View Full Version : did the anticipation of a Sisters final help kill attendance in L.A?

Nov 12th, 2002, 09:46 PM
everyone expected Serena to face (and, in my case, DOWN) Venus in the finals in L.A. this was indeed the prediction of MOST of the tennis pundits. in fact, ESPN ran a previously-scheduled special on the Sisters as a lead-in to the final match -- so confident were they (and just about everyone else) that Serena would be facing her sister that evening.

but it was not to be...

however...did this foregone conclusion help kill off attendance in LA? were folks just going to show up for the expected final? did the anticipation of an all-Williams final help contribute to the relative lack of interest in the opening rounds?

in other words, was this possibly a factor in the paltry attendance figures?

i'm asking only bec no-one else has... :cool:

Serendy Willick
Nov 12th, 2002, 09:49 PM
Sorry, but the crowd definatley wasnt jumping for Serena-Clijsters. It serves them right,because no final is ever guarenteed with two certain players in it. Both players deserve a jumping crowd, no matter who they are in the finals.

Cam'ron Giles
Nov 12th, 2002, 09:50 PM
I think this is pure crap Tennischick...This has been debated to death, a new spin is not gonna make it a new debate, give the shit a rest (the sisters are home resting, we should too)...:rolleyes:

Nov 12th, 2002, 09:50 PM
I thought that same thing throughout the tournament. It was sooooo surprising to "see" the lack of fans there. I even ventured to think if they had not committed to playing, would the turnout been higher. I hate to say it, but I think it did have an effect. The tennis isn't the best when they play, and I think people anticipated it.

Nov 12th, 2002, 09:52 PM
No, to answer your question. Also, the Williams BRING people to tennis events based on their talents and charisma. Matter of fact, attendance records have been broken and tv ratings are sky high when the Williams sisters play for the championship.

The fault lies with the organizers. ;)

Cam'ron Giles
Nov 12th, 2002, 09:54 PM
YOU people kill me...ROTFFLMAO....Now the low attendance is Venus and Serena's fault? GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE...OMG, will you ever stop?

Nov 12th, 2002, 09:54 PM
But it just wasn't a very good match, unlike Serena-Jen or the Seles-Davenport/Venus matches.

I was surprised Yahoo reports that the final attendance for the tournament was 57,000. Of course, they probably fudged the numbers a bit, but that's still way more than Munich's 36,500. I'm sure they fudged Munich's attendance, as well.

Nov 12th, 2002, 09:58 PM
::::Yawns mercilessly::::

Nov 12th, 2002, 09:58 PM
Freethinker, please re-read my post before becoming obscene. i'm not saying that it is their fault. i'm only asking if the anticipation of a predictable outcome (or so everyone thought) was a factor. meaning ONE factor, not THE factor. check my Wertheim thread for discussion of OTHER possible factors. i'm only wondering if this should be added to the list.

Nov 13th, 2002, 08:29 AM
Obscene is this line of thought!
Damned if they do, damned if they dont.
Tennischick, congrats for being the genuis around here!

Williams Rulez
Nov 13th, 2002, 08:40 AM
I posted the results of a poll on the Sanex WTA Website which showed the Williams-Williams finals as the most preferred finals. So if anything, it would have been anticipated. And besides, the highest attended match was the Venus-Kim match I believe, so you know it has nothing to do with the Williams.

Nov 13th, 2002, 08:44 AM
Here's the view from out of the USA. I think it did.
All the articles a week prior to the event only
mentioned that another All Williams final was in
the works. It was a great tennis year for them,
and nobody is at their level said the articles. The
matches were only a formality till another All Williams
final. It was the only comments made by the
local new reporters when the event started. I would
have never known that Chanda or Daniela were even
the event. It was only about Williams, Jennifer, Lindsay,
and American tennis.

There was no pre-hype or anticipation over here in
Southeast Asia. In fact it wasn't EVEN shown on
ESPN Asia!!! I'll be getting it delayed next month
via Singapore's local sports station SUPER SPORTS.

Nov 13th, 2002, 09:05 AM
If i understood you correctly, advertising was the problem.
We are desperately grasping for straws arent we ? :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Nov 13th, 2002, 11:57 AM
i didn't see that poll WilliamsRulz so thanks for the info and thanks for the straight reply. and Greenout thanks for the non-US perspective. an all-Williams final was also the anticipated outcome where i am as well but Venus and Serena are much-loved in this country so the predictability was not a factor for the television viewing audience.

but i was more curious about whether it was one of the factors affecting attendance at the Staples Center.

servenbitchy, please please spare us both and put me on "ignore". it's kinda pathetic the way you hunt my posts down just to make yet another bitchy comment. is your life that empty :sad: :sad:

Nov 13th, 2002, 12:12 PM
I understand what youre getting at tennischick!

Williams fans shouldnt be offended by this thread, coz it shows how everyone knows the Williams Sisters dominated this year. I can imagine a sisters final would be highly anticipated in the US, but its not really the final that had the big attendance problem...

I believe that, because everyone expected a Williams-Williams final, nobody was intersted in a Henin-Dementieva or Hantuchova-Maleeva first round match! Everyone expected both Williamses to reach the final (which is perfectly normal as they dominated the whole year, and without Venus's injury it might have been so), so who cares what happens those first rounds?

So i think tennischick has a valid point: the anticipation of a Williams final did HELP (keyword is HELP!) kill attendance.

Certain Williamsfans should realise that not everything that connects the Williams Sisters to a certain negative point, means that people are bashing the sisters. They had an excellent year, and because of that, tennis reporters/fans have been taking Williams finals for granted. The Williamses have certainly brought name and fame to the tour, but at the same time, they have killed the suspense in the early rounds... noone can blame them for being so good (they deserve a lot of praise), but its just the way things are: everything has an up- and a down-side to it...

so people, there's no use for insulting tennischick for posting her opinion (this is a message board after all, and she didn't bash anyone)

its up to the other players now to try and reach the Williams-level...

Nov 13th, 2002, 12:48 PM
You keep replying to my posts, so your life must be empty!
You cant make a setence without name-calling can you?
The bitterness you display towards me shows that i touched a nerve. How the truth hurts!

Nov 13th, 2002, 01:10 PM
I disagree. If this were true, you'd expect less tickets to be sold for the final and more for the earlier rounds. In the earlier rounds, you were garantueed to see a match between two top 16 players and didn't 'risk' (can't find a better word, sorry) seeing a match between Serena and Venus. People who truly lose interest because they fear an all Williams could have just gotten tickets for the earlier rounds. Unlike in the slams, the earlier rounds here promised to be interesting.

The Crow
Nov 13th, 2002, 01:14 PM
Tine, I think tc wanted to say that most of the 'possible' crowd wanted to watch the Williams final (they expected) and therefore people didn't go to the earlier rounds.

I don't agree either however, since you have favourites in every tournament and there is always 2 certain players to be expected in the final (most of the time the 2 highest seeds), so that would affect those tourneys too.

Nov 13th, 2002, 01:18 PM
Oh, I see. Then why do the Williams fans see this as an attack on the Williams sisters?

The Crow
Nov 13th, 2002, 01:19 PM
Because some fans see everything as an attack to their favs?? :confused: ;)

Oh well, maybe I'm wrong, only tennischick knows ;)

Nov 13th, 2002, 01:31 PM
Part of me Wishes Venus and Serena had not shown up just so you could have seen the even SMALLER CROWDS. Oh yeah I love Kim but did you see those FIVE belgians cheering for her? She really packed them in, huh?

Nov 13th, 2002, 01:39 PM
The exhibition match tonight between Kim and Justine is sold out. LA is a bit far for Belgians, I'm afraid.
Never mind that I was actually defending the sisters here, it's still seen as an attack...oh well.

Nov 13th, 2002, 01:47 PM
The crowd was sparse up until the weekend, then I thought it was a good turnout. Its always hard to get people to attend afternoon matches, even harder if you dont have a good publicity plan.

The crowd was great at the Jen Rena match.

Nov 13th, 2002, 01:55 PM
A completely valid question. I can't answer it as I don't know about the press in the USA. Why tennischick gets bashed for this is beyond me.

Nov 13th, 2002, 01:56 PM
Reply to Tine and the Crow:
Williams fans see this as an attack, because people have been constantly saying on this board especially in the last few months, that people are getting bored with tennis because of Venus and Serena. The actual figure however have been showing otherwise.

This topic is like beating a dead horse. It has been discussed to death, but i guess Tennischick has not been on this board all this while :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Nov 13th, 2002, 02:02 PM
No. It's not an unreasonable question though, it's just not very likely.

The fault here was clearly sheer mismanagement. Anyone in the entertainment business could tell you that empty arena was disaster that can totally dumoed on tournament management. I've said this before. They should have sent free tickets for the 16's and the QF's to every college and high tennis program in California. An empty arena costs more in future revenues than giving away tickets to an event that had 99% of the arena empty for those rounds anyway. How much are advertisers going to pay for sports in the 16's or QF's next year. Even if the TV ratings were higher than expected (and I don't know that they were) those empty seats will stick in the bean-counters minds.

It's hard to believe a management agency ran that tournament, because they obviously had no idea about the need to put a good show on for TV. That includes fannies in the seats.

The absence of fans got more press than the eventual champ. No agency worth the fee would allow that to happen. Heads gotta roll.

The Crow
Nov 13th, 2002, 02:21 PM
Originally posted by tennischick
were folks just going to show up for the expected final? did the anticipation of an all-Williams final help contribute to the relative lack of interest in the opening rounds?

Sevenrichie: this is from the inital post of tc. If this is understood as Williams-bashing, then my English isn't good enough apparently :confused:

The Crow
Nov 13th, 2002, 02:21 PM
And I totally agree with Volcana.

Nov 13th, 2002, 02:24 PM
I agree, Volcana. From the looks of it, they didn't advertise the event properly and the tickets were too expensive.

Nov 13th, 2002, 02:32 PM
Originally posted by the Crow:
Originally posted by tennischick
were folks just going to show up for the expected final? did the anticipation of an all-Williams final help contribute to the relative lack of interest in the opening rounds?

Then i think the question should have been, if the other ladies not stepping up help contribute to the relative lack of interest in the opening rounds. Going by this logic the finals attendance were going to be high in anticipation of the Williams/Williams final or else my comprehension of the english language isnt so good as i thought

Nov 13th, 2002, 05:12 PM
I think the lack of advertising as well as the lack of coverage of the other players contributed more than anything else. I did not see a single advertisement for this tournament (and I am a fan and was actually looking). Also, nearly every article I read basically said the same thing i.e. something to the effect of "Williams sisters on track for another final" with the other players being somewhat of an afterthought. I think this is a reflection of the Williams sisters popularity and hardly their fault.

So, I think the low attendance is really the fault of the promoters and the seeming inevitability of an All Williams final. If I understand correctly, the tickets for the opening rounds were as expensive as the tickets for the weekend. I would have saved my money for the weekend as well. Anyone who wanted to see the Williams sisters play probably felt pretty confident that they could wait til the weekend.

Nov 13th, 2002, 05:16 PM
If the anticipation of an all Williams final affected the attendance, it seems like the final attendance would have only been affected. It doesn't explain why the other matches had so few people watching. I'm not sure how the ticket sales were arranged, but I honestly don't believe that sales were so bad because of Venus and Serena.

Nov 13th, 2002, 05:49 PM
I agree totally with Volcana and with Sophie's last coment. Certainly, Williams fans could resonably have expected to be able to wait for a compeling weedend match before spending money on tickets. The fact is an indoor match between Henin and Hantukova or whomever is not terribly compelling. And frankly, judging be the crowds in Moscow, and elsewhere, it wasn't compelling there either.

Frankly, the fact that early round crowds were SO poor is a crime of mismangement. If the promoters had given away a couple thousand seats to early round matches they might have made some money on parking and consessions. But to broadcast those empty seats to a national audience is a very poor message to send, and likely would hurt sponsership. Its criminal to those of us who love the sport.

Nov 13th, 2002, 11:54 PM
It's Los Angeles, for chrissake. Why the hell didn't they try and comp some celebrities into the front row? That's what it usually takes down there.

Nov 14th, 2002, 12:43 AM
If the WTA promoted ALL WTA player then the masses
would know who the other players are besides the
American ones!!!!

Nov 14th, 2002, 01:00 AM
thanks for those of you who made an attempt to understand my question, especially to Crow for highlighting the words from my original post. i am simply asking a question. i am not bashing anyone and no sinister motives need be impugned. phew!!! it's so difficult to discuss anything once the Sisters are involved. perhaps in my next thread i'll ask if some of their hypersensitive, paranoid fans help contribute to the death of healthy tennis discussion!!! :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

now back to the topic.

there were clearly many factors that affected attendance in the early rounds of LA. i started a separate thread quoting Jon Wertheim who listed those factors as well as his suggestions for change. and then it occurred to me that the problem of attendance seemed to be specific to the early rounds but not to the semis or finals when the Center seemed largely full. and so i wondered if the fact that the ONLY thing the media kept repeating ad nauseam was that the Sisters were heading towards another showdown may indeed have been ONE factor in why folks just ignored the early rounds.

in other words, did this unilateral focus on the Sisters actually help kill off attendance in the earlier rounds, meaning that folks were perfectly willing to stay at home and wait for the excitement to start -- during the expected finals match.

even if this is indeed the case, understand that in no way am i saying that this is their fault. it's not a question of fault or blame (such a primitive way of thinking, phew!!!!) but of management and mismanagement. perhaps the WTA needs to start doing what the ATP did with its New Balls Please drive and start selling some of these other players who also play good tennis, even if they rarely make it to the finals. this is of course a difficult proposition. how to sell your featured *Stars* while also selling some of the also-rans. no wonder i'm not in the advertising business! :eek:

certainly the WTA can't afford to have tournaments in which people stay away in droves and just show up for the expected *Stars* in the finals.

Nov 14th, 2002, 01:05 AM
I was there the whole week. When Venus or Serena played, they actually had fuller attendance. Kim-Justine Quarters had the worse with less than 200 people attending. The crowd in LA went there to see Venus and Serena. Without them, it would be been even worse. There were WAY lots of people there who aren't big tennis fans but wanted to see (especially) Serena because of her breakaway year and her celebrity status. Believe me, they wouldn't have been there if the Williams girls weren't there. It wasn't like they were clamouring en masse for Lindsay and Jelena (although I like them and would still have gone down there).

Nov 14th, 2002, 01:08 AM
thanks vs1. that is precisely what i was asking. ;)

Nov 14th, 2002, 01:11 AM
One more thought. Serena is one of my faves and I went to every single match because I wanted to see her play (and others as well). In fact, I enjoy the early rounds better because they produce more "fire" and potential upsets. And it's easier to get autographs!

I think it's all attributed to publicity and marketing. First of all, the title of this was horrible. My friends in LA didn't have a clue tennis was even going on (and Monica Seles said the same thing). Home Depot Championships presented by Porsche?! Who (besides hardcore tennis fans) would even know that it had anything to do with tennis? And there were no posters, signs, or anything in front of the Staples Centre to publicise it. It was pretty bad. I'd walk to each game and the scalpers were constantly dismayed as not being able to sell their tickets. Anyhow, I think that we shouldn't blame the players. They did their part. Monica and Serena were in LA three weeks before the tournament promoting the event. But it was too late.

But I stand with my previous assertions that if it wasn't for Venus and Serena, it would've been even more dismal. The WTA should be thanking them right now. Which matches were the best last week? Venus-Monica, Serena-Jenn, Serena-Kim. Who's the common link here?!

Nov 14th, 2002, 01:20 AM
OK. I'm long winded. One more point. The tickets were really expensive for what you got. I ended up paying $80 a session (session included 1 singles, 1 double) because I planned and bought a package in advance. I later found out that I could've gone to the box office, at the day of the event, paid for 2-for-1 $25 tickets (they were desperately trying to fill seats at this point) and then just walked down to the $80 seats. That would've been a bargain (when there are only 200 occupied seats out of 20,000, no one cares who sits where). Instead, I was like, "Damn! Spent my year's savings on these tickets!" and felt I overpaid. Oh well. C'est la vie.