June 28, 2006

At Wimbledon, It's Advantage: Men

That's the headline of this CBSNews.com article. The sub-headline reads "When It Comes To Prize Money, Women Still Gets Less."

It's hard to beat Wimbledon for its annual show of tradition. The players still dress in white. The tennis is still played on grass. And as sure as there will be rain delays each year, [CBS News correspondent Richard Roth reports], the women will still be paid less than the men.

Nine-time women's champion Martina Navratilova says the All-England Lawn Tennis Club, which runs Wimbledon, just hates the idea of upsetting tradition.

The fact is that the All-England Club earned a $46 million profit last year, but will pay the women's champion $55,000 less than the winner of the men's title. That's not on account of the petunias — but because women's matches are shorter than men's matches.

It's an argument Navratilova's not buying.

"It's not quantity, it's quality," says Navratilova. "Sports is an entertainment … Tina Turner doesn't get paid less than (her) equivalent in the men because he's a guy and can hold a note longer."

But it is about quality too, Martina. Despite the fact that women's [tennis] matches are shorter, let's face it -- women by and large just cannot compete with men -- in tennis or in any other sport. This is why men get paid more for their sporting efforts, whether they be tennis, basketball or golf. Men hit harder, throw farther, run faster. It is a biological fact that cannot be changed. As a result, men's sports are more popular by far. People prefer watching the NBA over the WNBA. The soccer World Cup is light years more popular than the Women's World Cup. People would rather watch Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson than Annika Sorenstam or Se Ri Pak.

The article notes that the [tennis] US and Australian Opens "have paid equal prizes to women and men for years," and that "the French Open began doing it this year." Bully for them. They're politically correct. But if women really want to "be equal," then let's try abolishing all gender-separate sports, including the Olympic Games.

Let's see how the "fair sex" fares then. You can bet they'll want those separate sporting events with that lesser-than-men prize money back real quick.

Posted by Felix at June 28, 2006 03:42 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I discussed this with a female friend once. She was arguing that the WNBA isn't as popular because of sexism. I tried explaining to her that people like to see dunks, not well-executed jump shots. A basketball fan confirmed this to me. He prefers the WNBA because it's better executed and more fundamentally sound, but agreed that your "typical" basketball fan prefers dunks.

I think baseball is the same way: your typical fan prefers long home runs, but rabid fans like me prefer singles up the middle, well-executed bunts and stolen bases.

What appeals to the hard-core fan and the casual fan are often completely different and in today's society, finesse is less popular than power so women's sports suffer as a result.

Posted by: Paul Smith at June 28, 2006 04:33 PM

This might be the most idiotic thing I've ever read on this site. But at least I chuckled.

Posted by: dan at June 29, 2006 01:38 PM

Sorry, I should be more specific than that.

Ask around. Don't mindlessly generalize to all sports---because we regret to inform you that women's tennis is more popular among the average fan than men's. Women's tennis has gotten the headlines for the better part of a decade now, as the personalities and rivalries have sparkled and the men's game has devolved into a dreadfully boring power-fest led by charismaless characters like Sampras and Federer. Women's tennis is far more entertaining. Women's tennis (though the feminists might resent the reasons why) gets the press and the viewers.

John McEnroe wrote a few years ago pointing out all the reasons why women's tennis is bringing home the bacon and why the notion that they should get paid less because they play two fewer sets is laughable.

And Paul: in the case of tennis, finesse really is better. Plus they're hot.

Posted by: dan at June 29, 2006 01:54 PM

dan: If indeed women's tennis is more popular, then the market will bear that out. Wimbledon would apparently be behind the curve, then.

But for it to be the "most idiotic" thing you've read on this site, perhaps you'd like to go beyond tennis to Felix's main thrust -- let's scrap separate sports altogether in the name of TRUE equality ... and see how it plays out.

How would women fare then, danny? Let's see if you can keep the PC to at least 50% so I don't have to chuckle much.

Posted by: Hube at June 29, 2006 04:30 PM

let's scrap separate sports altogether in the name of TRUE equality ... and see how it plays out.

Gee, Hube, why don't we also let children compete with adults?! Boxing lightweights with heavyweights! And paraplegics with those who can use their legs? Juniors Hockey. Boxing Divisions Special Olympics. Pansies, all..... it would be much more compelling to let everyone play one another, you're right.

Idiotic, like I said.

Posted by: dan at June 29, 2006 06:53 PM

No dan, what's truly idiotic is your claim that the post is idiotic for its taking the stance that women should not be paid as much as men for an inferior sporting product. Here's the logic:

1. Women like Navratilova want equal pay, which must mean
2. women put out an equal product. So, it's logical to then
3. scrap separate sporting events for the sexes.

The TRUTH of the matter is that women are NOT equal when it comes to sports, so women really DON'T want unisex sporting events because their numbers will be miniscule compared to those of men.

Your last comment just fills space. It says nothing and means nothing. Try sticking to the issue at hand rather than what you want it to be.

Posted by: Hube at June 29, 2006 07:33 PM

No dan, what's truly idiotic is your claim hat the post is idiotic for its taking the stance that women should not be paid as much as men for an inferior sporting product.

Did you read what I've written?

Women SHOULD BE PAID LESS for an inferior sporting product. The WNBA? Women's golf? INFERIOR and INFERIOR. Less pay and less pay. Right. Good for you. Women's tennis is a SUPERIOR product.

The TRUTH of the matter is that women are NOT equal when it comes to sports, so women really DON'T want unisex sporting events because their numbers will be miniscule compared to those of men.

Of course! I don't dispute this. What are you arguing here? And why, exactly, does an argument for equal pay for a superior product by Navratilova mean that women should have to play men? You know quite well that my prior post DOES mean something, and I am quite frankly baffled. You know that divisions are created in sports -- as in boxing. Featherweights don't fight heavyweights. Of COURSE no one wants to see them fight heavyweights, because they'd get their asses kicked. And what women, exactly, want to compete with men in tennis? All they want is to get equal pay WHEN IT IS WARRANTED -- as in the case of Wimbledon. This entire women-playing-men argument is absolutely bizarre. Unless you also think that featherweights should box heavyweights -- for the sake of absolute equality!! It's the exact same thing!

Posted by: dan at June 29, 2006 08:52 PM

dan: Felix (and then I) was merely extrapolating Navratilova's overall point. YOU were the one who called it "idiotic" and then -- oh! -- did us the favor of explaining it better. And I agreed with you that if women's tennis is a superior product, (it ain't superior b/c the women are better than the men, though, that's for sure) then the market will bear that out! Did you read what I'VE written?

Besides, the CBS article gives the tennis story the obligatory universal "equal rights" spin, aside from "just tennis."

Maybe next time you can start your discussion here with something besides This might be the most idiotic thing I've ever read on this site. If you're uncertain about a point, merely make that claim instead of acting like you typically do over at your own place.

Posted by: Hube at June 29, 2006 09:07 PM

Yes, I should have known that such an obnoxious start on my end would mean that I am instantly wrong no matter what I say. Tis the way of the blog comment, I suppose.

What I typically act like over at my place, eh? Yes, that hotbed of nonpolitical talk has been a real argue-fest over the last year and a half...!

Posted by: dan at June 29, 2006 09:19 PM

Gee, you're my hero, dan.

I just get a kick out of how you'll come over here all indignant about we'll portray a story about liberals and/or Democrats, yet your own headlines and posts are even more vitriolic. Maybe you're "not serious" like you were with that one post of yours we referenced. It's hard to tell sometimes.

Check out the comment I just made at your place. Every now and then we'll put out numerous comments one after the other when we actually agree more than not. How is that? Yeesh.

Posted by: Hube at June 29, 2006 09:34 PM

Every now and then we'll put out numerous comments one after the other when we actually agree more than not. How is that? Yeesh.

Because it seems we are both stubborn, argumentative, and easily irritated. Hehe.

Posted by: dan at June 30, 2006 02:46 AM

Dan, I limited my comments to basketball and baseball, because I know nothing about tennis. (My exposure to tennis only comes when Pardon the Interupption discusses it, and even then I'm usually just waiting for them to get to a different topic.) I know the men's game is in a bit of a funk right, but am in no way qualified to comment on it which why I didn't address the point of the original article, but drew a parallel to other sports. I have to bow to other's superior knowledge where tennis is concerned.

Posted by: Paul Smith at July 1, 2006 07:49 AM

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