As we all know, there exists a serious disparity between the WTA Tour and the ATP Tour, in terms of the prize money offered for their events.
Putting the Grand Slams aside --- though Wimbledon and Roland Garros refuse to offer equal prize money --- the ATP Tour events, from the lowest to the highest, far outstrip the WTA Tour. Personally, I'm of the opinion that women's tennis is at least as popular, if not more so, than men's tennis; and the growth and development of the women's game has surpassed that of the men's. The players on the WTA Tour are much more interesting than those of the ATP; even with the dominance of the top 8 female players. It's ridiculous that a Tennis Masters event for the men has prize money totalling $2,450,000; while an equivalent Tier I event for the women stands at $1,300,000. Not only that, while the smallest events on the ATP Tour have a minimum of $380,000 in prize money; the lowly Tier III-V events on the WTA Tour make due with $110,000-170,000. I realize that this problem exists for all of women's sports, but I"ve always felt that in tennis, the gap between men and women has/is shrinking much more quickly than in other sports.
Corporations are largely to blame of course; they're under the mistaken impression that the men's game is more popular and worthy of support. When have you seen or heard anything noteworthy coming from the world of men's tennis lately or in the last couple of years (other than the retirement of Pete Sampras)?
I hope this disparity disappears in the near future; it's time that the WTA Tour, and professional female tennis players worldwide finally get their equal financial due alongside the men.
Oct 7th, 2003, 06:22 AM
Just FYI, after the Slams, there are only 3 "levels" of tournaments for the men: TMS, International Series Gold, and International Series. Hence, not as many tournaments to spread the money pool so thin.
Also, this is going to make me sound terribly unpopular, but if the women want equal prize money, they should do equal work. Best of five-set Slam matches and year-ending championships, as well as in some of the Tier I's (the only TMS finals for the men that aren't best of five are the ones in North America).
Oct 7th, 2003, 06:41 AM
I realize that the ATP has fewer levels of events; but in actuality they have MORE tournaments (68 total vs 60 for women). Since the International Series is their lowest level (minimum $380,000 prize money), they have more tournaments in each of the fewer levels; and since their prize money starts so much higher, I don't see your logic.
As for women working for equal money (i.e. 5 set matches), I'm actually a proponent of that. For the men and women, the Grand Slams, Championships, and all Tennis Masters/Tier I events should use the 5 set format; to distinguish themselves from the less prestigious events. If that were the case, this argument (equal money for equal work) that Wimbledon and Roland Garros continue to use to justify their refusal to offer equal prize money to women, would become irrelevant.
Oct 7th, 2003, 12:51 PM
well, I don't know...
sometimes, when you compare the time spent on court by men and women, this disparity can seem partly justified...
still I agree that in terms of "popularity" that brings money to the sport, women's demands are highly justified as well...
Oct 7th, 2003, 02:29 PM
Sorry but I have no wish to see Martinez -v- Coetzer play a best of five match. Isn't it bad enough that the WTA rankings reward quantity over quality?
Oct 7th, 2003, 02:40 PM
Don't blame corporations. Blame the women. They are in charge of their tour, and they hire the people to represent them. They need to be a bit more savvy in marketing their sport.
On top of that, let's compare the Tier 1 tournaments for men and women. The Men's is a 64-draw, one-week event, where almost all -- there are some exceptions and those players are penalized -- of the top 56 players play, plus 8 qualifiers. They are arguably the most difficult tournaments to win, even more difficult than a Grand Slam in my mind. The women's Tier 1 tournaments are a joke. The top players don't play them -- or at least only a few of the top players play them. When's the last time Tokyo or Moscow had a decent draw, with all the top players. Even the clay court tournaments and the Canadian Open had poor draws this year.
Let's put the blame where it belongs -- on the people running the women's game. With everything women's tennis had going for it the past five years, they should have made tremendous inroads. Instead they squandered a golden opportunity.
Oct 7th, 2003, 02:44 PM
I don't think most of the WTA players are fit enough to play a gruelling 5-set format Slam yet, so I wouldn't favour that option. On the other hand, if most of the corporate money is going to the men's tour, allowing them to have higher prizes, the corporations clearly know something that we don't regarding return of investments.
Sexist theories aside, corporate money is invested and stays where the return is quicker or more profitable. That's basic capitalism and that's why the Super Bowl is prime advertising territory. If the investmest is not returning good resusts, the financial sources dry up and sponsors are the first to bail out. Tennis in general has been hard hit by today's tough economic times, and the ATP took a huge blow after the IMG debacle. But it's the WTA who seems the most susceptible and fragile to the turning sponsorship cycles.
What most posters in here fail to understand, is that the WTA does not profit on an ATP loss, that money will go elsewhere. Both tours are intimately correlated under the sponsor's point of view, and there is a reason why the tours joined events are the most attended, prestigious and desired by the corporations.
Oct 7th, 2003, 02:59 PM
Don't believe for one minute that men deserve more money at Grand Slams because they play 5 sets. It's not an issue. Is a film better because it's five hours long rather than three hours long? It's all about the quality of tennis and its entertainment value.
Oct 7th, 2003, 06:02 PM
I think that in the tier I, II, etc, they should have the same prize money.
But not in GS, because the men play in 3 winning sets!
Oct 7th, 2003, 06:06 PM
It is justified for the Slams becuase the men have to play best-of-five sets, but not for the Nasdaq or Indian Wells tournaments where men and women play best-of-three sets.