BNP Paribas Open CEO Calls ATP Decision To Not Increase Tourney's Purse "Bizarre"
BNP Paribas Open CEO Raymond Moore said that the ATP World Tour BOD next week will "vote again on the prize money increase" for this year's tournament, but he is "pessimistic it will pass," according to Leighton Ginn of the Palm Springs DESERT SUN. The ATP voted in November not to approve an $800,000 prize increase for this year's edition of the tournament. Moore said, "It's bizarre to say the least." Moore: "We thought it was a slam dunk. The players approved it unanimously and the distribution formula we offered." Ginn noted three ATP player reps at the BOD meeting "voted for the raise, while the three tournament representatives voted against it." ATP Exec Chair & President Brad Drewett could have "cast the deciding vote, but elected to abstain." The WTA Tour had already approved the increase, but if the ATP does not vote for approval, the WTA's increase "won't happen, because the BNP Paribas Open's sanction is based on equal prize money." Moore added that the tournament will revert to prize money allocations from '11, "resulting in a sizable pay cut for the players on tour." Moore: "There’s an inherent conflict of interest with the tournament directors. It’s the tournament directors who are blocking it. Why would they want to block it? They want to put the muzzle or the bridle on Indian Wells or the BNP Paribas Open, so we don’t outdistance the tournaments around the world. I can’t think of another reason to block it” (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 2/10). Meanwhile, Emirates Airlines announced last week it is extending its sponsorship of the BNP Paribas Open through '15. The airline again will host the hospitality area entitled the Emirates' Garden Club (Emirates).
WAKE & SEE APPROACH: In North Carolina, Owen Covington reported the ATP Winston-Salem Open, which is part of the Emirates U.S. Open Series, will "feature a new center tennis stadium for this year's tournament." The change is "expected to provide less crowded seating areas while bringing more fans closer to the court." A temporary 4,300-seat stadium will "encircle center court adjacent to Wake Forest University's BB&T Field." It is "another step toward eventually building a permanent tennis stadium at the site." Tournament Dir Bill Oakes said that "permanent stadiums comparable to what is expected in Winston-Salem" cost $15-25M. Oakes said, "That is still our plan, but the good part is we think in the short term that we've found a really good solution." Covington noted that "solution" was from Switzerland-based stadium construction firm Nussli. After Oakes visited Nussli HQs last month, the Winston-Salem event "signed a multiyear, long-term lease" for the temporary stadium. WFU Associate AD Mike Buddie said that the university is not "actively pursuing plans to fund a permanent stadium." Covington notes with the event on WFU's property, some agreement with the university would be "necessary for the stadium to be built there" (TRIAD BUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/8 issue).