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Volcana
Mar 28th, 2005, 03:15 PM
Thinking on the WTA's promotion of it's players, and the game, and the focus that hardcore fans (that would be us) have on players, I see a certain disconnect. And while I approve of the WTA's approach (the curent montage commercial for the WTA features most of the accomplished players (Dokic, Shaughnessy and Hantuchova all appear briefly, as well as the faces you'd expect), there's a clear disconnect with the focus of at least part of their fan base represented her.

There SEEM to be lot of people more interested in who's a) under 18, and b) going to do a lot of photo shoots, than they are in who's playing the best tennis. Of course, that may be more apparent than real. Any evidence is anecdotal. Just seem to be a lot of threads focused on that. But maybe they're all started by the same people.

The WTA seems, at least at the moment, intent of steering clear of the softcore child-porn market, but the agents seem just as intent on steering every player they can into that market. Of course, that's where the big money is. Sex sells. Heard a discussion on political radio the other day about the traffic in Serena Williams pictures flying around the internet. The latest semi-nudes are quite popular, apparently. Of course Serena isn't a child. And you could argue that this proves that the profile of tennis is being raised, but there was virtually no discussion of tennis that radio program, just discussion, (bordering on prurient) of the latest internet traffic.

If you're the WTA, you gotta ask, how do I hype the sport, when a hundred times as muh money is being spent hyping the sex? Of course, it would help if the players could stay on the court. Every non-Russian elite player has spent half a year of more off the tour in the past three years. Hard to hype players no one can see play. And, from the perspective of the USA, the War in Iraq didn't help, since marketing French and Belgian players in the USA became a bit more difficult after our overthrow of the government there, and the opposition of the French and Belgian to that action. (Conversely, I'm sure it might have become a little tougher marketing Americans there, but I don't know one way or the other.)

As a marketing campaign 'Come our Events! Watch us on TV! The Girls are really Sexy!' seems ultimately doomed to failure.

It doesn't increase participation in the sport, and puts you in direct competition with the Playboy Channel, MTV and VH1, as opposed to women's basketball and the LPGA. IMHO, that's picking a much tougher fight. Of course, it's not the WTA that's doing that, it's the various agents. And their job is to maximize profits for their agency, not increase viewership or participation in tennis. Can't blame them for their focus, given that.

But from relatively obscure players like Ivanovic, to high profile players like the Serena, the off-court advertising focus doesn't seem to be on the game. I'm sure they sell a clot of clothes, but I'm not so sure they sell a lot of tennis. Maybe the WTA should invest in having the players put instructional videos on their websites or something.

Of course, if I were Jill-Genius-Marketer, I'd have already made Mauresmo and Henin-Hardenne superstars in the States.:) So maybe this is just my own boring thread, as opposed to posting in the other boring threads currently around.

Calimero377
Mar 28th, 2005, 03:45 PM
Thinking on the WTA's promotion of it's players, and the game, and the focus that hardcore fans (that would be us) have on players, I see a certain disconnect. And while I approve of the WTA's approach (the curent montage commercial for the WTA features most of the accomplished players (Dokic, Shaughnessy and Hantuchova all appear briefly, as well as the faces you'd expect), there's a clear disconnect with the focus of at least part of their fan base represented her.

There SEEM to be lot of people more interested in who's a) under 18, and b) going to do a lot of photo shoots, than they are in who's playing the best tennis. Of course, that may be more apparent than real. Any evidence is anecdotal. Just seem to be a lot of threads focused on that. But maybe they're all started by the same people.

The WTA seems, at least at the moment, intent of steering clear of the softcore child-porn market, but the agents seem just as intent on steering every player they can into that market. Of course, that's where the big money is. Sex sells. Heard a discussion on political radio the other day about the traffic in Serena Williams pictures flying around the internet. The latest semi-nudes are quite popular, apparently. Of course Serena isn't a child. And you could argue that this proves that the profile of tennis is being raised, but there was virtually no discussion of tennis that radio program, just discussion, (bordering on prurient) of the latest internet traffic.

If you're the WTA, you gotta ask, how do I hype the sport, when a hundred times as muh money is being spent hyping the sex? Of course, it would help if the players could stay on the court. Every non-Russian elite player has spent half a year of more off the tour in the past three years. Hard to hype players no one can see play. And, from the perspective of the USA, the War in Iraq didn't help, since marketing French and Belgian players in the USA became a bit more difficult after our overthrow of the government there, and the opposition of the French and Belgian to that action. (Conversely, I'm sure it might have become a little tougher marketing Americans there, but I don't know one way or the other.)

As a marketing campaign 'Come our Events! Watch us on TV! The Girls are really Sexy!' seems ultimately doomed to failure.

It doesn't increase participation in the sport, and puts you in direct competition with the Playboy Channel, MTV and VH1, as opposed to women's basketball and the LPGA. IMHO, that's picking a much tougher fight. Of course, it's not the WTA that's doing that, it's the various agents. And their job is to maximize profits for their agency, not increase viewership or participation in tennis. Can't blame them for their focus, given that.

But from relatively obscure players like Ivanovic, to high profile players like the Serena, the off-court advertising focus doesn't seem to be on the game. I'm sure they sell a clot of clothes, but I'm not so sure they sell a lot of tennis. Maybe the WTA should invest in having the players put instructional videos on their websites or something.

Of course, if I were Jill-Genius-Marketer, I'd have already made Mauresmo and Henin-Hardenne superstars in the States.:) So maybe this is just my own boring thread, as opposed to posting in the other boring threads currently around.

A rare bright moment in Volcana's GM career ...
:worship:

BK4ever
Mar 28th, 2005, 03:57 PM
That spot is terrible...it has no strategy and its edited badly. The WTA knows nothing about Marketing!

Greenout
Mar 28th, 2005, 04:04 PM
Great post Volcana. I totally agree with you. OMG! Me agree with
Williams fans? Have things come to this? We've become bedfellows! :eek:

No, all kidding aside. Good points and well written.
When has being in MAXIM suppose to be greater than reaching #1 in
a tennis player's career for their fans?

It's also unfair for these young tennis players too. People are already
doubting the Nicole's and Ana's of the tour simply because of the images
tossed out into the public eye. Alot of people use to like Maria; but the
constant "object of desire" leering by the media, the journalists, male
sports anchors have turned of legit tennis fans. Geez, she can play tennis
and already has won WIMBLEDON; but the other "stuff" has alienated many
erases all the positive real sporting achievements.

I personally do not think Larry Scott is some sort of marketing genius.
He's just bandwagon hopping and cheerleading the WTA tour.

rightous
Mar 28th, 2005, 04:06 PM
Volcana again another insightful post, i agree with all you say...BUT the WTAtour i guess feels that in the S-T it has to market what it thinks sells and sorry sexuality does, but I think that if it invested more money into Lindsay, Amilie, Justine, Kim, Elena D and others the rewards might be the same

griffin
Mar 28th, 2005, 04:16 PM
The WTA seems, at least at the moment, intent of steering clear of the softcore child-porn market, but the agents seem just as intent on steering every player they can into that market.

...

If you're the WTA, you gotta ask, how do I hype the sport, when a hundred times as muh money is being spent hyping the sex?

Or, if you're the WTA why bother hyping sex when the agents and sponsors are doing it for you? And hey, SOMEBODY needs to (try to) focus attention on the actual sport. What I don't get is why the WTA doesn't try harder to promote the women as athletes, and why they don't work more with the networks who broadcast the tourneys to do so.

Knizzle
Mar 28th, 2005, 04:18 PM
Who are you Volcana?? Public Enemy??

densuprun
Mar 28th, 2005, 04:37 PM
I think if the advertising focus was first and foremost on the game and if the players were dressed in clothes similar to WNBA (basketball) or LPGA (golf), the interest of the average fan would be elsewhere but not in the women's tennis. Casual tennis fans would watch male tennis much more than they do now (faster, stronger, more versatile game). As a result, women's tennis would be much less represented on TV, just like women's basketball (both at professional and college level) or golf.
Even if the girls were dressed just like they are know but were not promoted for their looks at all but only for their game, many casual fans would not know them, would not be interested to see them, would not tune in to watch the game, the ratings would fall and the TV coverage would be marginal.

shirgan
Mar 28th, 2005, 04:47 PM
Volcana, I agree with every word

Volcana
Mar 28th, 2005, 05:23 PM
Even if the girls were dressed just like they are know but were not promoted for their looks at all but only for their game, many casual fans would not know them, would not be interested to see them, would not tune in to watch the game, the ratings would fall and the TV coverage would be marginal.I'm not saying you're wrong, but do you realize you just described the current situation, despite the sexualization of the marketing focus? Casual fans, at least in the USA, don't know most of the players, haven't been tuning in to see them, ratings have fallen and TV coverage IS marginal.

Sometimes I think the best thing they could do is rig the draws so that impressive youngsters are given TV time in big events vs established ratings grabbers. I'll bet Shahar Peer won herself some fans yesterday, just as Daniela Hantuchova did playing Venus Williams on TV at the 2002 Australian Open. I mean fans who will tune in the next time, just to see her. Of course, we can't really rig the draws, but I live near New York City, and I guarantee you that an young Israeli tennis player with some real first strike capability will develop a fan base.

Same deal with Sania Mirza at OZ this year.

Williams vs Sharapova, or Williams vs Henin-Hardenne, OTOH, gets good ratings, but does it create new repeat viewers?

I was one of the people who bitched and moaned when Larry Scott got his job, but I have more appreciation for his difficulties now. The WTA doesn't come close to controlling the sport, and with so much more money in the sport from other sources, I don't think they ever will. Of course I've always felt I'd LOVE to run the marketing department at the WTA. But the closer you look, the tougher that job is. Tournaments all over the world. Tournament directors speaking 30 different languages. TV stations from all over the world. The ITF. IMG. Octagon. And players who get paid more from one, single endorsement than your annual budget.

Oh and some of your best players are minors, so you have to make nice to parents you'd much rather slap.

.ivy.
Mar 28th, 2005, 05:29 PM
Thinking on the WTA's promotion of it's players, and the game, and the focus that hardcore fans (that would be us) have on players, I see a certain disconnect. And while I approve of the WTA's approach (the curent montage commercial for the WTA features most of the accomplished players (Dokic, Shaughnessy and Hantuchova all appear briefly, as well as the faces you'd expect), there's a clear disconnect with the focus of at least part of their fan base represented her.

There SEEM to be lot of people more interested in who's a) under 18, and b) going to do a lot of photo shoots, than they are in who's playing the best tennis. Of course, that may be more apparent than real. Any evidence is anecdotal. Just seem to be a lot of threads focused on that. But maybe they're all started by the same people.

The WTA seems, at least at the moment, intent of steering clear of the softcore child-porn market, but the agents seem just as intent on steering every player they can into that market. Of course, that's where the big money is. Sex sells. Heard a discussion on political radio the other day about the traffic in Serena Williams pictures flying around the internet. The latest semi-nudes are quite popular, apparently. Of course Serena isn't a child. And you could argue that this proves that the profile of tennis is being raised, but there was virtually no discussion of tennis that radio program, just discussion, (bordering on prurient) of the latest internet traffic.

If you're the WTA, you gotta ask, how do I hype the sport, when a hundred times as muh money is being spent hyping the sex? Of course, it would help if the players could stay on the court. Every non-Russian elite player has spent half a year of more off the tour in the past three years. Hard to hype players no one can see play. And, from the perspective of the USA, the War in Iraq didn't help, since marketing French and Belgian players in the USA became a bit more difficult after our overthrow of the government there, and the opposition of the French and Belgian to that action. (Conversely, I'm sure it might have become a little tougher marketing Americans there, but I don't know one way or the other.)

As a marketing campaign 'Come our Events! Watch us on TV! The Girls are really Sexy!' seems ultimately doomed to failure.

It doesn't increase participation in the sport, and puts you in direct competition with the Playboy Channel, MTV and VH1, as opposed to women's basketball and the LPGA. IMHO, that's picking a much tougher fight. Of course, it's not the WTA that's doing that, it's the various agents. And their job is to maximize profits for their agency, not increase viewership or participation in tennis. Can't blame them for their focus, given that.

But from relatively obscure players like Ivanovic, to high profile players like the Serena, the off-court advertising focus doesn't seem to be on the game. I'm sure they sell a clot of clothes, but I'm not so sure they sell a lot of tennis. Maybe the WTA should invest in having the players put instructional videos on their websites or something.

Of course, if I were Jill-Genius-Marketer, I'd have already made Mauresmo and Henin-Hardenne superstars in the States.:) So maybe this is just my own boring thread, as opposed to posting in the other boring threads currently around.

I completely agree. Advertising for tennis is Maria Slutpova, on a billboard, with a short skirt on and a see through shirt. Great for a sleazy old man, not for me.

WTA needs some help with it's advertising.

veryborednow
Mar 28th, 2005, 05:38 PM
Random, I was thinking about this during one of my insomia episodes, because the advertising campaign the WTA ran last year was embarrassing. "She can't cook, but she can serve". Wow. And to think someone was paid to think that up.
Which got my onto thinking how on earth do these guy advertise women's tennis.
What makes women's tennis unique compared to (a) men's tennis and (b) other women's sports?
(1) The rivalries - women play each other far more often than the men do. You've got plenty of big draw games:
Serena vs. Venus
Serena vs. Jennifer
Jennifer vs. Justine
Maria vs. Serena
But using this method only highlights the established, Americanized (minus Justine) players who have a marketing value outside of the game. How the hell do you market say, Svetlana/Sprem/Eastern Europeans whose name your average Joe won't even be able to pronounce.

And so the only thing I could come up with was to rip off first the men's "new balls please" campaign with the "trainspotting" poster. Have 4 different players lined up, with a personality tag. Because the other thing people tune in for is the
(2) different personalities - especially because not everyone gets along.

And you could quite happily create some personas for the new players which marketers could then attach the name/game to. And then the WTA can sexualize those comfortable to, alongside those who aren't. Of course, in a perfect world the name/game would come first, but that's hard for reasons mentioned in other posts. And you could even attach the rivalries within that campaign [say:Jennifer/Justine/Serena/Maria poster] to give the more serious fans something to appreciate.

It's not perfect, but then I finally got to sleep...

http://adekerma.free.fr/Affiche/TRAINSPOTTING.jpg

harloo
Mar 28th, 2005, 05:38 PM
I think if the advertising focus was first and foremost on the game and if the players were dressed in clothes similar to WNBA (basketball) or LPGA (golf), the interest of the average fan would be elsewhere but not in the women's tennis. Casual tennis fans would watch male tennis much more than they do now (faster, stronger, more versatile game). As a result, women's tennis would be much less represented on TV, just like women's basketball (both at professional and college level) or golf.
Even if the girls were dressed just like they are know but were not promoted for their looks at all but only for their game, many casual fans would not know them, would not be interested to see them, would not tune in to watch the game, the ratings would fall and the TV coverage would be marginal.

:worship: I really don't even know why this is a discussion anymore. Women's sports will never be on par with Men's sports and we all know it. It would be nice if the sexualization of young female tennis prodigies was not exploited as the sole means of promotion, but SEX SELLS.

I really don't like the way the WTA promotes it's players but they do what they have to do. I don't want to go back where we only get to see a few games of a women's match and then they switch to men's tennis(even though it does not bother me much). So I say bring on the rivalries, bring on the sex kittens, and crank up the hype. :lol:

Their is no denying that without any of these things we would barely see any women's matches on tv. I know it's sad to say but that's just reality. As much as I would love to see the players promoted for their great games, athletic ability, and mental strength this is a forumla that would not work when attempting to attract new viewers.

Sharapova vs Williams AO 2005 semis was the highest rated tennis match ever on ESPN. We all know why, lets not even fool ourselves. ;)

densuprun
Mar 28th, 2005, 05:42 PM
I understand what you are saying, Volcana, and agree to some extent. However, I don't know exactly how the ratings have been changing over the last ten years or so. It would be interesting to see them, if only for the US. As I said, I don't know the numbers but my guess is that there was a peak of interest in tennis around 2000 which is partially due to the Anna phenomenon and partially due to the emergence of the two black superstars battling the white arrogant queen of tennis with a completely different game style. Both phenomena were unique in the history of women tennis and the ratings may be falling now because there is nothing as compelling right now. There may be nothing like that for a long time. The bottom line is that maybe, there are some objective reasons why the ratings are lower now than they were some time ago and these reasons may have nothing to do with the marketing.

Volcana
Mar 28th, 2005, 05:54 PM
The bottom line is that maybe, there are some objective reasons why the ratings are lower now than they were some time ago and these reasons may have nothing to do with the marketing.A cold shiver just ran down the backs of marketing people all over America. The worst nightmare of all. 'these reasons may have nothing to do with the marketing'

AAAAAAHHH!! Run away run away run away!!!:)

vogus
Mar 28th, 2005, 05:56 PM
Sex sells. .


That's true in the sense that all generalizations and clichees are true. But the real question is, WHOSE sex?? Justine Henin's? Megan Shaughnessy's? Nadya Petrova's? Chanda Rubin's? Of course not. They might be sexy, but their sex isn't selling. There are only a small number of players on the tour at any one time who are getting their "sexiness sold." Where does that leave the rest of the players on the tour?

densuprun
Mar 28th, 2005, 05:58 PM
:)
Are you one of the marketing people, Volcana?

Volcana
Mar 28th, 2005, 06:10 PM
:)
Are you one of the marketing people, Volcana?Yep. Gotta 'fess up. :) I'm not in sports marketing, though.
I really don't like the way the WTA promotes it's players but they do what they have to do.Actually, I don't have much problem with how the WTA markets the game. Their advertising isn't particularly sexualized, and those ads DO focus on the game. There's just a LOT of promotional money in the the sport the WTA doesn't control, far and away the majority, and that money almost universally goes into 'sex sells'.

LUIS9
Mar 28th, 2005, 06:14 PM
Well just to add a bit, women have always been objectified, its what men want to generally see on commercials(of course the dominant heterosexual culture that is), its nothing new and its what has worked in the past and continues to work today. Sexy women with sexy bodies wearing skimpy clothes is what sells, especially when having a beer in their hands or any sort of other object that hints on pleasure and sexual desires. I guess having women as objects makes them embody other objects that seem to excite and loosen us up. Nonetheless its quite degrading and patriarchal and to a certain point misogenous.

BUBI
Mar 28th, 2005, 06:15 PM
Sex sells and (unfortunately) I'm buying :help:

Not only in women's sports, it's the same thing in everything;

Anna Kournikova = Britney Spears

At least Anna was a better tennis player than Britney is a singer :tape:

vogus
Mar 28th, 2005, 06:21 PM
again; not everybody's sex sells. Merely repeating that clichee ad infinitum, doesn't tell the whole story of why we like women's tennis.

Fingon
Mar 28th, 2005, 06:26 PM
First, the agents are not stupid. Agencies like IMG are not behind short term profits. They have invested in players like Masha a long time ago, they have put a lot of money and effort and it could have gone wrong, in many cases it has happened (eg Mirjana Lucic). So, they don't want just a few good hits, it's in their best interest that women's tennis becomes more popular.

And, it's not always the agents, as far as I know, Serena makes her own decisions, and she is one of the ones that has used sex the most as a marketing tool (catsuit, two pieces, see throughs), so I don't think you can blame the agents on that.

It seems it's a shot at Ivanovic,.

I don't really see a problem to use sex to market, they all do that, sex sells whether you like it or not, do you think all Britney Spears fans like her because of her voice? Sexually attractive women, and to a lesser extent men, are used to promote all kind of products, from movies to songs, sports, clothes, even cars. Should the car's company focus in the car's features rather than showing an attractive woman that is picked up because the car is co cool?

It's certainly better that the dreadful "get in touch with your feminine side" wta ads.

To think that players like Ivanovic, Sharapova or Serena would stop marketing themselves to promote the "tour" as an sport is at best naive. Of course they will, and must think of themselves, after all, the marketers in the wta are not really the sharpest knives in the draw are they?

And really, if the goal is to compete against women's basketball, then they should just give it up. Women's tennis remains the most popular women's sport, it is a fact that women's sports are not as popular as male sports.

You are not comparing the WNBA with the NBA are you? The difference in popularity and marketing power between male sports (basketball, soccer, baseball, football) is so huge that there is no point in trying to change that, it aint happening, it's like fighting an 800 pounds gorilla.

But the women can use what they have, and that's their sex-appeal, surely not all girls can do that, tough luck, life sucks but that's how the maket work, pretty faces sell, ugly ones like myself need to use their brain.

They should certainly try to maker the wta along with the atp, tennis as a whole, with variety, fits all tastes. Great talent like Federer or Justine, athletism, controversy, and yes, pretty faces like Ivanovic or Sharapova, or Roddick (i have no idea if he is sexy but they try to market him as it).

Bottom line, the WTA has no control on what the players do, they don't work for the wta, the wta works for them (or should), and the agents are not creating a sex driven market, the sex driven market is there, and it's there to stay, whether the puritans like it or not, and if they wannabe marketers insist in ignoring it they will always be wannabes.

densuprun
Mar 28th, 2005, 06:42 PM
Great post.

Volcana
Mar 28th, 2005, 07:01 PM
again; not everybody's sex sells. Merely repeating that clichee ad infinitum, doesn't tell the whole story of why we like women's tennis.Of course not. As for why marketing certain players as sex objects works better than marketing other, it's almost a template. There's a kind of virtual pop star template, and when you get somebody who comes close to fitting, you shoe-horn them the rest of the way in, and start making money. Every now and again, something new comes along. So the marketing department creates a new template, sticks in the 'template search machine', and goes on about it's business.



I heard Dustin Hoffman explain this in shorthand a long time ago, when explaining the movie star business. It has four stages.Who's Dustine Hoffman?
Get me Dustin Hoffman!
Get me a Dustin Hoffman type!
Who's Dustin Hoffman?

Every now and then, somebody comes along with bit more longevity, but by and large, celebrity is a 'hare today, goon tomorrow' kind of world. But hey, the players do what they need to for money, the agents do what they need to do. The WTA has a sport to grow, and significantly less than endless resources. I wish there was a way the could ensure to every top fifty player one nationally televised match a year. The WTA needs to be creative, if they want to further popularize the sport, as opposed to the players.


Getting back to your question 'Where does that leave the rest of the players?' Well, playing for bigger prize money than they would otherwise be. Competing with each other for smaller scale endorsements. The WTA advertising I've seen does try to focus on the athlete, and on a wide variety of players. But Aneres may have a bigger advertising, let alone Nike.

Again, if the WTA wants further up the sports food chain, they have to get creative. Okay, Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NFL, Figure Skating, and NASCAR are probably out of reach. So is men's college basketball in March.

But hockey just committed suicide, men's college basketball isn't nearly as popular the BEFORE March, and NASCAR is ..... okay, now I'm over-reaching. NASCAR's probably the best model, but they sure aren't a target yet. There's a window right now, to raise the profile of the sport. And tennis at the height of it's popularity (the 70's) WASN'T using sex to sell itself. Of course, they had Chris Evert, BJK and feminism. We don't have the functional equivalent of any of those now.

Do me a favor vogus. Expand on your point a bit.

Veenut
Mar 28th, 2005, 07:17 PM
I think it is such a tragedy to portray girls at such a young age as sex objects. The lesson they are learning is not a healthy one as they are trying to find their own identity at this age and if your self-worth is based on your "sexy image" then expect problems later. The young girls who are not portrayed in this way should count their blessings because from my observation those who concentrated on their tennis first in the long run enjoy a better career than the others.

I have no problems with consenting adults making their own decision to go this route but parents should never consent to minors being used in this manner. There is a reason why there is a age limit for consenting to sex. Cultivating these girls for the desire and pleasure of men is wrong. They should be given the chance to develop their own identity and if they so desire later to capitalize on any aspect of thier life so be it!!

"Topaz"
Mar 28th, 2005, 07:34 PM
:yawn: :yawn:
In Canada, we get nothing, ...neither the tennis nor the sex :lol: . Completely, nada. Well, we do get the Slams and a couple of other tourneys :tape: including of course "Canadian Open".

Piotr'ek
Mar 28th, 2005, 07:35 PM
Bill Goldberg allways say 'believe the hype' :p

Fingon
Mar 28th, 2005, 07:40 PM
I think it is such a tragedy to portray girls at such a young age as sex objects. The lesson they are learning is not a healthy one as they are trying to find their own identity at this age and if your self-worth is based on your "sexy image" then expect problems later. The young girls who are not portrayed in this way should count their blessings because from my observation those who concentrated on their tennis first in the long run enjoy a better career than the others.

I have no problems with consenting adults making their own decision to go this route but parents should never consent to minors being used in this manner. There is a reason why there is a age limit for consenting to sex. Cultivating these girls for the desire and pleasure of men is wrong. They should be given the chance to develop their own identity and if they so desire later to capitalize on any aspect of thier life so be it!!

you should stop thinking that the US rules are the rules for the whole world.

17 is weay above the consent age in many european countries.

what is unhealthy is not selling a sexy image, what is unhealthy is repressing it. It's unhealthy that they make a big fuss for a singer showing her tits but they are ok with showing burnt bodies as a result of a misplaced bomb.

There are many countries that see sex from a more liberal perspective and they are actually quite healthy societies, such as Holland or Denmark.

I hate, I repeat, I hate puritanism, it's the biggest hypocrissy going on in the world, they want to make us robots

mishar
Mar 28th, 2005, 07:48 PM
I agree with some of the points here about putting the emphasis on sport rather than sex.

But I think it should be pointed out that WTA (and Larry Scott) is on a sounder financial footing than ever before. Their deal with Sony is a huge advance, financially and organizationally. Everyone would like tennis to be more popular, but financially speaking this is the best thing to ever happen to women's tennis.

Secondly, I did read that the Serena-Sharapova was the highest rated tennis program on ESPN ever.. at least women's tennis I can't remember which.. so I don't think it's true that ratings are falling. I mean, I hate ESPN's coverage as much as anyone, but it has expanded over the last few years, in addition to the Tennis Channel.

Volcana
Mar 28th, 2005, 07:54 PM
so I don't think it's true that ratings are falling. I mean, I hate ESPN's coverage as much as anyone, but it has expanded over the last few years, in addition to the Tennis Channel.In saying rating were falling, I was really comparing 2004 to 2001-2. And 2000-2004 against the 1970's. I don't have enough of the 2005 ratings to make an accurate assessment of how the year is going.

But I don't think you ca measure by marquee matchups. Serena-Sharapova was virtually a made-for-TV match. Best active player vs player-who-beat-her-in-Wimbledon-final.

How are the ratings for Molik vs Myskina? Or even better Mauresmo-Davnport? If #1 vs #2 isn't producing the big number, you've got a problem.

And I completely concede Larry Scott has been head-and-shoulders better than I expected.

vogus
Mar 28th, 2005, 07:57 PM
Do me a favor vogus. Expand on your point a bit.


It isn't that long ago that the standard marketing view in women's tennis was basically "well we've got this really hot blonde Russian chick Kournikova who is far and away our biggest attraction, we've also got Barbara Schett who is like an assistant hot blonde chick, we've got Hingis who isn't really that hot but she's our #1 player, she loves glam, and if we dress her up she can play the part, we've got these two kick-ass hot sisters Venus and Serena with huge appeal in black America who can get lots of coverage on major sports channels, and we've got Dr J's daughter who is really hip. And pretty much all the rest of our players are a bunch of dogs and lesbo's who nobody is interested in."

This was a ridiculous strategy, but the WTA seemed happy to ride the wave (driven by the management companies) for as long as it would go. They figured that if Kournikova flamed out, some other hot blonde chick would come along to take her place. And it turns out that they were right. But this kind of disregard for the players not on the short "sex sells" list (and i grant you that the situation has improved quite a bit from 5 years ago) continues to take away from the intrinsic value of the sport. Because tennis, and specifically women's tennis, is valuable purely as a sport, when it is being played well, regardless of the "Q" or "hot" rating of the women who are on the court. Correct me if i'm wrong, but that's why hardcore people like you and me and a couple hundred others are here - for the value and the beauty we see in the sport as whole, and not because we are obsessed with the relatively few celebrities who play it.

Volcana
Mar 28th, 2005, 07:59 PM
I have no problems with consenting adults making their own decision to go this route but parents should never consent to minors being used in this manner.I tend to agree with you. Not completely, but 'tend'. However, maybe their parents are simply realists, and believe that, in teaching their daughters that sexuality is a tool for profit and control, they're simply making sure their daughters learn an important truth, and profit from it.

Bear in mind, I don't AGREE with that assessment of the world, but that alone doesn't make it invalid.

mishar
Mar 28th, 2005, 08:01 PM
I think injuries have hurt the WTA as much as anything in recent years. The Williams sisters have obviously brought a lot of attention to women's tennis, but their injuries, and then the injuries to the Belgians, have taken away having the consistent top names at the top. If everyone stays healthy it could be a really good time -- so many potentially interesting rivalries.

Volcana
Mar 28th, 2005, 10:54 PM
It isn't that long ago that the standard marketing view in women's tennis was basically "well we've got this really hot blonde Russian chick Kournikova who is far and away our biggest attraction, we've also got Barbara Schett who is like an assistant hot blonde chick, we've got Hingis who isn't really that hot but she's our #1 player, she loves glam, and if we dress her up she can play the part, we've got these two kick-ass hot sisters Venus and Serena with huge appeal in black America who can get lots of coverage on major sports channels, and we've got Dr J's daughter who is really hip. And pretty much all the rest of our players are a bunch of dogs and lesbo's who nobody is interested in."

This was a ridiculous strategy, but the WTA seemed happy to ride the wave (driven by the management companies) for as long as it would go. They figured that if Kournikova flamed out, some other hot blonde chick would come along to take her place. And it turns out that they were right. But this kind of disregard for the players not on the short "sex sells" list (and i grant you that the situation has improved quite a bit from 5 years ago) continues to take away from the intrinsic value of the sport. Because tennis, and specifically women's tennis, is valuable purely as a sport, when it is being played well, regardless of the "Q" or "hot" rating of the women who are on the court. Correct me if i'm wrong, but that's why hardcore people like you and me and a couple hundred others are here - for the value and the beauty we see in the sport as whole, and not because we are obsessed with the relatively few celebrities who play it.VERY well put. Especially
'this kind of disregard for the players not on the short "sex sells" list ... continues to take away from the intrinsic value of the sport.'
Of course, it's not the WTA itself that's doing the disregarding, and they can't control the choices the players make about marketing. Nav was right. We need to blow the whole thing up and start all over again.

Veenut
Mar 29th, 2005, 05:53 PM
It isn't that long ago that the standard marketing view in women's tennis was basically "well we've got this really hot blonde Russian chick Kournikova who is far and away our biggest attraction, we've also got Barbara Schett who is like an assistant hot blonde chick, we've got Hingis who isn't really that hot but she's our #1 player, she loves glam, and if we dress her up she can play the part, we've got these two kick-ass hot sisters Venus and Serena with huge appeal in black America who can get lots of coverage on major sports channels, and we've got Dr J's daughter who is really hip. And pretty much all the rest of our players are a bunch of dogs and lesbo's who nobody is interested in."

This was a ridiculous strategy, but the WTA seemed happy to ride the wave (driven by the management companies) for as long as it would go. They figured that if Kournikova flamed out, some other hot blonde chick would come along to take her place. And it turns out that they were right. But this kind of disregard for the players not on the short "sex sells" list (and i grant you that the situation has improved quite a bit from 5 years ago) continues to take away from the intrinsic value of the sport. Because tennis, and specifically women's tennis, is valuable purely as a sport, when it is being played well, regardless of the "Q" or "hot" rating of the women who are on the court. Correct me if i'm wrong, but that's why hardcore people like you and me and a couple hundred others are here - for the value and the beauty we see in the sport as whole, and not because we are obsessed with the relatively few celebrities who play it.

You are not one of my fav posters but I must admit that you do make very valid points here. :)

Veenut
Mar 29th, 2005, 06:14 PM
you should stop thinking that the US rules are the rules for the whole world.

17 is weay above the consent age in many european countries.

what is unhealthy is not selling a sexy image, what is unhealthy is repressing it. It's unhealthy that they make a big fuss for a singer showing her tits but they are ok with showing burnt bodies as a result of a misplaced bomb.

There are many countries that see sex from a more liberal perspective and they are actually quite healthy societies, such as Holland or Denmark.

I hate, I repeat, I hate puritanism, it's the biggest hypocrissy going on in the world, they want to make us robots

I have nothing against selling sex, but I do have a big problem with preying on young impressionable girls. In no society I think it is healthy to teach young girls that their selfworth is their sex appeal. We are dealing with human beings here and not commodities. There are so many human tragedies around when teens are bambarded in this way. It usually seem fine in the short run but in later years it usually backfires.

sartrista7
Mar 29th, 2005, 06:28 PM
I have nothing against selling sex, but I do have a big problem with preying on young impressionable girls. In no society I think it is healthy to teach young girls that their selfworth is their sex appeal. We are dealing with human beings here and not commodities. There are so many human tragedies around when teens are bambarded in this way. It usually seem fine in the short run but in later years it usually backfires.

I think the key difference is between a woman (young or not) expressing her sexuality as an individual, and a woman (young or not) being forced into a sexual mould which others (older men) have created for her. Fingon is right about puritanism, but unfortunately that doesn't apply to the WTA Tour as it is marketed nowadays. When I see Sharapova's advertising campaigns, I don't see them as photos of a young woman using her sex appeal to express herself - I see a young woman who's been handed a bunch of skimpy clothes by the middle-aged suits at Nike, and who's being told by the cameraman to spread her legs just a little bit wider. It's hardly uncommon, but it's a little creepy. Anyone remember that 'dress' Ashley Harkleroad wore at the US Open when she was 16? In her interview afterwards, she essentially said that she wanted to wear a different one, but Nike told her to wear that one because it was so low-cut.

It's very different to Serena sexualising herself - sure, the WTA are running with her bootylicious image, but you get the feeling she's definitely the one who created it and, to an extent, controls it. Similarly, there's nothing wrong with adverts showing eg Venus/Nastya looking hot, because neither of them are considered traditionally (heterosexist) beauties, so the WTA barely bothers to promote them on those grounds.

BUBI
Mar 29th, 2005, 06:43 PM
....

There are so many human tragedies around when teens are bambarded in this way. It usually seem fine in the short run but in later years it usually backfires.
Could you give any examples of this in tennis?

SJW
Mar 29th, 2005, 06:44 PM
I think the key difference is between a woman (young or not) expressing her sexuality as an individual, and a woman (young or not) being forced into a sexual mould which others (older men) have created for her. Fingon is right about puritanism, but unfortunately that doesn't apply to the WTA Tour as it is marketed nowadays. When I see Sharapova's advertising campaigns, I don't see them as photos of a young woman using her sex appeal to express herself - I see a young woman who's been handed a bunch of skimpy clothes by the middle-aged suits at Nike, and who's being told by the cameraman to spread her legs just a little bit wider. It's hardly uncommon, but it's a little creepy. Anyone remember that 'dress' Ashley Harkleroad wore at the US Open when she was 16? In her interview afterwards, she essentially said that she wanted to wear a different one, but Nike told her to wear that one because it was so low-cut.

It's very different to Serena sexualising herself - sure, the WTA are running with her bootylicious image, but you get the feeling she's definitely the one who created it and, to an extent, controls it. Similarly, there's nothing wrong with adverts showing eg Venus/Nastya looking hot, because neither of them are considered traditionally (heterosexist) beauties, so the WTA barely bothers to promote them on those grounds.

i agree completely ;)

sartrista7
Mar 29th, 2005, 06:49 PM
I should point out that it's not about Sharapova's age, either - Tatiana Golovin's short shorts are fabulous, she's been wearing them since before even the agents got hold of her and she clearly loves flaunting herself at the teenage boys. You can't blame her, either ;) Whereas Barbara Schett was never comfortable in the sex kitten role.

Oddly, Daniela Hantuchova is one who used to look very awkward whenever the WTA made her dress up, but lately she's been wearing very individual, distinctive clothes which are also very revealing, but she seems a lot more comfortable in them these days.