Sunday, June 28, 2020

Brady Shines in Charleston; Borges Wins Portugal Event; Evans Claims British Men's Title; What's Financial Impact of No Fans at US Open?

So many exhibition tournaments have popped up in the past couple of months that Sunday is getting to be like it was before the pandemic halted play: full of results from around the world.

I am not really following the Ultimate Tennis Showdown at the Mouratoglou Academy in Nice, because, while I have no problem with the scoring/format experimentation they are doing, I don't personally care for tennis scored as basketball, accumulating points in quarters. I gather that Stefanos Tsitsipas is leading in the standings, but there are still several more weekends of tennis left, so it may be some time before a "champion" is actually determined there.

Although rain has been a problem in Charleston South Carolina this week, I have tuning into Tennis Channel for the Credit One Bank women's tournament, which is playing the shortened format I prefer (I would rather there was no shortening, like regular ATP and WTA singles), which is advantage scoring with a tiebreaker for the third set. Former UCLA star Jennifer Brady, who was off to a great start this season before the pandemic hit, has been exceptional for Team Peace, going 4-0 this week. Last night she defeated Sloane Stephens in singles, after having also beaten Victoria Azarenka in straight sets earlier in the week. She teamed with Emma Navarro to win a doubles match on Friday, and won another doubles match today with Eugenie Bouchard as her partner. After a final rain-delayed singles match was played early this afternoon, four doubles matches are being played, with captain Bethanie Mattek-Sands' Team Peace clinching the win with two doubles matches still left to play. To follow the remaining matches, see this article at tennis.com.

Nuno Borges, the 2019 NCAA finalist as a senior at Mississippi State, won the national exhibition for Portuguese men today, beating Pedro Araujo 6-3, 6-3 in the final. The 23-year-old Borges, currently with an ATP ranking of 596, was expected to beat Araujo, who is ranked 1388; Borges' most impressive win came earlier, when he defeated ATP 66 Joao Sousa 7-6(3), 6-3. Click here to view of Borges' results in this exhibition.

Jamie Murray put together an exhibition in England billed as the Battle of the Brits, which concluded today with Dan Evans defeating Kyle Edmund 6-3, 6-2 for the title. Edmund had defeated former TCU star Cam Norrie 6-7(3), 6-4, 10-8 in the semifinals, while Evans took out Andy Murray 1-6, 6-3, 10-8. Norrie went on to take third place today; after Murray pulled out of the third place match, Norrie beat James Ward 6-3, 7-5. Murray and Neal Skupski(LSU) won the doubles title over Evans and Lloyd Glasspool(Texas).

An exhibition in the Czech Republic this week saw 2019 US Open boys champion Jonas Forejtek take the title. The 19-year-old won via a walkover in the final from Lukas Rosol. Martin Damm played in the round robin portion of the tournament, going 1-2 in his group and failing to qualify for the semifinals.

About ten days ago I submitted a sports business mailbag question to The Athletic about the financial implications of holding the US Open without fans, and I keep forgetting to post the response. Although this is not part of this question, I also want to pass along the information that the ESPN television contract requires that ATP/WTA points be distributed at the Open, which would make it impossible for the USTA to hold it as say, a US National Championship tournament, and still collect the rights fees from ESPN.

What is the loss of revenue for USTA when fans are not present at US Open? Specifically, how much do TV rights offset that? — Colette L.
Great to get a tennis question, my not-so-secret passion. The U.S. Open is one of the great financial stories in sports. Last year it attracted 850,000 over three weeks (the first week is qualifying and other events) and brought in over $300 million. More than half that comes from gate and sponsorship, most of which won’t come in this year if the event is held (the USTA plans to make its decision in the coming weeks). But there is still a lot of TV money, ESPN is in the midst of a 12-year, $825 million contract. And that does not include the many international TV deals the Open boasts (as much money comes in from foreign as domestic TV, given tennis’ international model.) There is no doubt the loss of spectators, suites, hospitality customers is a big big hit. The Open is the late summer corporate event in New York, bringing in the high rollers. — Daniel Kaplan


Grote said...

I'm sure the USTA will find a way to charge substantial fees for livestreaming. Never pass up an opportunity to make money off fans and tennis players to support their excessive salaries.

USTA fact seeking said...

When was the last time the USTA charged for streaming? I will apologize if you can name when the USTA charged for streaming of events?

Baseless inaquarate statements don’t help anything.

SeminoleG said...

@USTA Fact Seeking. Been a while but when the Campus Opened they had USTA Jr Events and as I remember matches on "Play Site" courts were not free of cost (access to play site video) Seems they should be for USTA Jr events. Anyway they need revenue like any organization. They should stream EVERY match at the USOP, and hopefully it will be free. $20 string fee, pricy meals and no discounts for tournament players is a bit extreme.

USTA fact seeking said...

@SeminoleG - accessing your son or daughters match from a play sight court is different than being able to livestream a match...? If you go to other clubs around the country are they giving out matches or are they selling those matches? Do you have to pay for meals when you ply at the Barnes Tennis Center or Stowe stadium? Do other tournaments give out free stringing? You and the rest of the USTA haters out there should try to find other things to complain about.

USTA is by no means perfect but as someone who serves as a volunteer at UST tournaments and NON USTA tournaments I know that they are trying their best to provide world class products. Not everything can be free and not every riot will be perfect but give these people a break!