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View Full Version : Why there's more focus and prize money on Men's tennis?


maccardel
Mar 16th, 2002, 01:12 AM
I'm researching for this article and came to the conclusion that more money is spent on men's tennis because the names of top players are many and only a handful for the women's. In many top tourneys there's always the predictable rd 16-finals for women's draws(counting major tourneys only) and for men it's anything can happen with a lot of superstar match-ups starting in rd 2.

One reason for this is the amount of top tourneys played each week. Sometimes the Atp has two-three top tourneys featuring top stars in all of them while the Wta never has two tier Is in the same week or even two tier IIs.

This will be better for the tour because players ca n have a better choice of tourneys. It won't be a bad idea to have one tier I in europe and one in U.S. This will give players like Alexandra or upcoming players to really step out and shine instead of every top tourney there's the same suspects.

Having a tier I tourney with stars spread out makes it even more compelling when they all come together at lets say, Indian Wells or Nasdaq. For instance, if Alexandra Stevenson was playing the tourneys in Europe and moving up the rankings at a rapid pace, then it'll be interesting when she collide with the other player who she'd never played before, who was also moving up the ranking at a steady pace.

Therefore rivalries and interest in their play will be formed and it'll increase the fan base for the sport.

What the Atp has done is created several rivalries and along the way have several names to carry the tour. Some may think that it's spreading the sport too thin but it has helped the Atp market its product and increase their fan base while increasing their pockets.

The Wta may have a product that's hot but it's not available on the market. And when the product is available, it's never fresh. Expect the same match-ups over and over again.


It was refreshing to see a Lisa Raymond- Alexandra Stevenson instead of the Williams-Capriati final in Scottsdale. Despite a good performance. the Raymand/Stevenson final produced a much needed dose of tennis and curiosity. It brought back the fond memories of a sport where anything can happen and a lost is not given because of injury but rather missed opportunity.

Volcana
Mar 16th, 2002, 02:53 PM
More popularity = more focus and more prize money

Why?

Men's basketball is more popular than women's basketball. Men's world cup is more popular than women's world cup.
Men's golf is more popular than women's golf.

a) Most sports fans are men, and most men don't take women's sports very seriously.

b) By and large, the level of athleticism among the men is higher. An elite college men's basketball team will usually beat an elite women's pro team. The #200 man can beat the #1 woman. The men are bigger, stronger and faster, and in athletics, that makes a difference.

c) Most of the advertising money for TV sports comes from companies marketing to guys. Beer, sports equipment, pain remedies for aging 'weekend warriors'. They only advertise during sports programs they think their core audience, guys.

The only two sports I can think of where the woemn are more popular than the men figure skating and billiards.

Billiards - I can't explain. (Women stroking long poles? :))

Figure skating - Even on the men's side, as much about aesthetics as athletics.

All the cat-fight stuff makes headlines, but the viewership is up for women's tennis becasue they are running faster and hitting harder. Tennis is, ultimately, an athletic endeavour. Right now, the tour has the highest level of athlaticism it has ever had. And the biggest stars in the game; Williams, Capriati, Hingis, are also the best athletes. (Hingis is an EXTREMELY good athlete, and a very natural one. She just desn't hit the ball all that hard.)

veryborednow
Mar 16th, 2002, 02:59 PM
Another sport where females are more popular than men.

Gymnastics...

Bright Red
Mar 16th, 2002, 04:02 PM
I still don't get it (or rather don't want to accept it). Women's tennis shouldn't have to take back seat. I like it so much more than the men's.

veryborednow
Mar 16th, 2002, 04:06 PM
why? I think that's an important:

1) Characters - people keep going on about it. But it definately helps.

2) Returns are better than serve - so we don't have to sit through the serve shitfests of Ivanisavic vs. Rusedski.


any more....?

Bright Red
Mar 16th, 2002, 04:09 PM
Originally posted by veryborednow
why? I think that's an important:

1) Characters - people keep going on about it. But it definately helps.

2) Returns are better than serve - so we don't have to sit through the serve shitfests of Ivanisavic vs. Rusedski.


any more....?

VBN,

Why what?

veryborednow
Mar 16th, 2002, 04:13 PM
sorry got lost halfway through the question.

Why do companies/management not see womens tennis as marketable. With their input surely the prise money would increase, right?

The positive aspects of the womens game outways the men, and I was trying to think of as many examples of that as possible, but could only think of 2 at the moment.

Bright Red
Mar 16th, 2002, 04:17 PM
Got it, and I agree with you.

ty, VBN.

"Topaz"
Mar 16th, 2002, 05:05 PM
But this has gone too far. Here in Toronto (Canada), there hasn't been any women's tennis on TV for more than a month. I was amazed to find out this morning that the men's final will be televised on Sunday at 1:30 pm, while the women's final for the same tournament will be completely bypassed. For a WTA fan, this can be devastating.

By the way, this is my first post. I've been a long time viewer of this board and the old Sanex one, and I've just decided to join the talk. Hi everyone!

veryborednow
Mar 16th, 2002, 05:10 PM
hey :wavey: welcome :)

The wta need to do is hire some kind of PR company to help them.
Maybe they could get more exposure that way

Bright Red
Mar 16th, 2002, 05:29 PM
What puzzles me are the mixed messages I get from the media. For example, the women's USO 2001 Final received prime time coverage, but the earlier women's matches (including the top players) sometimes got back seat treatment to "no name" men's matches. Additionally, there's a lot of talk about the popularity of women's tennis and how it surpasses the men's (see Sports Illustrated, for example), yet we see little or no TV coverage of the lesser tournies. I think one of the biggest insult is that when you go to the sports sections of some of the internet search engines, the mens stories nearly always take precedent over the womens, and if you go to the ranking section, it's assumed you want the men's ranking instead of the womens. It's almost as if there's a sexist attitude that seems to prevail as far as coverage goes.

I think that there should be a greater demarcation between the two sports. Other sports, such as basketball, don't seem to have this problem. As long as there are men's an women's matches played at the same tourney, then the boring men will receive the lion's share of coverage - TV, Internet, radio, etc., and the only way for us to get our proper fill will be to actually attend the tournament.

Bright Red
Mar 16th, 2002, 05:37 PM
I forgot to add that it really bothers me. It seems like the women bring the excitement and pull in a lot of fans to the tournaments and the TV sets, and then the media takes advantage of the opportunity by trying to force feed us the mens matches, almost as if trying to artificially boost the popularity of their side. I would love for the women to never play the same tournaments as the men. Let the men stand on their own.

Brian Stewart
Mar 16th, 2002, 06:01 PM
One word: bigotry

The corporations are run by men. Upper income, conservative men. These guys simply refuse to back women's sports. Even when presented with reams of data telling them why they should, they refuse.

The US is the biggest market for tennis, in terms of TV dollars. When it comes to TV ratings, the women's game clobbers the men's here. At Oz, the women's final was the highest rated tennis telecast on ESPN in over 20 years. (Since the days when TV choices consisted of 3 broadcast networks and literally a handful of cable channels.)
Women's tennis overall is drawing great ratings. Judging from the last numbers I saw, they are neck-and-neck with men's college basketball. (They may even be ahead.) Even matches without American women or Kournikova or Hingis get decent numbers. Contrast that with the men's field, where only Agassi, Sampras, and to a lesser extent, Roddick, draw any decent numbers. And 2 of those guys are near the end of the line. Which would be a wiser investment for a sponsor?

A great strength the women's game has is the consistency of their top players. In any main tournament, there's a good chance of stars, or at least familiar names, making the later rounds. For an unknown to come through, odds are she'll have to beat some significant folks along the way.

Contrary to what media poobahs say about how great it is to have "unpredictability" and "new winners", the facts indicate otherwise. The NFL's free agency/salary cap situation has manufactured parity. A team at the top one year could be at the bottom a couple of years later. While the talking heads drone on about how great it is because more teams have a chance, and it "creates more excitement", the TV ratings are down. Significantly. Sports fans like a basic comfort level. They like having top guns for the others to shoot for. Obviously it wouldn't be good to have the same teams/players winning for a long time, but fans prefer an orderly transition. The new "kings (or queens) of the hill" should get there by deposing the previous monarchs. It gives a legitimacy to it.

Women's tennis still has that, even though there are more great players at the top. For some newcomer to get to the top of the game, she's going to have to beat the top players to get there. There's a sense of her having "earned it".

As support of my original supposition (bias), I take you back to Wimbledon. The AELTC has a bunch of excuses for not giving the women equal prize money. But, at one press conference, Nicole Pratt put them on the spot. She asked point blank what would the women have to do to merit receiving equal prize money at Wimbledon? A very fair question. After all, if you're running the show, and you don't feel the women merit equal prize money, then there should be some legit reasons behind it. Is it the 3 sets vs 5 sets? TV ratings? Attendance at matches? Fan opinion? Whatever the reasons are, they must involve some conditions. So what are they?

But the gent from the AELTC gave no answer. That's because they had no legit answer. If they say it's the number of sets, the women could offer to play best of 5. (And have on numerous occasions.) If it's TV ratings, then data could be gathered. Likewise, independent polls could determine true fan opinions. The AELTC didn't present their conditions, because conditions can be met. They don't want to set forth anything that can be met. The truth of the matter is that Wimbledon doesn't give women equal prize money because they don't want to, not because of any outside factors. It's just plain and simple bias.

Look at what NBC just did. They signed a deal to televise Arena football next spring, to fill in the hours left open by the loss of the NBA. When asked why they went for the Arena league, whose ratings are below even that of the MLS, NBC said it was because it was the only thing available. But we know that there are numerous women's tennis tournaments available for telecast. Yet NBC never once considered a women's tennis package. Even though you could literally pick 2 players out of the top 100 at random and draw higher ratings than Arena football.

ESPN has gone on record saying they "wouldn't pay any rights fees" for women's tennis. Yet how much crap do they televise that gets only a fraction of the ratings of women's tennis? And how many times have you sat through SportsCenter hoping for some women's tennis scores, only to be denied? Yet they find time to show some drunk dancing in the stands somewhere. It's because they don't want to show women's tennis. Pure bias.

I'd love to see someone do an investigative report on the different sponsors, and find out where their dollars are going (and why). And then compare how well their sponsored sports are meeting their desired demographics to how well women's tennis would meet them. But don't hold your breath waiting on any of the networks to do it.