April 25, 2006

Men's winner will still earn more than women's: The All England Club said Tuesday the men's champion will receive $1.170 million and the women's winner $1.117 million -- a 4 percent increase for both in British currency. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tournament with unequal prizes for the two champions. Wimbledon insists it's fair to pay the men more than the women. The women call it sex discrimination.

posted by STUNNER to tennis at 04:48 PM - 47 comments

So the article suggested that the revenue, endrsement and ratings, is about the same for men and women, is that right?

posted by everett at 05:16 PM on April 25

What would Keith Hernandez say?

posted by roberts at 05:45 PM on April 25

Millionaires whining. Cue the world's tiniest violin.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 06:37 PM on April 25

what does this have to do with being a millionaire?

posted by everett at 07:18 PM on April 25

Women are actually the bigger draw. I don't think equal's too much to ask. And if you don't win the tournament, and only go, say a round or two, I somehow doubt that you're pulling a seven-figure check. And principle does count for something here. You might want to use a ever-so-slightly larger violin there, Yitzhak.

posted by chicobangs at 07:28 PM on April 25

The woman want to be considered equal-thats fine. To get the same payout they should have to play "Best of 5 sets" not "Best of three".

posted by jwhite613 at 08:09 PM on April 25

Hah hah, this is too tempting...

posted by mjkredliner at 08:09 PM on April 25

What I love is how readily people come out and admit that they are chauvinists.

posted by everett at 08:25 PM on April 25

Whoever is the bigger draw should get the bigger pay check! Just like it should be in the NCAA!

posted by bkdet at 08:28 PM on April 25

Oh...what I meant by the NCAA comment is that which ever program brings in the most money should receive the most financial support!

posted by bkdet at 08:29 PM on April 25

"The man want to be considered equal-thats fine. To keep earning more than the woman they should have to prove they're more popular than the woman." Number of sets played is a red herring, and I can prove it: Quick quiz! without googling, how many top women's players can you name? Six? Eight? Twelve? Now, just as quick: can you name at least as many top men's players? Be honest. Now, as a casual Hernandez-level tennis watcher, tell me that you'd rather watch five sets of, let's say, Rafael Nadal than three sets of, let's say, Elena Dementieva. Try to keep a straight face.

posted by chicobangs at 08:51 PM on April 25

Funny chico, I got exactly 12 of each.

posted by everett at 09:13 PM on April 25

What's unique about tennis is that the women are a bigger draw because of their sex appeal rather than their ability to play at the highest level of the sport. How many tournaments has Anna Kournikova won? How much money has she made? If the women want equal pay in tennis, they should play best of five sets in both singles and doubles. If they want to make more money than male tennis players, they should be part-time supermodels, which some of them already are (e.g. Serena Williams in the SI swimsuit issue!)

posted by TerpFan at 09:35 PM on April 25

I don't understand why the amount of sets has anything to do with anything. is the idea that the men are working harder because they play more sets? and if that is the real reason that the women are getting paid less, than why are LPGA purses smaller? The whole three vs five argument doesn't hold any water.

posted by everett at 09:47 PM on April 25

What's unique about tennis is that the women are a bigger draw because of their sex appeal rather than their ability to play at the highest level of the sport. I don't think that's quite unique to women's tennis. What about Misty May, or Brandi Chastain, or Gabrielle Reece, or Natalie Gulbis, or Danica Patrick, or Jim Palmer, or Andy Roddick, or any NBA or NFL player (and there have been many) who's ever done an ad with his shirt off? Besides, the sex-appeal money is earned off the court. Maria Sharapova (or Serena, or Sania Mirza, or name-your-starlet-of-choice) wins tournaments all over the place, and (in every other major at least) they make as much as Federer or Nadal or Nalbandian or whoever. The maxim that Western society favors cheesecake to beefcake to sell products is less and less true every year, and has (or should have) nothing to do with on-court performance money anyway. The only thing that should be tied to the size of the purse is who's coming to see who play. And there, the women are at least the equal of the men, if not their superior. And people who don't actually succeed at the highest levels of their sport should not be mentioned in this discussion. Kournikova is a model who dabbled in tennis. She doesn't count.

posted by chicobangs at 10:01 PM on April 25

Chico, I hate to correct you, because you are kinda the boss around here and I typically agree with your comments, but Anna Kournikova went for about 3 or 4 years where she was consistently ranked in the top 25 in the world in both singles and doubles play, and I think in 99 she was the best womens doubles player in the world, not to mention she was like 8th in singles play. So... "dabbled" might be taking just a little bit away from her career. She didn't really start to fall off at tennis until well after it became clear that it was no longer her primary interest in life.

posted by everett at 10:32 PM on April 25

I'm nobody's boss. Say that again and you're fired. Part of the problem with Anna K. is that she had such promise for so long. (She was actually ranked #1 in the world in doubles for a while.) I may be harsh, but given that there are so many Russian women (Dementieva, Kuznetsova, Petrova, Sharapova, Myskina, Zvonareva, Safina, I'm sure there's more) who've done better than her (i.e. they've actually won singles tournaments and/or reached the top 5) and that such a disproportionate amount of time, ink and pixels have already been wasted on her abortive tennis career, that speaking only for myself, I'm sick to death of hearing about her in a sports context. That's all. I really don't mean to sound dismissive or bossy. I'm just mouthy sometimes. Feel free to call me on it any time.

posted by chicobangs at 10:43 PM on April 25

The LPGA doesn't get the sponsership money because ratings are as good as the PGA. Didn't the LPGA a few years ago ask there women to dress more sexy to try and increase ratings?

posted by jwhite613 at 11:31 PM on April 25

(All England Club chairman Tim) Phillips said because of the physical demands of best-of-five matches, the top men rarely play in Grand Slam doubles events and they earn less overall than women, who often compete in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. "It just doesn't seem right to us that the lady players could play in three events and could take away significantly more than the men's champion who battles away through these best-of-five matches. "We also would point that the top 10 ladies last year earned more from Wimbledon that the top 10 men did." (emphasis added) (original quote located at BBC News) As a point of fact, the ladies' prize pool grew at a faster rate this year than did the gentlemens'. and chicobangs, while the first round losers did not make 7 figure incomes in 2005 they *did* make 5 figures about $19560 for the gentlemen and $14040 for the ladies.

posted by elovrich at 12:18 AM on April 26

An obviously dated observation by the Pacific Research Institute, whatever that is, and for whatever it's worth. Fair or not, doesn't the men's circuit generate more money for the prize pool by virtue of their longer matches? I'm not well versed in the financial side of these tourneys, but a cursory study seems to indicate that the longer matches generate more revenue, by way of advertising and such. If the men are generating substantially more cash into the pool, I have to wonder if it's really fair to split it 50/50. is the idea that the men are working harder because they play more sets? and if that is the real reason that the women are getting paid less, than why are LPGA purses smaller? One explanation might be that, by my understanding, the LPGA play from the ladies' tees, so they are actually playing a shorter course. That in no way should be viewed as a comment dismissive of the women's game -- it's just something I came across while researching sports revenue across genders. I am a big proponent of women's sports. Shorter matches and shorter playing fields are clearly keeping women from getting equal recognition, and I'd really like to see these discrepancies dropped so that female athletes won't have to struggle with these payout inequities anymore.

posted by BullpenPro at 12:59 AM on April 26

I read that thing on the BBC that elovrich quoted - and for me, the bit said SpoFite italicised, pretty much ends the argument about money. The top women are taking home more than the top men, regardless of who gets what for winning the title. Something I keep getting confused by is shorter courses for women in golf and different disciplines for women in athletics. The latter (particularly given my current boy project) keeps croping up. Why can't women do a decathlon instead of a heptathlon? It's just too hard? I think the days are surely gone when we're safeguarding the dizzy little ladies (bless them) from getting all hot and flustered. Can someone explain it to me?

posted by JJ at 05:52 AM on April 26

The top women are taking home more than the top men, regardless of who gets what for winning the title. I don't see why this decision should be based solely on what the top men and women are making. I think that the purses should be equal for women vs. men -- not top women vs. top men. It shouldn't matter which men or women are earning the purses for doubles when making this decision. I think it is just an excuse to justify their decision, rather than a rational basis on which to make the decision. I do agree that this best of 3 vs. best of 5 difference should either end or have a really good justification that I haven't heard yet (phased in over time to give everyone time to train properly).

posted by bperk at 08:04 AM on April 26

"what does this have to do with being a millionaire?" I would think "1.117 million-dollar purse" would be self-explanatory. "if you don't win the tournament, and only go, say a round or two, I somehow doubt that you're pulling a seven-figure check" That's not what the article's about though, is it? It's about the men's champion making $53,000 more than the women's champion, and each of them will make over a million dollars for winning one tournament.

posted by mr_crash_davis at 08:31 AM on April 26

This is ridiculous. This is the only tournament still running things this way - mostly because it's Wimbeldon, and they can. I think this is the way it is for two reasons: 1- the less money given to the players, the more money taken by the tournament (It's Wimbeldon - what? You're not gonna play?). 2- The ancient and traditional tournament structure has been that the men get more than the women. Don't doubt the old boys network, they would resent women earning as much or more (hence, the "women have greater opportunities to play doubles because of their comfy three set schedule", crap). All the rest of the discussion about variable set length, the way that the schedule favours women participating in more events, the relative popularity of the athletes based on their sex and sex appeal - all complete red herrings and defensive rationalities. All discredit women players as athletes and these organizers seem to be in denial as to the true power gender in tennis.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:32 AM on April 26

It seems that this has only become a public issue this year, now that the French Open has made its prizes equal, leaving Wimbledon as the lone holdout. Where was the indignation in years past? This is a French conspiracy I tell you! Jacques Chirac is behind the whole thing! Really, given the fact that the ladies' prize pool grew at a faster rate than the gentlemens', I am of the opinion that this is much ado about nothing. Some of the players and others involved in this say it is the principle of the thing, not the difference itself, they realize that in the grand scheme $53,000 against $1.14 million is chump change. Well, if they feel so strongly about their principles, let them boycott the fortnight until the prize pools are equal. This may be the 'further action' that V.Williams meant, but I have to wonder which of the top ladies will be the first to pull out in protest.

posted by elovrich at 09:20 AM on April 26

the true power gender in tennis If I say to you, "Who is Wimbledon champion?" you could answer in three ways: 1) Federer 2) Venus Williams 3) Mens or womens? Asked the same question, I knew 1), had to look up 2) and wouldn't have thought to say 3). So there. I think that proves beyond all reasonable doubt that I'm clearly a woman-hating asshole. And it's not about the money - it's about the principles - all fifty-three thousand of them.

posted by JJ at 09:36 AM on April 26

The money involved is much greater than $53,000. All of the women's prizes are smaller, in singles and doubles. If the same woman was winning damn near every grand slam, then you probably wouldn't have to look it up, JJ. We can ask which man is going to win Wimbledon this year, and most of us will guess Federer and probably be right. The fact that it is a wide open field and one woman is not dominating all others does not mean that the women's game is less interesting or worthy of less attention.

posted by bperk at 10:04 AM on April 26

Enlighten me someone, are spectators paying per set to see Wimbledon tennis or per match? If it is per set, then the more money for best of five as opposed to best of three argument makes sense. If it is per match, then that argument is full of holes. I've never given the price of tickets that much thought before this year.

posted by yzelda4045 at 12:07 PM on April 26

The best tennis player in the world is a man...the best player to win Wimbledon, while he might not in fact be the best player in the world, would surely be from the men's draw. What is wrong with the clearly better player getting an extra 5%? Does anybody want to argue that if the winners of each draw were to play each other the male would win in straight love sets?

posted by vito90 at 12:09 PM on April 26

What is wrong with the clearly better player getting an extra 5%? Since even a man ranked 65th would beat the best woman, then every man in the entire men's draw should get more money than the woman's winner, right?

posted by bperk at 12:16 PM on April 26

bperk, I kind of feel that way, yes...but I didn't want to say it because of the accusations of chauvanism being leveled at people simply for stating their opinions.

posted by vito90 at 12:28 PM on April 26

Does anybody know what the TV ratings are between the mens and womens matches? Guys may know more woman tennis players but are they watching the actual matches. Or do they know the woman players thru all the ads on TV and male targeted magazines. Also ESPN tends to highlight the winners and the most popular (or should I say sexy and or attractive).

posted by jwhite613 at 12:42 PM on April 26

Bperk... I think you forgot to read the article this time... The problem is that wimbledon is really the only major that still has a smaller purse for women! Jwhite: The article seems to claim that women's ratings are just as good if not better in may cases... Although after reading your comment about 5 times, I have absolutely no idea where you were going with the whole ratings thing.

posted by everett at 12:59 PM on April 26

Wimbledon's justification for this disparity has nothing to do with the revenue generated by the men's tennis vs. women's tennis. If it were, then these inquiries would be logical. If men's tennis was a huge profit generator and women's were not, then it would make perfect sense that men got a large payday. However, the best justification that Wimbledon offered was the opportunity of the top women players to get paydays from playing doubles, so that they end up with a larger payday. At least focus on the merits of the argument instead of making up alternative justifications without any factual support. vito, watching the 65th man play the 64th man does not draw huge audiences, regardless of whether the men could beat any woman head-to-head. In fact, many people prefer the women's game. As such, it generates tons of revenue. What you are suggesting is that despite the amount of revenue that women's tennis generates, the men should get the money anyway, just because they could beat the the women even though they don't play one another.

posted by bperk at 01:00 PM on April 26

Bperk... I think you forgot to read the article this time... The problem is that wimbledon is really the only major that still has a smaller purse for women! No, I read the article. However, it is not just the women's winner, but the doubles and the runners-up and semifinalists.

posted by bperk at 01:02 PM on April 26

Since even a man ranked 65th would beat the best woman, then every man in the entire men's draw should get more money than the woman's winner, right? For me (who, admittedly barely watches tennis), I don't think this comparison holds water: the men's game seems like a bunch of service aces while we wait for Federererer to get his trophy, whereas the women's game has serve, volley, baseline, net, y'know, actual tennis in it. I can watch the women's game. Men's tennis could be recreated in my driveway with a brick wall and a tennis ball machine.

posted by yerfatma at 01:53 PM on April 26

Yeah, but -- five sets instead of three! The broads ain't even trying! And hey, they can always get their money from doing swimsuit calendars, so y'know, it's still even and stuff! They don't gotta get paid from playin' tennis! And Federer could beat 'em all, so why do they even bother? Who cares about ratings or who watches what matches? No one goes to watch women's tennis, right? Am I right, fellas? High five! Go Vikings! (Did I miss any of the important points in the case against women making equal pay, or is that the gist of it?)

posted by chicobangs at 02:09 PM on April 26

vito - I don't know where to start with an assertation that since a man can/should beat a women at a sport, they should get paid more despite the fact that men don't play women in said sport. So you're saying Wimbeldon is right to award bigger stronger men more money than women and the rest of the tennis world is wrong since they have equal purses (purses!? It's a gynocracy!)? Dude. That's pretty ridiculous. That's not chauvanism as much as terrible reasoning. Were the rest of the world organized according to these principles we'd never have escaped the 16th century.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:24 PM on April 26

We escaped the 16th centu... Shit! *stops wearing ruffs* Actually, I'm having a SpoFi conversion moment. The women should be getting paid the same as the "gentlemen" (and Andy Murray should get nothing for being an oik). They are playing in the same tournament (albeit in different divisions - allocated by gender, not ability), which, as a whole, is generating a certain amount of money. To say that one subdivision of the tournament deserves more of a slice of the pie than another is tenuous; to say such a thing based on the sex of the subdivision is probably pretty close to sexual discrimination. I think what got me on the other side of the argument before was the analogy with women's golf - that's a whole other ball game. Tournaments are separate there - it's not like the men and the women will rock up at Winged Foot and play the men's and women's US Opens at the same time. The lower rates of pay of the women golfers has to do with the revenues their tour generates. In tennis, you can't say that one group is generating more than another in the majors as they all play together at the same venue at the same time.

posted by JJ at 02:40 PM on April 26

Men's tennis could be recreated in my driveway with a brick wall and a tennis ball machine. Oh, thank God. I thought you were using those to make a comment about Derek Jeter's defense. Were the rest of the world organized according to these principles we'd never have escaped the 16th century. I was totally with you up until this comment. What have you got against the 16th century? Brought us Shakespeare AND the Mona Lisa, and we haven't quite topped them yet... On preview: ...and apparently JJ's wardrobe... In tennis, you can't say that one group is generating more than another in the majors as they all play together at the same venue at the same time. Actually, JJ, I was going to make a very similar argument, but even that is irrelevant. As bperk quite astutely pointed out, Wimbledon isn't even arguing from a total revenue standpoint. Their argument is that women get to generate more income because they have the opportunity (presumably by virtue of their shorter games) to play in more competitions. The problem, it seems to me, comes down to this 3 sets vs. 5 sets issue -- women should be playing the same number of sets as men, in my opinion, and not just to justify an equal prize pool.

posted by BullpenPro at 02:47 PM on April 26

Their argument is that women get to generate more income because they have the opportunity (presumably by virtue of their shorter games) to play in more competitions. Not all women, it is just the top women that get to play in more competitions. More different men get a chance at Wimbledon money because the top men do not compete in the doubles.

posted by bperk at 03:18 PM on April 26

For me (who, admittedly barely watches tennis), I don't think this comparison holds water: the men's game seems like a bunch of service aces while we wait for Federererer to get his trophy, whereas the women's game has serve, volley, baseline, net, y'know, actual tennis in it. I can watch the women's game. Men's tennis could be recreated in my driveway with a brick wall and a tennis ball machine. In general, I'm in complete agreement with you WRT the differences between the men's and women's game; however, there are some very hopeful signs for the men's game -- at least in any match that doesn't include Federer. Some Spofites saw one such match. But was it a final? Nope. And has there been a men's final in recent years to compare with, f'rinstance, Davenport vs. Williams at last year's Wimbledon? Not IMO. That was the real "you got your money's worth" match of the whole tournament. p.s. anyone else wanna go to this year's Open?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:55 PM on April 26

lbb! you're alive! welcome back. i'm totally up for the open again. i will keep you posted if my alumni association gets discounted tickets again this year.

posted by goddam at 09:14 PM on April 26

We missed ya miz bat.

posted by justgary at 10:06 PM on April 26

YAY!

posted by chicobangs at 02:36 AM on April 27

Welcome back, lbb. You were one of the reasons I joined then stayed around. My life is now complete.

posted by owlhouse at 07:10 AM on April 27

aagh, guys, cutitout, pleez. I missed you all too, lotsa.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:58 AM on April 27

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