Thursday, September 6, 2007

Coach Hubie Brown Visits Flushing Meadows

You are the head of the ATP Tour.

You have seen tennis fall way behind its main competitor (golf) in the hearts and minds of American sports fans since the advent of the Tiger Era.

You know that at comparable spots on the respective money lists, your tennis pros -- whose careers are significantly shorter -- make 1/4th to 1/3rd of the money that the equivalent spot on Tim Finchem's golf pros make. (E.g., tennis #10 Richard Gasquet: $791K; golf #10 Adam Scott: $2.96M; #20 tennis pro Carlos Moya: $676K; #20 golf pro Mark Calcavecchia, $2.29M; #50 tennis pro David Nalbadian, $350K; #50 golf pro Billy Mayfair, $1.38M)

You also know that the PGA has upped the ante with a flawed -- but still widely publicized -- Fedex Cup.

And finally, you get the most dominant player of the era -- Roger Federer, his sport's answer to Tiger Woods (at least according to Gillette) -- playing the highest-ranked, and last-remaining, US player -- Andy Roddick -- in the sole Grand Slam event played in America.

So what do you do?

Naturally, you start the match after 10pm, and for the second night in a row, an Open semifinalist is determined after midnight; the night before, 15th-seeded David Ferrer defeated popular #2-seed Rafa Nadal in four sets, the final point coming at 1:50am.

See, if you want to attract a new generation of fans -- young players who will in 20 years be interested in buying tickets to Grand Slam events -- there's no better way than having the biggest point of the night (Federer's handcuffing block of Roddick's 140-mph serve at 4-4 in the second set tiebreak) be seen by dozens of television viewers.

1 comment:

Matt Eastwick said...

I think the answer to "Why so late?" lies in the pecking order of modern day tennis.

Exhibit A: The V. Williams/Jankovic match was moved from Tuesday to Wednesday for prime time viewing

Exhibit B: 29-35, which is the United States' record in Men's and Women's Singles matches. With only Venus left in either draw, a .500 record is not obtainable

So the women are more popular than the men and America has no hometown heroes to root for. Maybe it started so late so that Europe coul dwatch the end when it was waking up......