SBD/April 24, 2013/Events and Attractions

Wimbledon Won't Raise Ticket Prices Despite Increased Purse, Plans For Retractable Roof

Expansion plans at All England Club include three new courts
The All England Club "won’t raise ticket prices" this year at Wimbledon, "even after it announced the biggest prize-money increase ever seen in tennis and plans to build a second retractable roof," according to Danielle Rossingh of BLOOMBERG NEWS. The club yesterday said that it would "boost prize money for this year’s event" by 40% to $34.5M (all figures U.S.). The $9.9M increase is the "largest ever in player compensation, while the total purse is the biggest in the history of the sport." The men's and women's singles champions for this year's tournament will receive $2.4M each, which is 39% "more than last year." Wimbledon "saved the biggest increases for early-round losers." An exit in the first three rounds of the main draw will be "rewarded by as much as" 64% more pay, while players in the qualifying tournament will receive 41% more. Players falling in the opening round will see a prize increase of 62%. Meanwhile, the club is "planning to build a retractable roof over No. 1 Court" by '19, after spending $122M for a retractable roof over Centre Court in '09. Wimbledon also plans to "build three new courts north of No. 1, new player accommodations and landscaping that aims to give fans the experience of 'tennis in an English garden.'" All England Club Chair Phil Brook said of the Wimbledon ticket prices, which include a $31 ground pass for the tourney's first week, "All of our plans here are funded in a way that will not affect ordinary fans coming to Wimbledon" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 4/23).

LEVERAGE SERVED: In N.Y., Christopher Clarey writes Wimbledon's prize increase marks the "latest example of the players’ new bargaining power in an age of uncommon unity among the game’s biggest men’s stars." If there are "no further changes, the final prize-money figures for the Grand Slam tournaments" in '13 will be as follows: the Australian Open ($31M, up 15%), the French Open ($28.7M, up 16%), Wimbledon ($34.4M, up 40%) and the U.S. Open ($33.6M, up 31%). Though "unprecedented in size and scope, the raises do not match what the players were initially requesting." With the men "leading the way in negotiations," players wanted 25% of total revenue and "have not yet achieved that at any Grand Slam tournament" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/24).
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