Federer for five in a row? Too obvious. Women to get equal prize money? Interesting, but too late. (I’ve dealt with that before – they shouldn’t, but it’s complicated).
The numbers the Guardian is interested in is still a perennial. Where does all the money go?
David Conn looks at the some of the numbers, and there’s an underlying discontent in the fact that debentures fund the championships’ redevelopment of courts and so on. Referring to debenture seats, he notes:
A total of 2,300 were sold, raising £46m and occupying 16% of the seats, with a further 8% reserved for corporate hospitality packages. Ritchie defends the championships from accusations of exclusivity…
I presume his argument is that “real” fans don’t buy debentures. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many debenture tickets are owned by real fans. Just not all, and it upsets many debenture holders when the corporate non-fans ruin it for everyone else.
Anyway, those numbers in the Guardian:
Surplus made by Wimbledon in 2006
Total prize money this year
People expected to play tennis at least once this year
People expected to keep playing regularly
Cost of a Centre Court debenture for one seat for 2006-2010
Tennis courts in the UK, mostly ‘in a state of disrepair’, according to the LTA’s own report
If this seems so bad, think about the number of people who join a gym and then stop going. And the amount of money in football academies.
A little perspective on tennis is needed. Better public courts are needed, but it’s a cultural shift that is required as much as the money. Tennis is not seen as a sport to get out of poverty, like it is in some European countries, and was for the Williams sisters. It’s still a middle-class hobby in the UK, so the urgency just isn’t there. The numbers quoted by the Guardian only tell half the story.