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View Full Version : Jon Wertheim's solutions to WTA woes...


tennischick
Nov 12th, 2002, 01:51 PM
WTA Championships' woes are plenty

QUESTION: What do you think of the lack of fan presence at the Staples Center last week? The empty arena looks really pathetic on TV. Did the WTA forget to publicize this tournament? Whom do we have to e-mail to get the tournament back in NYC at Madison Square Garden?
—Joy, Brooklyn, N.Y.

ANSWER: Next year's promotion: Buy a ticket and get your own personal concession stand.

Jokes aside, the paltry attendance at last week's WTA Championships was, quite simply, an embarrassment. Yes, the late move to L.A. left precious little time to drum up sponsors and sell tickets. Yes, there was no lead-in tournament in the U.S. the week before to get some buzz going. Yes, some of the players were less accommodating than they should have been in promoting the event. But 200 fans to watch two top-16 players? Never mind the Staples Center; you'd get more fans than that if the match were held at an actual Staples store. A non-crowd like that just can't happen, especially at an event that pays $3 million in prize money, especially for a tour at a crossroads.

Five unsolicited tips for avoiding a repeat:

1. Take a cue from the men and make this a round robin among the top eight players. We understand that the WTA Tour wants to showcase as many players as possible, but the event would have more prestige if only the cr¸me de la cr¸me were present.

2. Just as Philadelphia was an ideal tuneup when the championships were held the Garden, the WTA needs to add an American event the week prior. (Paul Allen, this is your cue.)

3. The event would be cheapened if there were a discretionary wild card. But, man, it would help attendance if a certain player whose surname starts with K and ends with an -ova were in the draw. (And we ain't talking about Sandra Kleinova.)

4. Combine the year-end championships with the men's and create the de facto All-Star Week we've been discussing here for years. Before we hear about how the men are locked into Houston in 2003 and the women are tethered to L.A., let's consult the attendance figures and TV ratings from mixed-gender events and see if we can't make the numbers smell right for everyone.

5. If that fails, move the championships back to the Garden. The overall attendance for the event in NYC just two years ago was roughly four times what it was in L.A. last week. Los Angelenos (they all come from somewhere) are off at the beach or getting cosmetic surgery during a week in November. You don't have that problem in New York. Further, given the performances of the Knicks and Rangers, we're sure the MSG and Cablevision suits would be all too happy to lower the lease terms and host women's tennis again.

i swear the man gets all his ideas from tennisboards!!!!! ;) ;)

wongqks
Nov 12th, 2002, 01:56 PM
I agree with 1, 2, 4

Not agree with 3 I think he is not addressing the issue if he think granting a wildcard to Anna will help much, coz I think williams are a biggere star in US than Anna, maybe anna has a more global appeal but even if they are a little bit behind, they are not far off from Anna

No. 5 is alright, but then I think it should stay in LA, it should be fine soon

wongqks
Nov 12th, 2002, 01:57 PM
yeah I sometimes wonder if he actually read the board, coz there has been a few times when his idea is found in the board a week or so prior, Admins, have to do something to protect our intellectual copyright :p

Penguin
Nov 12th, 2002, 01:58 PM
of course he reads the boards, didnt you guys see this:

." A columnist's job, of course, is to be so infuriating that people on message boards form friendships over their mutual dislike of him.

:D

tennischick
Nov 12th, 2002, 02:06 PM
did he really say that Penguin? LOL!!!! :D :D

baleineau
Nov 12th, 2002, 02:15 PM
Giving a wildcard, whether it's to Anna K or some other popular player outside the top-8 or top-12 or whatever would be a bad move. At least give it to the hightest-ranked Grand Slam champion of Grand Slam finalist. You've got to have some criteria established beforehand, not just a discretionary measure.

i think Wertheim's point 3 was a joke anyway ;)

Tratree
Nov 12th, 2002, 04:05 PM
The only problem with this year's tournament was lack of promotion and assinine prices. Between the three Southern California tournaments held yearly, there are plenty of people to support tennis in LA, not to mention the casual fan who will see a TV ad or print ad featuring the Williams, Capriati, Seles, etc and want to come. There was NONE of that this year. Octagon draws the blame for this disaster by having "someone they know" in LA do the promotion instead of a proven PR firm who knows how to promote tennis like the ones who promote Acura or Indian Wells, two of the most successful tournaments on the tour. I talked to someone from one of the PR firms that promotes a prestigious event in S. Cal and they are quite actively pursuing the job for next year. Did you hear the speeches last night? It's obviously not going anywhere next year and I'm sure they will learn from their mistakes this year. Wait a minute.....this is the WTA. BWaaahahahahaha ;)

Come-on-kim
Nov 12th, 2002, 04:47 PM
It's a tour championship, so why Anna would be in?

CC
Nov 12th, 2002, 05:11 PM
The Anna idea is silly. If they keep rewarding her for next-to-nothing, what reason does she have to get serious?

smally
Nov 12th, 2002, 05:31 PM
John Wertheim have been known to bash Anna time and time again. I think the Anna part is complete sarcasm coming from him.

Penguin
Nov 12th, 2002, 05:33 PM
will he read this thread as well?

:wavey: @ JW


:p

BigTennisFan
Nov 12th, 2002, 08:02 PM
Well, maybe Anna and Monique Viele can play an exhibition warm up match as a surprise? Don't announce when it will be played, that way people will have to come to every session in order to catch it.:D :D :D ;)

fammmmedspin
Nov 12th, 2002, 09:05 PM
A round-robin of the top eight doesn't necessarily improve the quality of the tennis does it? Players outside the top eight have provided some of the better tennis and sometimes real upsets this year as in previous years. Removing the Patty/Maggie/Sandrine factor just means you have to watch the top 8 players they would have beaten soldier on longer. This year we had a physically and mentally tired Daniela and Justine - watching them struggle through more matches wouldn't have been much fun. We also had Jelena, Serena and Venus physically not making it through the week - not sure they could take even more matches in a round-robin.
Doesn't he give the game away when he says bring in AK? He thinks US audiences need a famous name (probably a US name or one spelt Kournikova) - this may be true - though it wasn't in MSG. But a collection of famous names isn't an end of season championship - its more of an exhibition. It might lead to a good final, if anyone lasts that long, but we had a good final (and potentially 2 good semis) with this format anyway.

auntie janie
Nov 12th, 2002, 09:07 PM
I wrote to Jon Wertheim suggesting the WTA run a simultaneous Eye-Candy Championships, with points awarded for bending over, showing midriff skin, flipping hair, etc. ;)

tennischick
Nov 12th, 2002, 09:10 PM
interesting post fammmmmedspain. so are you suggesting that they can keep the top 8 players but dispense with the round robin format? or keep the top 16 players as is?

tennischick
Nov 12th, 2002, 09:12 PM
Originally posted by janie
I wrote to Jon Wertheim suggesting the WTA run a simultaneous Eye-Candy Championships, with points awarded for bending over, showing midriff skin, flipping hair, etc. ;)

can't wait to see his reply!!!! :eek:

angele87
Nov 12th, 2002, 09:13 PM
I think making it round robin and combining it with the men's championship would be good :D :D And also like mentioned above, more promotion for the event!

auntie janie
Nov 12th, 2002, 09:15 PM
Well if he's going to suggest reserving a wild card spot for Kourni to boost attendance, isn't this idea a natural outgrowth of that thought process? ;)

WhatTheDeuce
Nov 12th, 2002, 10:02 PM
i agree with 3 and 5

Bella
Nov 12th, 2002, 10:58 PM
What is wrong with exhibition matches in the early days? Instead of putting Anna down, why not ask her to help?

"Anna, will you play a couple of exhibitions so we can pay the other players $3,000,000 and not go broke or begging for sponsors? And, can we put your image in our promotions so people in LA will know a tournament is going on?"

Did Monica really say that friends of hers in LA asked why she was in town? If that's the case—that says it all.

barmaid
Nov 12th, 2002, 11:46 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by wongqks
[B]I agree with 1, 2, 4

Not agree with 3 I think he is not addressing the issue if he think granting a wildcard to Anna will help much, coz I think williams are a biggere star in US than Anna, maybe anna has a more global appeal but even if they are a little bit behind, they are not far off from Anna

wongqks, Disagree with you entirely about Anna...during the U. S. Open on ladies' night..Martina Hingis played a singles match, Jennifer played a singles match and Anna and Martina teamed to play a doubles match...to a full house and that was early in the tournament!! BTW no Willies played that night!!

wongqks
Nov 12th, 2002, 11:49 PM
barmaid

I had that arguement before in one of those stupid 'WTA is crap' thread and many people quickly point out to me that most tix are presold and they would have gone ven if it is a all men night, so I am not sure anymore LOL

I think if Williams is playing the result is the same, sold-out.

Brian Stewart
Nov 13th, 2002, 12:35 AM
In typical Wertheim fashion, he contradicts himself. First he suggests trimming the field to 8 to make it more elite, then he suggests replacing one of those elite with a wild card based purely on drawing power. Souds suspiciously like the "Agassi" rule they stuck in the men's Championships. (That's why they put a wild card in, in case Agassi had one good slam and went in the toilet the rest of the year, they could stick him in the Championships.)

A lot of tennis writers seem anxious to cut down the number of women participating. They were doing that when it was going great at MSG.

Looking at 8-player round robin vs current 16 player knockout format:

Total singles matches= 15 for both. No benefit to the tournament either way.

# of matches player must play to win: 4 now, 5 under RR. Likewise, finalist and semifinalists would have to play an extra match. Do they think the solution to some lackluster end-of-year performances by top players is to make them play more matches? Will the top 8 players relish the thought of promotional burdens falling entirely on them, requiring them to spend even more time on it?

And, of course, the players below the top 8 won't want to give up their slots and points. A lot more people have shots to make the top 16 than the top 8. (Including Wertheim's wild card. She has a much more realistic shot of finishing next year in the top 16 than the top 8, thus eliminating any need for machinations that would damage the credibility of the event.)

Other negatives of switching to the 8-player RR:
some of the players that get accused of "going through the motions" in the year end Championships will finish any given year the top 8. Would it be better for fans to see them do this 3 times instead of once?

Coming into the Championships, Serena had only lost 3 matches that she had finished. 2 of those were to players not curently into the top 8, who would have been excluded from the field.

Kim's toughest match before the finals was in the first round (much closer than the score as most games went multi-deuce). That would have been eliminated in RR.

Monica and Lindsay played a thriller that wouldn't have been under the 8-player RR. Lindsay would not have been in the field.

The dangerous Maggie was 1 set away from the semis. Under RR, she's not even in.

With the reduced RR field, any player who missed a significant amount of time to injury (Lindsay, Martina, Chanda, etc.) would be out of the running before they even got started. Suppose next year it was someone named Capriati or Williams who missed the first 6-7 months. Wouldn't that do wonders for the event to have them out.

As for the suggestion of a US warmup, way to keep up on the news, Werthless! :rolleyes: It's a done deal. Philly is back.

Combine with the men? No way in hell! What made the women's tour as big as it is today is that they went out on their own and established an identity. The women have more superstars now, especially as far as the American public is concerned. The last thing we need is a merged event that uses the women's popularity to pay the men's paychecks. (And give the tennis writers an excuse to give credit to the wrong tour for the success of an event.)

#5 is a possibility. If the event doesn't show significant improvement next year (especially in promotion), move it back. The "bad" day crowds in MSG were bigger than the early night crowds in LA.

Nope, the real solution for the woes of the event is promotion, plain and simple. If they want to do any timkering with the format, eliminate the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday afternoon sessions. The Wednesday day and night sessions would move to Monday and Tuesday night respectively. Move the Thurdsay day session to Wednesday night. Move the Friday singles quarterfinal to Friday night, along with the other Friday singles quarterfinal and a doubles quarterfinal. Move the other doubles match from Friday into the Saturday afternoon session, making that a singles and 2 doubles. The rest of the tourney remains as it was.

tennischick
Nov 13th, 2002, 12:43 AM
Sounds suspiciously like the "Agassi" rule they stuck in the men's Championships. (That's why they put a wild card in, in case Agassi had one good slam and went in the toilet the rest of the year, they could stick him in the Championships.)

what on earth are you talking about Brian??? :confused:

the cat
Nov 13th, 2002, 01:58 AM
As per usual, Wertheim is on the mark! :D I think I'm starting to rub off on him! ;)

Most importantly, bring the year end championships back to the place it should have never left! Back to the city that never sleeps (Is anyone awake in LA?)! Back to the city that appreciates blood and guts tennis! Back to the Big Apple! Back to New York City and the greatest arena in the world, Madison Square Garden! :bounce:

LOL @ Lady Jane! The Eye Candy championships! That's a good one! ;)

Monique
Nov 13th, 2002, 02:44 AM
Combine with the men? No way in hell! What made the women's tour as big as it is today is that they went out on their own and established an identity. The women have more superstars now, especially as far as the American public is concerned. The last thing we need is a merged event that uses the women's popularity to pay the men's paychecks. (And give the tennis writers an excuse to give credit to the wrong tour for the success of an event.)

despite all the talk, the ATP Tour is doing fine, thank you very much...the WTA is the one that always seems to be struggling behind smaller venues, lower prize money, mismanagement and bad marketing, and a lack of consistent sponsors...both tours would profit from joining forces at the year's end Masters Championships, there is no need for an unjustified bias against the men's tour regarding this issue...

tennischick
Nov 13th, 2002, 01:02 PM
over on ATPWorld someone posted that there are huge craowds in Shanghai. so the guys are doing something right.

auntie janie
Nov 13th, 2002, 01:28 PM
I watched Federer-Ferrero yesterday & it did not look so crowded to me. (More than the WTA had, though).

But they had over a year to build it up. The WTA failed miserably in marketing this event, but it's true they were at a disadvantage with the short notice.

Still, the Philly paper listed it simply as "Home Depot championships" -- sounds like any other tournament! We got two sentences of coverage in "Sports in Brief" each day. The WTA has to do better than that.

Kirt12255
Nov 13th, 2002, 01:41 PM
Ummm posting after Brian Stewart and being Aussie this may sound lame LOL....

I know the talk is between 8 or 16? I think the womens game is stronger than ever....perhaps a field of 24....giving the 8 top seeds a break for the first round after big late year tourneys?

Not having been to a WTA tour "Finale"....may be a stupid question...but are there corporate boxes? Because many use these tickets as gifts to people that ask "why does she get two serves?"

I am watching Hewitt vs Moya and with Agassi vs Novak before this....it doesn't seem to be anything special.

Agassi looked un-interested and maybe tired I don't know...why do we not get the WTA season end tourney and only this?

The tennis is predictable and if one of these two cracked a smile their face would explode...yet they lack the drama, finesse and change-up the women show...to be honest a double-episode of the "Brady Bunch" would be more eventful LOL

anyway that's my five cents worth LOL

ps...instead of a Kournikova match...how about a Graf-Sanchez-Vicario match next year??....would have more merit :-)

Keep Smiling :-)

Kirt

Williams Rulez
Nov 13th, 2002, 02:46 PM
Originally posted by janie
I wrote to Jon Wertheim suggesting the WTA run a simultaneous Eye-Candy Championships, with points awarded for bending over, showing midriff skin, flipping hair, etc. ;) LMAO... :o

lmoon1
Nov 13th, 2002, 03:14 PM
I agree with everything except the Anna K. thing. That wouldn't be fair at all. (though she is WAY more interesting that Silvia Farina Elia or Anna S. )