Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wimbledon succumbs

The pressures of political correctness have finally borne fruit, as they unfortunately always do. Wimbledon will now offer identical prize money for the men's and women's singles. Note that boys, girls and doubles competitors will still be discriminated against!

The clamour for this has grown every year, and it's really just more of the whole
equality and identity confusion that seems to shroud our planet at times.

Amelie Mauresmo's comments today put it in perspective. On the one hand, she said that it was a "matter of principle" that men and women should get paid the same for the same work, conveniently ignoring the fact that they don't, in this instance, do the same work. In the same breath, she then went on to say that it's actually a matter of "equality" between men and women, and that it doesn't matter how many sets are played.

So her bottom line is that men and women should get paid the same for the same work, even if the work isn't actually the same, because what the work is is not relevant. Brilliant stuff.

There are only two or three ways you can properly skin this cat. For many years, Wimbledon followed one of them, but alas, no more.

The first option is to "pay" the players based on the work they do. In which case, per the current system, the women should be "paid" about three-fifths of what the men are "paid."

The second option, in the name of absolute equality which a lot of people seem to desire, would be to have a single open tournament, with men and women competing against one another. That way, there's no argument about equal "pay." Of course, you'd then hear that it's unfair that the women all get knocked out in the first two rounds. You can't win, can you?

A third option would be to actually equalise the work being done. Have the women play 5-set matches. We all know that one's not going to happen either.

Of those three, I lean towards the first - but I have a fundamental problem with treating prize money as "pay." So why not accept reality and recognise what's really going on? Pay the players based on the revenue they bring into the game. Let's have true equality, if that's what we want.

If the women's final brings in 20 million viewers, and the men's final only brings in 10 million, then by all means, pay the women twice as much. They will have truly earned it, for the sport. But if they only bring in 1 million viewers, then pay them one-tenth of what the men get.

Of course, you then have to take it a step further - perhaps Roger Federer should be paid more than Lleyton
Hewitt for appearing in a Grand Slam Final, because people would actually pay money to watch Federer. A lot of proponents of the equal "pay" argument have taken the position that women's tennis is just as entertaining, and draws in the fans - so let's get serious about having the players' rewards tied to that.

It's a sad day when a free market collapses under the weight of political correctness. That's the way of the world we live in. I guess when my daughter wins Wimbledon, she'll now be a little richer than she otherwise would have been, and I should be glad for it.


Anonymous said...

Goodness, what a caveman mentality! Equality bites, doesn't it? Go back in your cave and hope for enlightenment in this lifetime.

Fourth Umpire said...

Anon - thanks for the cogent argument. Looks like you didn't actually read my post. I'm all in favour of merit based pay/prize money - what could be more egalitarian than that? It's unfortunate that most people don't think through the issue before determining where they stand on it.

worma said...

You touched the right point, briefly, and then moved away. Payment should be based on their value to the game.

If Wimbledon is selling the tickets, media and sponsorship rights of the two varieties at different value, then by all means pay them different amount.

Simple, isn't it? What's there to think more?

As for the argument of paying Federer more than Hewitt....that gets kind-of complicated. Fan following etc is irrational thing. And the rights/tickets are sold in advance, so they make same money either way. Who knows, if Federer wasn't there, they would have made same money anyway+ Or even more - because then there would've been more competition ;-) I said..keep it simple.