Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's About Time

After more than a century (123 years to be exact), the All England Club at Wimbledon finally came to its senses today and announced that it would be handing out equal prize money to both men and women after years of giving women a lesser purse.

The argument that had been used that women were paid less than the men because they play fewer sets is total bunk. This is the entertainment business, and if the fans are entertained, that should be the determining factor in the bottom line. You are paid what you are worth in the market. That's the way it goes, particularly in sports. This isn't a 40 hour a week office job where overtime pay makes sense. It doesn't make sense to apply it to this situation. Does anyone say that they were cheated of an optimal spectator experience after watching a thrilling, 3-set tiebreak women's match just because they didn't play an extra two sets? Conversely, it doesn't take a whole lot longer for a dominating male player than it does a woman to blow through his opponent in straight sets. In that case, aren't you merely delaying the inevitable anyway?

I would argue as well that the women's side of the draws in majors are usually a lot more interesting to watch than the men's side. At this point in time, the men's side is basically all about battling to become the sacrificial lamb at Roger Federer's altar. There's no drama involved. On the women's side though, you get some variety, which very recently came up in a big way when Serena Williams came out of nowhere (well, that's overstating it for a player of her enormous ability, but I digress...) to win the Australian Open. So pay them what they're worth, that's all there is to it.

The other side of this is that Wimbledon was really starting to look bad after the French Open last year joined the U.S. Open and Australian Open in offering equal prize money to each of the sexes. That left Wimbledon, the most prestigious event in the sport, the venue you most closely associate with tennis, looking, rightfully so, like the old codger unwilling to let go of the old days. Anyways, I bet the All England Club is not hurting for money in the least to give as prize money.


Mini Me said...

I am not sure why this is the case. Do the PGA and LPGA get the same purse earnings for their events? No. Why should this be equal? If more fans watched the women than the women would be paid mroe.

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

Hey man,

Found you blog via mine. Thanks for the inpiut.

It's about time that pay was fair for women as it is for men in tennis.

Personally, the women's game is far, far more colorful than the one dimensional game where Federer and Nadal seem to win like every other tourney...

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