Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Wimbledon Prize Money

I spent a good portion of the July 4th weekend watching tennis, since the weather wasn't all that nice where I was. While watching the championship matches, all I could think about was how amazingly these people play. The Williams sisters were great, and then the Nadal/Federer match had me gasping repeatedly when seemingly ungettable shots would not only be returned, but then those returns would actually be perfectly placed winning shots. I had to leave to go back to NYC after the fourth set, so I was left wondering what happened and didn't get to see the final LONG set in which Nadal won. Wow.
But now that I'm back to my weekday blogging life, here's what I'm thinking about: how much money did they win!? Here's the dirt from the Wimbledon website:


2007
2008
Increase
Total Prize Money
£11,282,710
£11,812,000
4.7%
Gentlemen's Singles Winner
£700,000
£750,000
7.1%
Gentlemen's Singles Runner-up
£350,000
£375,000
7.1%
Ladies' Singles Winner
£700,000
£750,000
7.1%
Ladies' Singles
Runner-up
£350,000
£375,000
7.1%
Gentlemen's Doubles Winners
£229,000
£230,000
3.2%
Gentleman's Doubles Runners-up
£111,440
£115,000
3.2%
Ladies' Doubles Winners
£222,900
£230,000
3.2%
Ladies' Doubles
Runners-up
£111,440
£115,000
3.2%
Mixed Doubles Winners
£90,000
£92,000
2.2%
Mixed Doubles
Runners-up
£45,000
£46,000
2.2%

(£1 is currently about $1.98)

It's interesting to note that the prize money is increasing more or less in line with estimated inflation rates. But the prizes for the top singles players have increased far more than inflation, and the lesser prizes seem to be not quite keeping up with inflation. I guess in tennis, as in the rest of life, income inequality is increasing!

8 comments:

unspending said...

Interesting observation Madame X. This may be a little off-topic, but it should be noted that it was only last year that the women were offered equal prize money to the men.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/6385295.stm

I wish I caught the Federer/Nadal match. I heard it was possibly the best match in tennis history. Do you agree?

Madame X said...

How quickly we forget! I was thinking the equal prize money thing had happened a few years ago!

I don't watch enough tennis on a regular basis to be a good judge of the best match in history, but I think it was probably the most exciting, edge-of-the-seat, nail-biting sports event I have ever seen.

RacerX said...

I also wonder if the doubles prizes are per person or team...If by team (my guess) they are getting the shaft! :)

Chad @ Sentient Money said...

If women's tennis is as popular as men's tennis they should be paid equally. However, if one side, be it men or women, is more popular that gender should get paid more.

2008 Wimbledon TV Ratings:
Men's Final 4.6 rating/12 share
Women's Final 3.4/10 share

It's not equal to pay one gender more if the other gender earns more. This is not like getting the right to vote, where everyone only has one vote of equal value.

If a female CEO had 20% increase in profits for $100m company and a male CEO had a 5% increase in profits for the same company, should the man make the same as the woman? Women would not be too happy if this were the case, and neither would I. If both CEO's were men you would expect the 20% guy to earn more.

I'm not saying there aren't instances were men unfairly make more than women, but in the Wimbledon case the men pull in more viewers. Thus, more viewers should equal more money for the men, but it doesn't.

What's the old saying, "Two wrongs don't make a right."

Anonymous said...

Wow, I was looking for tennis commentary online after that fantastic finish on Sunday, and lo and behold one of my fave money blogs of all places had one! I just saw the rerun last night on ESPN classic!

Madame X said...

Chad, it's an interesting argument and in some ways the TV ratings make sense. But I feel that is a step removed from the players themselves. The players are being paid to go out there and play the best tennis they can-- it's then the job of the tournament host to do all the marketing and hype that turns their play into a TV extravaganza. If it was only about the individual players attracting viewers, then all the big championships should give equal prize money, since it's the same players, but I don't think the French and Australian Opens match Wimbledon's prize money even though it's usually the same players.
What is more to the point is the fact that men's matches can potentially go to 5 sets, whereas women only have to win 2 of 3. If they REALLY want to be fair, they should pro-rate the prize to the length of the match. Venus beat Serena in straight sets, thereby playing a heck of a lot less tennis for the same prize money as Nadal got!

Scott said...

Fantastic final between Federer and Nadal. I feel that either could have won it, but am glad to see Nadal win at wimbeldon this year. Great competition between the two will be fantastic for the sport of tennis. I enjoyed the final as much as watching Sampras and Agassi.

Anonymous said...

If women's tennis is as popular as men's tennis they should be paid equally. However, if one side, be it men or women, is more popular that gender should get paid more.

Agreed. And in general, women's tennis is much more popular, which is why the unequal Wimbledon winnings were so ridiculous. 2008 is a single data point, very much skewed because everyone believed this would be the year that Federer would fall, based on his (relatively) weak performance leading up to the event.