PDA

View Full Version : How can the WTA effectively market the sport? Rather than it's stars?


Volcana
Mar 6th, 2007, 05:52 PM
It SEEMS to me that men's tennis is driven by the sport itself, rather than the popularity of any individual player. Haas vs Davydenko gets a decent US TV audience. Ratings for women's tennis slip if you don't have one of the Williams sisters,and tank altogether if you also don't have two of Sharapova, Clijsters, Henin or Hingis. This has been a problem for years. The popularity of women's tennis dropped like a rock when Chris Evert retired.

And of course, the WTA is a lot smaller entity than a television network. Their ability to affect change is limited.

I guess I'm basically asking, 'how do you sell the sport, NOT the players?'

Corswandt
Mar 6th, 2007, 05:54 PM
How can the WTA effectively market the sport? Rather than it's stars?

Its

Brian Stewart
Mar 7th, 2007, 07:13 AM
In what dimension does Haas vs Davydenko get anything remotely resembling a "decent" US TV audience? I've seen quite the reverse from your premise in recent years. Agassi plays, men's tennis gets great ratings. Roddick produces fairly decent ratings. Anyone else, and the ratings plummet. Look at the US Open in the last few years. Last year's final on the men's side was Federer vs Roddick, which is as appealing matchup as men's tennis can have for a US audience. The match spilled over into prime time. Do you know what that segment of the match drew in prime time? A 2.0. This on the night with the biggest viewing pool of the week by far. Even the oft-criticized Kuznetsova/Dementieva match drew more viewers, and on Saturday night, which has by far the smallest viewing pool of the week.

Look at the ratings for regular non-slam events. All of those telecasts do not include stars. Some will have just other players. Yet, on cable channels, women's tennis pulls in an average rating about the same as regular season men's college basketball. (Coincidently, men's tennis pulls in roughly the same ratings as regular season women's college basketball.) So the evidence is that, contrary to your supposition, it's the ratings for men's tennis that are far more dependent on "star power". And even worse is, with the departure of Agassi, there are no "superstars" on the men's side (as far as the American viewing public is concerned). Why do you think ESPN let the French Open rights go? They like to heavily televise men's tennis during the first week of slams, and this is the one major where the American men (the only male players who could potentially appeal to viewers) are virtually guaranteed an early exit.

And as for your statement closing your first paragaph, that is absolutely untrue. It was forecast, but didn't happen. The WTA had never drawn more than 2.5 million fans in a season before Evert retired. The first year post-Evert, which saw the arrival of Capriati and the emergence of Seles and Sabatini as slam winners, saw attendance jump to 3 million, and it's climbed steadily since. (Now, 3 million fans would be considered a disaster.) Also, the popularity of the sport of tennis as a whole bottomed out in 1986. Women's tennis grew since then, and in 1994 passed men's tennis in popularity in the US (and has only stretched their lead since). In 1999, the bromide "but the men are more popular in Europe" went by the wayside, meaning that before the new millenium even dawned, women's tennis was drawing bigger viewership numbers in North America, Europe, and Asia. (Basically the biggest markets available.)

What's more, ratings reports have contradicted what you put forth in your opening paragraph. Basically, they showed that men's tennis was far more dependent on "stars" (at least, to the national audience) than women's tennis. Moya, Corretja, or another Spaniard playing? Ratings in Spain went up. No Spaniards? Ratings in Spain plummeted. Haas or Kiefer playing? Good ratings in Germany. No Germans, and you got bad ratings in Germany.

Now, this is not to say that national ratings don't jump for women when a national plays. However, the women have more players with crossover appeal, who draw ratings everywhere. And when there are no superstars, and no nationals, the women still get respectable ratings. There isn't the drastic falloff that you see with men's ratings.

Why this occurs, I couldn't say. I've only read the reports of the ratings; I haven't seen, say, the type of promotion the networks do in other countries. Are European broadcasters as nationalistic as Americans? Over here we went through a whole decade of rah-rah jingoism while Sampras, Agassi, and co. ruled the roost, and were told that only Americans mattered. The public accepted that-- but only for men's tennis. Since the cheerleading was being done during men's matches, perhaps the public just made that connection. And then on the women's side, they moved back to the normal mode of accepting stars regardless of nationality (like they used to in the days of Borg, Lendl, Becker, Edberg, etc., until our media screwed things up.)

Now, moving on to the question asked, let's start with a basic premise. Would you all agree that, when it comes to deciding whether to watch a match, viewers are most likely to be enticed by (in descending order):
1. Superstar players
2. Star players
3. Familiar players (ones whose names have been heard often)

Now, if we accept that premise, what we have to do next is boost the number of players the public will watch. Categories 1 and 2 are basically out because, as has been shown time and again, you can't manufacture a Superstar, or to most extents, a Star. You can try, but if they don't deliver, the public won't accept them. (Just like you can't manufacture a rivalry. It either happens or it doesn't.)

That leaves category 3. Familiar names. How do you create familiarity? By making sure the public has heard the names repeatedly. What's the best way to do that? I'll fall back on one of my old ideas-- get them on SportsCenter (and shows of that ilk). Now, we've seen that, left to their own devices, ESPN won't give WTA results. Only once in a blue moon, when there's a big match between players the public already knows. So what the tour needs to do is use some of that sponsorship money (it certainly isn't going into prize money) to sponsor a nightly "tennis report" on SportsCenter. Get the scores (and thus, the players' names) on every night. If people hear a name repeatedly, they'll get to know it. I can attest to that, as I know the names of far more golfers, auto racers, basketball or hockey players than I would ever care to, simply because I hear them over and over. There's no reason the WTA can't do this. There's no reason why, in any given week, the public will at least have a passing familiarity with 90% of the top 30.

Then, start expanding the tennis report to include short features on some of the more interesting characters on tour. Or show several players doing charitable work, or visiting hospitals. Let the public see the positive, the interesting, the quirky.

Once you've created a more widespread familiarity, then you can proceed with other marketing efforts. But start with building name recognition, and move on to showing the personalities behind the names, and then go from there. The NFLPA has a good promo going on-- "1800 players. 1800 stories." There are a lot of interesting stories in tennis. If the networks won't tell them, buy the time on the most popular sports shows and tell them yourself. We get a lot of amusement from some of these stories. So will the public at large.

And the tour could also do a "stealth" campaign. Many TV producers resort to product placement to offset costs. Tennis is a product. Place it. Pay the producers of a "cool" show to have their characters watching tennis matches, and rooting for or talking about these players. Stick a Schiavone poster on someone's wall. Put WTA clothing on a key character. Try to get in with the cool crowd, if only by osmosis.

That's just a couple of suggestions. Someone with a more extensive background in economics can come up with something better. Any of our suggestions would work better than what the tour currently isn't doing.

frontier
Mar 7th, 2007, 09:58 AM
most of these girls dont understand that they are also responsible for their marketing,but unfortunately most ofthem come from impoverished areas and dont have the money to hire a pr team and to make matters worse many of them dont speak english .
most of them dont know how to entertain,they bash the ball like robots thats all.tennis needs larger than life personalities like serena not to just market pova like she is the sole player,give pova tough draws like everybody so that everybody will understand whether the hype is deserved or not.

A Potential
Mar 7th, 2007, 10:29 AM
most of these girls dont understand that they are also responsible for their marketing,but unfortunately most ofthem come from impoverished areas and dont have the money to hire a pr team and to make matters worse many of them dont speak english .
most of them dont know how to entertain,they bash the ball like robots thats all.tennis needs larger than life personalities like serena not to just market pova like she is the sole player,give pova tough draws like everybody so that everybody will understand whether the hype is deserved or not.

But most people who attend the tournaments don’t care if the hype is deserved or not. It doesn’t really matter what way they play because the majority of people who attend Women’s matches don’t care. They’re not there to watch the tennis in the main, they’re there because they want to see the players. Maria is marketed because she puts backsides on seats. See, many people on this board think this board is representation of the crowds that attend Women’s tennis this is just not true. They seem to be under the illusion that the spectators who watch say Maria play Elena Dementieva, care or discuss their game, primarily, but they don’t. They just want to watch the girlies.

Proof of this would be. If Anna Kournikova turned up this week at any tournament. Attendance figures would rise.

kittyking
Mar 7th, 2007, 10:37 AM
I gotta say I think that womens tennis is actually in a better state than mens tennis - at least in New Zealand.
Consider the ASB Classic to the Heineken Open. They get the same sort of crowd numbers yet we didnt get a single top 10 player for the ASB Classic this year and had I think it was two top 10 players there.
Even here in Christchurch I remember that at the Sunsmart G4 event the girls matches would have much more supporters than the boys matches despite the fact that the NZ guys did alot better than the NZ girls.
Fed Cup Regionals is expected to be an absolute sellout here - regardless of how many top 200 players come.
In terms of entertainment I'd much see a womens ralley than a mens ralley - women seem to vary their shots alot more and there are some absolute thriller ralleys there. Also women seem to be alittle more emotional than the men now (although once again I gotta thank Vera for this alittle)

kiwifan
Mar 7th, 2007, 11:41 AM
Gotta say, I don't buy the basic premise of this thread.

In SoCal the courts are always busy and everyone is aware of "the sport" and on the men's side I've never heard anyone talk about "that great Haas vs Davydenko match last night" :lol:

Heck men's tennis is just one guy these days (most casual fans would be tested to name more than 4 guys if you just showed them photos).

There should be an * next to any tournament win if Federer didn't play the event. :devil:

Dan23
Mar 7th, 2007, 12:10 PM
Regardless of whether the mens or womens tours draw bigger ratings, the WTA could still do with boosting its profile. Brian Stewart posted some reasonable suggestions...getting the names of more players out there could be important. For example all we really hear about in Australia are Stosur, Molik and Pratt though the names Clijsters, Hingis, Williams and Sharapova would be fimiliar to those with any sort of sporting interest. The ATP would be more dominant especially since their coverage is far better but if there was a way to build up awareness of more WTA players, even if it took time, then its a start.

Another place to start could be in the attitude of the commentators. At least in Australia some of the old school media people like Fred Stolle and John Newcombe possibly dont put the WTA in the best light and show the sort of respect it deserves. I cant speak for other countries though.


most of them dont know how to entertain,they bash the ball like robots thats all.tennis needs larger than life personalities like serena not to just market pova like she is the sole player,give pova tough draws like everybody so that everybody will understand whether the hype is deserved or not.Sharapova has showed time and again that any hype surrounding her game is warranted. The USO draw wasnt tough enough for you?

Andy T
Mar 7th, 2007, 01:11 PM
Don't know Volcana but when we stop seeing polls on this forum about who's the prettiest Russian, who's got the biggest tits, bootiest ass, etc, we'll know that things are moving in the right direction.

A Potential
Mar 7th, 2007, 01:41 PM
Gotta say, I don't buy the basic premise of this thread.

In SoCal the courts are always busy and everyone is aware of "the sport" and on the men's side I've never heard anyone talk about "that great Haas vs Davydenko match last night" :lol:

Heck men's tennis is just one guy these days (most casual fans would be tested to name more than 4 guys if you just showed them photos).

There should be an * next to any tournament win if Federer didn't play the event. :devil:

Iím only speaking off my own experiences. Where I live the courts are always empty, except when Wimbledon comes around and then the racquets are searched for, dusted down and we try to locate a sports shop which sells tennis balls. We make our way to the court, thereís usually no net, thatís long gone and the high fence keeping unwanted visitors off the premises, usually thereís a gaping wide hole when you look further down the path. Thing is, weíve forgotten to bring the brush to clean up all the broken Budweiser bottles and empty cans littering the court. By the time this is all done itís time for a smoke and Iím far too tired for tennis by then.

I did play tennis once myself. Thing was, I couldnít serve not matter how I tried, my forehand was incredibly poor, backhand was non existent. I could barely return the ball back to my opponent when playing. I sought semi-professional advice and she said best thing for me was to do what most people like me do Ďbecome a criticí.

TSequoia01
Mar 7th, 2007, 01:41 PM
American women are marketed much more than the men. Take the Sisters we know their mom and dad. Hell we know their sisters! We know where they were born, their interests, their businesses, their family problems, their likes and dislikes. We know Sharapova's dad Yuri showed up in America with little money at Bolletteri's i (http://aolsearch.aol.com/aol/search?query=bollettieri&invocationType=spelling&itaq=0.2.1.As1KI2BR3AB&itaq=1.0.1.bollettieri&itaq=2.1.1.)school. We know Kim is getting married, Lindsay is having a baby.....what do we know about any ATP player? Maybe the info is put out there and I have just not paid any attention. :o

frontier
Mar 7th, 2007, 01:51 PM
unfortunately women will always be treated like pieces of meat and note s legitmate tennis atheletes.
i think at matches women also pay to see their favourites play not to look at how short the skirt is .i think a girl like justine put people in the stands who enjoy justine's game.most of the people who go to tennis matches are tennis fans who enjoy great shots and they applaud,i have noticed that when pova is playing they never applaud a lot because they know her game is hit and hit harder with no plan b.
i go to a match to watch an entertaining match with my favourite playing not an unknown .the only matches i remember about the usa open 06 involved justine semi-final,momo playing serena,agassi playing baghdatis,and a lot of men's matches.
unfortunately women in this particular sport are continuosly viewed as sex objects to the detriment of their sport.

A Potential
Mar 7th, 2007, 02:00 PM
unfortunately women will always be treated like pieces of meat and note s legitmate tennis atheletes.
i think at matches women also pay to see their favourites play not to look at how short the skirt is .i think a girl like justine put people in the stands who enjoy justine's game.most of the people who go to tennis matches are tennis fans who enjoy great shots and they applaud,i have noticed that when pova is playing they never applaud a lot because they know her game is hit and hit harder with no plan b.
i go to a match to watch an entertaining match with my favourite playing not an unknown .the only matches i remember about the usa open 06 involved justine semi-final,momo playing serena,agassi playing baghdatis,and a lot of men's matches.
unfortunately women in this particular sport are continuosly viewed as sex objects to the detriment of their sport.

Henin, Mauresmo, KUZNETSOVA? No way. Others yes, but can they, should they expect anything more than this? How many 'Men's mags' do you see today with today's female stars posing seductively in swimwear or wearing little else.

Greenout
Mar 7th, 2007, 02:30 PM
Look how well the Doha final with JH and Sveta was received over there. The stadium was packed, and they loved every shot on court.

You can promote tennis with tennis - the event wasn't promoted with short skirts but around JH, Hingis, Sveta and Jankovic playing tennis.

Before the final JH and Sveta even handed out tennis trophies to 4 little junior player girls. This is the type of thing that promotes tennis as a sport, and the audience loved seeing it.

A Potential
Mar 7th, 2007, 02:35 PM
Look how well the Doha final with JH and Sveta was received over there. The stadium was packed, and they loved every shot on court.

You can promote tennis with tennis - the event wasn't promoted with short skirts but around JH, Hingis, Sveta and Jankovic playing tennis.

Before the final JH and Sveta even handed out tennis trophies to 4 little junior player girls. This is the type of thing that promotes tennis as a sport, and the audience loved seeing it.

Packed stadium? There were lots of empty seats.

Greenout
Mar 7th, 2007, 02:41 PM
Packed stadium? There were lots of empty seats.

It was more than last year's final.

A Potential
Mar 7th, 2007, 02:43 PM
It was more than last year's final.

So, it was a half packed stadium?

frontier
Mar 7th, 2007, 02:47 PM
Look how well the Doha final with JH and Sveta was received over there. The stadium was packed, and they loved every shot on court.

You can promote tennis with tennis - the event wasn't promoted with short skirts but around JH, Hingis, Sveta and Jankovic playing tennis.

Before the final JH and Sveta even handed out tennis trophies to 4 little junior player girls. This is the type of thing that promotes tennis as a sport, and the audience loved seeing it.i think in this part of the world they are conservative and short skirts are frowned at,players like justine or kuzzie are appreciated more because their vibe is strictly tennis .i would also want my nieces to portray a self respecting image when they participate in sports,let the tennis shine through not the veneer.let tennis be its own reward .

kiwifan
Mar 7th, 2007, 02:56 PM
American women are marketed much more than the men. Take the Sisters we know their mom and dad. Hell we know their sisters! We know where they were born, their interests, their businesses, their family problems, their likes and dislikes. We know Sharapova's dad Yuri showed up in America with little money at Bolletteri's i (http://aolsearch.aol.com/aol/search?query=bollettieri&invocationType=spelling&itaq=0.2.1.As1KI2BR3AB&itaq=1.0.1.bollettieri&itaq=2.1.1.)school. We know Kim is getting married, Lindsay is having a baby.....what do we know about any ATP player? Maybe the info is put out there and I have just not paid any attention. :o

Actually, I don't even know that much about Federer other than that he's awesome...

...but didn't use to be awesome :scratch:...

...and that he's a mellow player...

...but didn't use to be a mellow player :scratch:...

...should there be an investigation? :lol: :tape:

I "know" James Blake more than any other male player but that's only because of his comeback from injury and the human interest stories connected to his comeback.

You'd have to go back to Goran, Becker and Andre for examples of players who I feel I "know" as well as I "know" a Sharapova or a Henin* (players who aren't my fave but I like when they aren't in the way of certain SoCal girls trying to make even more history) :devil:

*let alone players like JCap, Seles, the Williams Sisters, Davenport, Navrat, etc. I couldn't tell you if 99% of the ATP are married or single but I'd recognize Henin's ex walking down the street "in his blouse" :lol:

Greenout
Mar 7th, 2007, 02:57 PM
i think in this part of the world they are conservative and short skirts are frowned at,players like justine or kuzzie are appreciated more because their vibe is strictly tennis .i would also want my nieces to portray a self respecting image when they participate in sports,let the tennis shine through not the veneer.let tennis be its own reward .

Right - they are more conservative, and it worked out all right. But on the other hand not everyone on tour has the talent of a Hingis, JH or Sveta and they let themselves be swept up in the "exploitation" route for instant fame before results.

But I agree that things could get better if news broadcasts could even bother to give out scores of WTA events along side Roger's 899 match winning streak score.

Piotr'ek
Mar 7th, 2007, 03:04 PM
LoL many people in Europe dont even know who is Roger Federer :spit:
Good shape of mens tennis :tape:

A Potential
Mar 7th, 2007, 03:08 PM
Right - they are more conservative, and it worked out all right. But on the other hand not everyone on tour has the talent of a Hingis, JH or Sveta and they let themselves be swept up in the "exploitation" route for instant fame before results.

But I agree that things could get better if news broadcasts could even bother to give out scores of WTA events along side Roger's 899 match winning streak score.

They don't broadcast scores because tennis is a minority sport. Joe Blogs who watches TV (it's never Mrs Blogs, she doesn't have control of the remote) he's heard of Maria and Serena & Venus, possibly Hingis, after that, if you stuck a picture of Kuznetsova & Henin on screen he'd think it was a news item on gay marriages.

Volcana
Mar 7th, 2007, 03:12 PM
As always, I find myself bowing to the fount f information that is Brian Stewart.
In what dimension does Haas vs Davydenko get anything remotely resembling a "decent" US TV audience? I've seen quite the reverse from your premise in recent years. Agassi plays, men's tennis gets great ratings. Roddick produces fairly decent ratings. Anyone else, and the ratings plummet. Look at the US Open in the last few years. Last year's final on the men's side was Federer vs Roddick, which is as appealing matchup as men's tennis can have for a US audience. The match spilled over into prime time. Do you know what that segment of the match drew in prime time? A 2.0. This on the night with the biggest viewing pool of the week by far. Even the oft-criticized Kuznetsova/Dementieva match drew more viewers, and on Saturday night, which has by far the smallest viewing pool of the week.Your points are well made. However, I don't feel they invalidate my point. Spilingover into primetime on a Sunday is just that. Sunday night is a night that the networks actually compete over. Saturday has the smallest viewing audience, but it also has the weakest programming. The men are also competing against Sunday Night Football some years. (I don't remember if last year was one of those.)
Look at the ratings for regular non-slam events. All of those telecasts do not include stars. Some will have just other players. Yet, on cable channels, women's tennis pulls in an average rating about the same as regular season men's college basketball.If you have a reliable source for TV ratings, please post a link. The last couple years have been pretty catch-as-catch-can for me in that department.

However, the few ratings I HAVE indicate that men's regular season NCAA basketball is significantly MORE popular thatn women's tennis. I'm not saying you're wrong. You may have better sources than me.
And as for your statement closing your first paragaph, that is absolutely untrue. It was forecast, but didn't happen. The WTA had never drawn more than 2.5 million fans in a season before Evert retired. The first year post-Evert, which saw the arrival of Capriati and the emergence of Seles and Sabatini as slam winners, saw attendance jump to 3 million, and it's climbed steadily since. (Now, 3 million fans would be considered a disaster.) Also, the popularity of the sport of tennis as a whole bottomed out in 1986. Women's tennis grew since then, and in 1994 passed men's tennis in popularity in the US (and has only stretched their lead since). In 1999, the bromide "but the men are more popular in Europe" went by the wayside, meaning that before the new millenium even dawned, women's tennis was drawing bigger viewership numbers in North America, Europe, and Asia. (Basically the biggest markets available.)
Again, not disagreeing, but I'd really like a source. For one thing, it's easier to lobby the cable networks for increased tennis coverage if I had the actual numbers at my disposal.
Now, moving on to the question asked, let's start with a basic premise. Would you all agree that, when it comes to deciding whether to watch a match, viewers are most likely to be enticed by (in descending order):
1. Superstar players
2. Star players
3. Familiar players (ones whose names have been heard often)
Yes. However, I think that's some of the problem. Some sports get tremendous ratings regardless of the competitors on a given day. The NFL and NASCAR come to mind.

That leaves category 3. Familiar names. How do you create familiarity? By making sure the public has heard the names repeatedly. What's the best way to do that? I'll fall back on one of my old ideas-- get them on SportsCenter (and shows of that ilk). Now, we've seen that, left to their own devices, ESPN won't give WTA results. Only once in a blue moon, when there's a big match between players the public already knows. So what the tour needs to do is use some of that sponsorship money (it certainly isn't going into prize money) to sponsor a nightly "tennis report" on SportsCenter. Get the scores (and thus, the players' names) on every night.I'm somewhat shocked the tour doesn't do that already.

The rest of your ideas are quite good too.

Please post a link to your sources for ratings. It's a source of endless frustration that sometimes I can get detailed info on TV ratings for sporting events, and sometimes I get squat.

§CharlDa§
Mar 7th, 2007, 03:14 PM
Amazing post Brian :worship:

Wayn77
Mar 7th, 2007, 03:53 PM
Aside from the two-week Wimbly jamboree tennis coverage in the UK is pathetic. Murray gets some attention when he is winning, The Slams might get a couple of paragraphs a day in the quality newspapers, the Tier I/Tier IIs for the rest of the year absolutely nothing. Most of these publications now have big daily, sexy sports supplements in full colour. We follow a minority sport my friends - the football beast has total domination of the mainstream in the UK, with tennis about 8 or 9th in the sport TV ratings (below poker :o ).

I actually made a request to my newspaper recently for more (or some) tennis coverage - especially WTA news. At least publish the top 10 rankings every couple of months - most of the top 20 players are completely invisible to the general public.

A Potential
Mar 7th, 2007, 03:59 PM
Aside from the two-week Wimbly jamboree tennis coverage in the UK is pathetic. Murray gets some attention when he is winning, The Slams might get a couple of paragraphs a day in the quality newspapers, the Tier I/Tier IIs for the rest of the year absolutely nothing. Most of these publications now have big daily, sexy sports supplements in full colour. We follow a minority sport my friends - the football beast has total domination of the mainstream in the UK, with tennis about 8 or 9th in the sport TV ratings (below poker :o ).

I actually made a request to my newspaper recently for more (or some) tennis coverage - especially WTA news. At least publish the top 10 rankings every couple of months - most of the top 20 players are completely invisible to the general public.

Sun reader. I know the feeling.

Greenout
Mar 7th, 2007, 04:16 PM
They don't broadcast scores because tennis is a minority sport. Joe Blogs who watches TV (it's never Mrs Blogs, she doesn't have control of the remote) he's heard of Maria and Serena & Venus, possibly Hingis, after that, if you stuck a picture of Kuznetsova & Henin on screen he'd think it was a news item on gay marriages.


This is untrue. There are more female viewers of general programming tv than male. It's been like that for decades now. There are more females watching the evening news than men in most countries.


This discussion is going in the wrong direction - I'll pass.

A Potential
Mar 7th, 2007, 04:28 PM
This is untrue. There are more female viewers of general programming tv than male. It's been like that for decades now. There are more females watching the evening news than men in most countries.


This discussion is going in the wrong direction - I'll pass.

I'm not talking about lesbian dominated households, watching tennis matches being played in front of half empty stadiums.

Craigy
Mar 7th, 2007, 04:34 PM
They could also show smaller tournaments on TV. A lot of people like the lesser known players.

A Potential
Mar 7th, 2007, 04:38 PM
They could also show smaller tournaments on TV. A lot of people like the lesser known players.

Who are these people?:confused:

Very few sports fans watch the main tournaments on TV, let alone the smaller venues.

Craigy
Mar 7th, 2007, 04:40 PM
Who are these people?:confused:

Very few sports fans watch the main tournaments on TV, let alone the smaller venues.

A lot of people on this board. They have all these new up and coming players, who are unheard of to some people, in their signatures.

A Potential
Mar 7th, 2007, 04:55 PM
A lot of people on this board. They have all these new up and coming players, who are unheard of to some people, in their signatures.

Iím writing a letter to Sky Sports right now.

Dear Mr/Mrs Sky Sports

Could you please show more tennis tournaments on the Sky Sports network. You see a lot of us on the board (thatís Craig, me and others) we want to see up and coming players, the ones who play in lesser tournaments. We never get to see the ~178 ranked player enough. Just in case you think we donít know what weíre talking about, register at WTAWorld.com and look at our signatures. They have many unknown players in them.

Thanks

Brian Stewart
Mar 8th, 2007, 06:45 AM
Volcana, I share your frustration at finding reliable online sources for ratings. There used to be some that updated regularly, like Zap2it, but they only cover the broadcast networks. I get a few from magazines, like the odd article in TennisWeek, but most comes from scattershot articles online. You really have to be quick to catch some of those "blink or you miss it" articles, as they vanish quickly too.

Other than googling the news, I keep an eye on the Tennis Week website, as well as http://www.tennisnews.com and http://www.courtcoverage.org to see when an article pops up. Tournament websites also occasionally have an article about ratings for their event.

The WTA itself provides some info. Considering that most of the ratings news confirms their popularity advantage over the other tour, you don't get much info from general tennis news sources. For some reason (bias mainly), the main tennis media doesn't tout good ratings news if it's women's tennis. They're more concerned with wanting men's tennis to be more popular, rather than the sport overall being more popular. (I've always said, what makes one tour more popular makes the sport more popular, which in turn makes the other tour more popular.)

The last overall ratings numbers I saw had regular season men's college basketball (overall, not just in prime time), and women's tennis, at 0.9 on cable, which isn't bad when you consider that most men's BB is on ESPN, whereas most tennis is on the smaller ESPN2. For reference, the nightly ESPN SportsCenter gets a 1.0. Women's regular season college BB got about a 0.6, with men's tennis clocking in at around 0.5. And for an added note, the NHL averaged 0.4 and the MLS averaged 0.2,

This despite the NHL and MLS getting all scores and highlights given on SportsCenter, and all telecasts heavily promoted. By contrast, in a typical year, ESPN only gives about 1% of WTA scores, and does 0 promoting of the few WTA events it telecasts. Just imagine if the WTA got regular scores and highlights, and their telecasts were promoted.

And, get this, ESPN is now going to pay rights fees for MLS telecasts. Unbelievable. This for something that was drawing 1/5th the viewers of the WTA before last summer. And during last summer's US Open Series telecasts, the ratings for the WTA events overall (and 4 of the 5 individual events) were up! That's one of the things I keep hitting ESPN on. Given the ratings disparity, "When can we expect a WTA package?"

I usually hit them the hardest when they show some garbage on SportsCenter, like highlights of lawnmower racing, instead of WTA scores.

I think the big problem there is, ESPN is pretty much the "only game in town" when it comes to sports scores and highlights shows. A recent study (again, sorry, I don't have the link, just the info) has shown that, since CNN did away with their nightly sports S&H show, SportsChannel disappeared, and Prime devolved into FSN, thereby leaving ESPN as the sole source of S&H, the amount of women's coverage has decreased significantly. ESPN is using the power of a "captive audience" to wallow in their own biases, and forcing viewers to tune in hoping, on some chance, to see a rare score or highlight. (That's what they do with slam telecasts, too, abusing their audience who have no alernative.)

That's why one of 2 things has to happen. BUY the damn airtime on SportsCenter, and present the info the tour's way. Or give ESPN some competition. Get a nightly sports show on Lifetime or, better yet (since it's not remotely connected to ESPN), Oxygen. They can do a women's sports show every night, with the tagline "the scores and highlights ESPN doesn't want you to see". Be in-your-face about it, and tweak ESPN's collective nose. That might be our best bet, as complaining fans. Start writing Oxygen and Lifetime, seeing if they'll do it.

On another note, a recent article chastized the tennis establishment as being not particularly "net savvy". *feigned surprise* Why not get some tennis highlights, or even bloopers or wacky shots, on YouTube? Officially put there by the tour, so they won't be removed.

And on the "rising tide lifts all boats" theme, which in a way runs a bit counter to what we're doing, how about making the stars even bigger stars? Promote them even better. Get them on more posters, tee shirts, etc. How about WTA Fatheads? (Besides the executives.)

The whole deal with ESPN is why I actually favor the WTA's approach of going outside of the traditional tennis media. The tennis folks, of course, hate this because it takes away their power to determine who gets coverage and exposure. That's why they hide behind catchphrases about "sizzle" and "steak", etc. Well you can have the bext steaks in the world, but if no one enters your restaurant, you're going out of business. The WTA should continue hitting the talk shows and ET et al, and if the tennis press doesn't like it, (intercourse) them.

But here's a thought (for anyone still awake)-- we're dealing with a "contaminated sample" here. We all know a good bit about tennis and the players. We know what would make us more interested. It ain't us that tennis needs. It's them. What would make them more likely to tune into tennis? We can only speculate. They can answer. So, if any of you get a chance, ask a "them". If you have any contact with the outside world, chances are most of the people you encounter during the day are "them". If you get a moment, ask them "what would make you more interested in women's tennis"? Try to solicit the more serious answers. (Naked players, for example, wouldn't do much, else beach volleyball would be the #1 sport.) But try to ask as many folks as you can. You might get some surprises. It might be something dirt simple that we'd never consider. Sometimes, you really can be too close to the trees to see the forest.

I'd be curious to see the results. :)

Junex
Mar 8th, 2007, 07:37 AM
Its always gonna be the Stars over Sports!

Lets face it, majority of the population loves celebrity.
They are there watching every move, rise and fall of the Stars.
Trying to emulate them even copy the stars stupidities...

The WTA knew that, in fact all of the Sporting agencies knew, that its pop-culture!

In order to market the sport beyond the purist, they need players who have a personality...the so called celebrity athletes...the likes of Serena & sharapova, even Kournikova...

So you can't really blame the WTA to sell the "girls" rather than the sport.
the means always compliment the result....

GoDominique
Mar 8th, 2007, 07:46 AM
LOL at Volcana asking Brian Stewart for sources of his tiresome WTA spin. :lol: You will have to wait for a long long time ...

Wayn77
Mar 8th, 2007, 01:09 PM
Sun reader. I know the feeling.

I wouldn't wipe my ass with that piece of crap (The Sun).:fiery:

The publication I was talkin about brother was a real newspaper - The Guardian.