Men Bark, Get Themselves (And The Women) More Money From Australian Open
by Sean Randall | October 2nd, 2012, 9:47 am
  • 13 Comments

It’s a busy tennis news morning for a second day in October. I’ll start with the announcement Down Under that the Australian Open will offer AUD $30 million in prize money, a record payout for any Grand Slam.

Recall the men began their affront on the Slams at the US Open last year, complaining that the Slams pocketed too much of the profit awarding less than 20% of the take to the player pool.

There was late, faint discussion of a player walkout at the 2012 Australian Open. The men then threatened to strike at the French Open.

The men continued their stand even as the Slams raised their purses, and recently their was a hint of a possible boycott of the Australian Open.

Now Melbourne has responded. The AUD $4 million dollar bump over last year should quiet any threat of a strike for now.

Tournament chief Steve Woods said the increase was the right move. “Indeed, our business will suffer from pain as we go to achieve this, but we are committed to making a contribution, a major contribution, to the compensation and the conditions of the players on tour – and I think $30 million is a major contribution.”

Added ATP CEO Brad Drewett, “We welcome the increase in prize money for the 2013 Australian Open and acknowledge the ongoing efforts of Tennis Australia to recognize the role of the players in the success of the tournament.”

Of course it’s only a matter of time before players feel they are underpaid again in a few years – who in pro sports or business doesn’t feel that way at some time – so we’ll see how long the good will lasts. And I support their unending plight. But what’s interesting is that while the men do all the legwork in this fight, the women get rewarded as well. Now what did the women do?


Also Check Out:
US Open Announces 37% Increase In Prize Money, Singles Champions Will Earn A Record $2.6M
About Time! US Open Officially Moves Men’s To Final To Monday; Adds Prize Money
However, The ATP Players Aren’t Thrilled By The US Open Prize Money Increase And Monday Final
Wimbledon Prize Money Increase: 2014 1st RD Losers Will Make More Than McEnroe Did For Beating Borg In 1981 Final
Vamos Rafa!

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13 Comments for Men Bark, Get Themselves (And The Women) More Money From Australian Open

John Says:

“Now what did the women do?”

Cry me a river. For your information, it has already been reported the WTA attempted to be part of the negotiations but the ATP just went on alone. It’s logical that together, the two tours would be able to push for even higher prize money and would hold even more power, but if the ATP don’t want that, it’s their problem.

Also, his may have been a valid dispute, but most of the countless other complaints from moany, entitled ATP players (or “weenies”, to quote Serena) like Nadal, Murray and Djokovic over the last 13 months have been anything but valid. On the other hand, the WTA players just get on with their tennis like true professionals.


jane Says:

Oh, so “barking” is the answer then? I could really use a raise too, so I think I’ll try it. ;)


Sean Randall Says:

Jane, let me know how it goes!


Margot Says:

Good luck with that jane..;)
But joining a union might be more useful…..;)


xmike Says:

they should separate the tours completely, and let the women fend for themselves; who cares about women’s tennis nowadays??

as an example, just compare the amount of posts (sometimes in the hundreds) any regular topic from the atp gets on this blog to the sometimes zero replies the wta topics receive; we just don’t give a sh*t about all those screaming clones anymore; they got equal pay, because in the 80s and 90s they were brilliant to watch, now they are just boring


jane Says:

Yeah, I suppose should probably go the union route Margot. ;) But if pushed, the old bark-a-roolie might be a good plan B. I’ll let ya know Sean.


Steve 27 Says:

On the other hand, the WTA players just get on with their tennis like true professionals.

Really funny! Serena is even worse than Mc Enroe with her mouth. You remember Serene when it threatened with death a lineswoman in the US Open against Kim and was become discredited by this sultry incident.? I do not imagine to Nadal, Djokovic, Murray realizing acts so vilely as that of the American. Y yes, the masculine tennis is speaking astronomic in another galaxy compared with the poorest feminine tennis.


Steve's Thesaurus Says:

Whatever Steve 27. You can not be serious. You can not realistically compare Serena’s two US open outbursts to McEnroe’s thousands. How is that Serena’s outburst casts a shadow on all of womens tennis? Nalbandian actually injured a line judge this year. And Llodra yelled racist epithets at a young girl in the crowd just this year. That does not point to the men being any more professional.


Dave Says:

The Australian Open’s 15 % increase in prize money may be the largest increase in the history of tennis — but it is still far from adequate. The rich Grand Slams must continue to increase prize money significantly more, based on their revenues.

This AUD$30 million (USD$31.1) in 2013 prize money makes up only about 18% of the estimated $160 to 170 million revenue that the 2013 Australian Open will probably make.

My guess is that the grand slams will be happy if they can get away with keeping prize money to below 25%. Imagine if you have a business that pays just 18% to the golden goose that lays the eggs, while you keep 82% for yourself. Those people making snarky remarks at the players should ask themselves which side keeps the 82%.

In the business world, a medium-sized organization with a few hundred employees might expect to pay labor costs of 30% to 60%. yet this business enterprise called the Australian Open pays only 18%. It’s even worse with the other – higher revenue – grand slams (US Open, Wimbledon, French Open).

The Australian Open said it increased by $10 million prize money from the last five years (Federer has been Player Council president since 2008). But a $10 million increase probably does not even keep pace with the revenue growth of the Australian Open. Between 2005 to 2012, the Australian Open’s revenue has doubled from about $80 million to about $160 million based on my analysis of data from various sources.
http://tinyurl.com/brm863o

The players are still being grossly underpaid, especially the men. In major pro sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, etc.), the players get around 50% of revenue. Even with the increases, the average male golfer will still makes more money than the average male tennis players.

This Australian $30 million prize money (US$31.1 million) is split 50:50 between men and women, so men get $15 million and women get $15 million. In other words, men get a $2 million (15%) increase and women get a $2 million (15%) increase.

The players can thank Federer for using his name, reputation and relationship with the grand slam organizations to drive through the big prize money increases – this has never happened in the past 44 years of the open era. The men players, led by Federer and the Player Council, worked hard, did the tough negotiations and the men players gave veiled threats to boycott the tournament . Apparently they asked for 20%. But the Australian Open gave the men only 15% because the tournament had to give equal prize money to the women’s events as well. A lot of women players must be very happy that they got pay increases without lifting a finger to ask for more money.

These protracted and messy negotiations must have been a burden for Federer, Butorac and relevant Player Council members involved – especially as they still also had to play tennis in the US Open and other events. They had to negotiate and gain commitment from the four grand slams separately, different players with different agendas, ATP, ITF , etc. For example, apparently some top players don’t want the prize money shared so much with the early round losers:

According to ‘John’, “the WTA attempted to be part of the negotiations but the ATP just went on alone.” The ATP is already dealing with negotiations and/or communications with the four different grand slams, the ATP and ITF. Adding the WTA is only going to complicate matters, given the WTA has their own agenda ( the WTA has different goals than the ATP: the top women players want higher prize money and are not motivated to share more prize money with the early round losers – unlike the ATP). Furthermore, what clout does the WTA really have with the slams? Everybody knows that without being able to piggy back on the prize money level to compensate men’s tennis, the women players would be making substantially less prize money on their own It’s the ATP and men’s players – with Federer’s reputation and relationships – that’s making all these prize money increases possible.

I think what Sean meant is this: the women knew that the men were in protracted negotiations for over a year for increased prize money for men’s tennis, so why didn’t the women ask for more prize money? Why were the women players silent, instead of asking for 25% or 30%. Whey was the WTA waiting for the men to get the prize money increases in order to use the “equal prize money” principle to automatically get pay increases? WTA players true professionals? Yeah, right.

From Australia’s national newspaper:

- “A comparison of the percentage increases between the four grand slams shows that, while the Australian Open will increase funding by 15 per cent, the US Open raised stakes by 11 per cent for this year, Wimbledon 10 per cent and the French just 7 per cent.”

- “Tiley and other Australian officials will head to Shanghai this weekend for further talks with Federer and the ATP to iron out how the additional prizemoney will be distributed.”

- “Although Federer’s view is that it be shared among the lower-ranked players – those beaten in the first-round of qualifying this year made about $3000 in the four slams, hardly enough to cover a trip to Melbourne from the northern hemisphere – it is understood some highly ranked players may not be as devoted to that ideology.”

http://tinyurl.com/bqpzusr


Dave Says:

Equal prize money for women tied to the results of negotiations done by the men — but not equal ticket prices!

Is something wrong with this picture?

2013 Australian Open adult ticket increases (2012 prices):

- Men’s final: $394.90 ($369.90)

- Women’s final: $294.90 ($289.90)

http://tinyurl.com/9buyrpu

According to the Australian media: Australian Open executives will seek input from Roger Federer and other ATP heavyweights in Shanghai this week before finalizing a fairer distribution of the increased wealth for 2013. “the conversation will resume this weekend at the Shanghai Masters, where several prize money models will be put to ATP player council representatives, including Federer, its president.”

As for the WTA , do they want the increased prize money to be allocated to the early round losers, or do they want the prize money to be directed to the latter rounds, to increase the prizes of the winner, finalist and semifinalists?


Dave Says:

The Australian Open’s 15 % increase in prize money may be the largest increase in the history of tennis — but it is still far from adequate. The rich Grand Slams must continue to increase prize money significantly more, based on their revenues.

This AUD$30 million (USD$31.1) in 2013 prize money makes up only about 18% of the estimated $160 to 170 million revenue that the 2013 Australian Open will probably make.

My guess is that the grand slams will be happy if they can get away with keeping prize money to below 25%. Imagine if you have a business that pays just 18% to the golden goose that lays the eggs, while you keep 82% for yourself. Those people making snarky remarks at the players should ask themselves which side keeps the 82%.

In the business world, a medium-sized organization with a few hundred employees might expect to pay labor costs of 30% to 60%. yet this business enterprise called the Australian Open pays only 18%. It’s even worse with the other – higher revenue – grand slams (US Open, Wimbledon, French Open).

The Australian Open said it increased by $10 million prize money from the last five years (Federer has been Player Council president since 2008). But a $10 million increase probably does not even keep pace with the revenue growth of the Australian Open. Between 2005 to 2012, the Australian Open’s revenue has doubled from about $80 million to about $160 million based on my analysis of data from various sources.

The players are still being grossly underpaid, especially the men. In major pro sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, etc.), the players get around 50% of revenue. Even with the increases, the average male golfer will still makes more money than the average male tennis players.

This Australian $30 million prize money (US$31.1 million) is split 50:50 between men and women, so men get $15 million and women get $15 million. In other words, men get a $2 million (15%) increase and women get a $2 million (15%) increase.

The players can thank Federer for using his name, reputation and relationship with the grand slam organizations to drive through the big prize money increases – this has never happened in the past 44 years of the open era. The men players, led by Federer and the Player Council, worked hard, did the tough negotiations and the men players gave veiled threats to boycott the tournament . Apparently they asked for 20%. But the Australian Open gave the men only 15% because the tournament had to give equal prize money to the women’s events as well. A lot of women players must be very happy that they got pay increases without lifting a finger to ask for more money.

These protracted and messy negotiations must have been a burden for Federer, Butorac and relevant Player Council members involved – especially as they still also had to play tennis in the US Open and other events. They had to negotiate and gain commitment from the four grand slams separately, different players with different agendas, ATP, ITF , etc. For example, apparently some top players don’t want the prize money shared so much with the early round losers.

According to ‘John’, “the WTA attempted to be part of the negotiations but the ATP just went on alone.” The ATP is already dealing with negotiations and/or communications with the four different grand slams, the ATP and ITF. Adding the WTA is only going to complicate matters, given the WTA has their own agenda ( the WTA has different goals than the ATP: the top women players want higher prize money and are not motivated to share more prize money with the early round losers – unlike the ATP). Furthermore, what clout does the WTA really have with the slams? Everybody knows that without being able to piggy back on the prize money level to compensate men’s tennis, the women players would be making substantially less prize money on their own It’s the ATP and men’s players – with Federer’s reputation and relationships – that’s making all these prize money increases possible.

I think what Sean meant is this: the women knew that the men were in protracted negotiations for over a year for increased prize money for men’s tennis, so why didn’t the women ask for more prize money? Why were the women players silent, instead of asking for 25% or 30%. Whey was the WTA waiting for the men to get the prize money increases in order to use the “equal prize money” principle to automatically get pay increases? WTA players true professionals? Yeah, right.

From Australia’s national newspaper:

- “A comparison of the percentage increases between the four grand slams shows that, while the Australian Open will increase funding by 15 per cent, the US Open raised stakes by 11 per cent for this year, Wimbledon 10 per cent and the French just 7 per cent.”

- “Tiley and other Australian officials will head to Shanghai this weekend for further talks with Federer and the ATP to iron out how the additional prizemoney will be distributed.”

- “Although Federer’s view is that it be shared among the lower-ranked players – those beaten in the first-round of qualifying this year made about $3000 in the four slams, hardly enough to cover a trip to Melbourne from the northern hemisphere – it is understood some highly ranked players may not be as devoted to that ideology.”

http://tinyurl.com/bqpzusr


Tennislover Says:

“they should separate the tours completely, and let the women fend for themselves; who cares about women’s tennis nowadays??”

While I am not able to persuade myself to watch a lot of women’s tennis, I am sure a lot of people still do. In my case, one reason is that I watch a lot of men’s tennis and other sports. I also don’t enjoy the ladies’ game too much nowadays. Most of them seem to have come off the assembly line. Their height, physique, outfits, games and even their shrieks are very similar. I do enjoy the odd Kvitova, when on song, or Radwanska and often marvel at Serena’s serving but I watch really very few matches and I do think – excuse me if I am offending any feminist here – that the female game has become too “masculine” for my taste. The lack of any intense rivalry at the top of the game, like Navratilova-Evert, Graf- Seles etc – is not helping matters.

I guess it is all about how marketable the atp and wta products are. Otherwise, nobody can justify equal pay for less work. Atp has a very good thing going for it for quite some time but wta has often did its fair share of heavy lifting in the past. The women were very popular in the late-80s and early 90s till Seles’ stabbing. There was a time in the early part of last decade when the top-ten had the likes of Davenport, Hingis, Willams sisters, Henin, Kljsters, Mauresmo, Capriati and Seles. Other talented players like Pierce,Dementieva etc were in contention as well and the wta tour was more competitive than the atp tour. Even during the mid-90s, Kournikova used to hog more limelight – obviously not for her tennis – than any male or female player. I guess it is cyclical. If superstars like Fed and Raf were to retire now, ATP would suffer a massive blow. I do not think Djoko or Murray have as much charisma and they will probably never be as popular as Fed and Raf and, if the wta gets lucky with a compelling rivalry at the top, things could start turning the other way.


subo Says:

no more storyies about nadal being hurt he is not he is serving a so called silent doping ban by the itf who is covering up for him in baseball when you cheat your name is out there where is the vermin in the press fans should know nadal is cheating

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