort of conflates artistry with competence. Ideally, the best player should also provide good entertainment, but a more entertaining player who reaches the semi doesn't get paid more than Karlovic if Karlovic reaches the final. So I tend to believe that the purpose of prize money as of the present doesn't really factor in entertainment.

This is a fairly complex issue that ultimately depends on one's values. You won't be shredded.

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 07:19 PM
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

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Argument from entertainment: This sort of conflates artistry with competence. Ideally, the best player should also provide good entertainment, but a more entertaining player who reaches the semi doesn't get paid more than Karlovic if Karlovic reaches the final. So I tend to believe that the purpose of prize money as of the present doesn't really factor in entertainment.
I think the level of total prize money is all about entertainment. It's a different matter than the gradual increase of money awarded to players depending on their results. In many ways, that gradual increase makes sports what it is, and fuels the entertainment factor. The distribution of the money is a decision solely taken by the ATP, but the amount is ultimately dictated by overall ticket sales.

In the world today, sports are all about entertainment. The only reason sporting prize awards exist is because some people are willing to pay to watch them. So basically higher revenues --> more total prize money, makes perfect sense to me. And that's the rule in most sports.

Last edited by Apoleb; Jun 22nd, 2009 at 07:41 PM.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 07:41 PM
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

The ticket prices are lower because they are set by economics. The world is a sexist place that doesn't think women can play sports. The prize money is equal because it is run by educated people who have risen above their base instincts and have opened their minds to the idea of women competing in athletics on a playing field and in an arena equal to men. The tournaments probably do lose money by not rewarding the players what the market says they are worth. No good deed goes unpunished, but if you live for anything other than money, it should be worth it to you in the long run.

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 07:46 PM
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

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The ticket prices are lower because they are set by economics. The world is a sexist place that doesn't think women can play sports. The prize money is equal because it is run by educated people who have risen above their base instincts and have opened their minds to the idea of women competing in athletics on a playing field and in an arena equal to men. The tournaments probably do lose money by not rewarding the players what the market says they are worth. No good deed goes unpunished, but if you live for anything other than money, it should be worth it to you in the long run.
So you basically support women getting the same amount of prize money as men in every sport? Or in only the sports that you think women are doing just as good a job but aren't getting rewarded because the "world is a sexist place"? In many ways, I think you're enforcing a subjective decision of yours.

And I don't think women have gotten the equal prize money because tournament organizers are "educated" and "altruistic", but very much for the profit factor. The reason (I suppose) being unequal prize money would propagate a bad reputation for the tournament in the current climate of political correctness, especially among those that think women have a "right" for equal prize money (and they are many), which would ultimately lead to decrease in overall ticket sales and revenues.

Last edited by Apoleb; Jun 22nd, 2009 at 08:22 PM.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 07:35 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Equal Prize Money, Unequal Ticket Prices

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I think the level of total prize money is all about entertainment. It's a different matter than the gradual increase of money awarded to players depending on their results. In many ways, that gradual increase makes sports what it is, and fuels the entertainment factor. The distribution of the money is a decision solely taken by the ATP, but the amount is ultimately dictated by overall ticket sales.
Yes, I agree that total prize money is based on popularity and sponsorships. That's why it doesn't make sense to ensure that Premier tournaments dole out the same prize money as Master's series events if they're not held concurrently. I think I was unclear when I said "purpose of prize money" without the addendum "within a tournament", even though I was interested in talking about the distribution. My conception is that total prize money is fixed, then comes the distribution. Of course the question then is whether to treat men's and women's as separate tournaments even when they are held concurrently. I also forgot/didn't know that the ATP and WTA have autonomy in determining the distribution. IMO, it's silly that Dinara got more than Roger at Madrid.

Good point about the prize money by round... varying degrees of prize money leads to stronger incentive to do well leads to more drama and quality and entertainment. Pro players do not just play for glory and respect; they also need to put bread on the table. I guess there's an element of entertainment there after all.

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And I don't think women have gotten the equal prize money because tournament organizers are "educated" and "altruistic", but very much for the profit factor. The reason (I suppose) being unequal prize money would propagate a bad reputation for the tournament in the current climate of political correctness, especially among those that think women have a "right" for equal prize money (and they are many), which would ultimately lead to decrease in overall ticket sales and revenues.
Exactly. So if the strictly capitalistic perspective based on market demands holds, then the women do deserve equal prize money. They have succeeded in packaging "political correctness" and "equality" as attractive products for the masses and convincing the tourney bigwigs (accurately or inaccurately) of the indispensability of these products. It's almost a paradox: pay us more, and you'll make more money too. Pay us less, and you'll get less.

We may judge "political correctness" to be a flawed product of human illogic, but this does not detract from its legitimacy as a product on the market place. If spectators gain pleasure, or are entertained, when their (misplaced?) sensitivities towards equal rights are stoked, then who are we to judge their taste? Golf is privileged as a sport because of its links to the upper strata of society, and thus receives a lot of revenue from sponsors and spectators who want to buy into this product of "class". (IMO, this product sucks too. But the market likes it.)

There's self-reflexivity here. In a nutshell, the WTA women should get equal prize money, because they've convinced their direct consumers, i.e. organisers and sponsors, of the profitability of the product that is "equal prize money". The best part is, everyone (thinks they) benefit. The female players get more prize money, the organisers think they're making more money, and the spectators pay less for a WTA crapfest. Awesome.

A single flow'r he sent me, since we met./All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet - One perfect rose.
I knew the language of the floweret;/'My fragile leaves,' it said, 'his heart enclose.'
Love long has taken for his amulet/One perfect rose.
Why is it no one ever sent me yet/One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get/One perfect rose.

Last edited by moby; Jun 23rd, 2009 at 08:10 AM.
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