Men's, women's champs get $1.54M
WIMBLEDON, England -- The winners of the men's and women's singles titles at this year's Wimbledon tennis tournament each will earn a record $1.54 million.
The All England Club said Tuesday it has increased the winners' prize money by $231,348 to help offset the decrease in the value of the British pound against the dollar and euro.
The increase means that the men's prize money has doubled in the past 10 years.
"We need to offer prize money that is commensurate with the tournament and competitive in the market," All England Club chairman Tim Phillips said. "It shows the championships are successful and I think it shows we care about the players."
Total prize money will be $21.1 million, an increase of 9.4 percent from last year.
Last year's U.S. Open purse was $21.6 million, with the men's and women's singles champions taking $1.6 million each.
Income for 2010 may dip slightly with the daily capacity down from 40,000 spectators to 37,500 because of the closure for redevelopment of No. 3 Court and the opening of a larger No. 2 on an area formerly occupied by two courts.
But with the reduction coming from a drop in the number of daily ground passes, the maximum the All England Club could lose over the 13 days of the championships is $1 million.
Chief executive Ian Ritchie said that the actual drop should be even less.
"It's for one year only, so it makes no palpable impact on our economics at all," Ritchie said. "In income, it's broadcast, then it's official suppliers, sponsorship and hospitality.
"In broad terms, the total ticket income is about 10 to 15 percent and the vast majority of that is Centre Court and Court One."
Organizers also have adapted the sliding roof over Centre Court to allow it to be deployed at each end to shade spectators from strong sunlight.
The roof, designed to avoid the backlog of matches that have affected previous rainy tournaments, debuted last year and was used to facilitate a late finish for a fourth-round match between Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka.
"It was clearly a huge success last year," Ritchie said. "Last year was a classic example of that was what the roof was designed to do and it delivered a match that might otherwise have not taken place.
"We've always seen it as an insurance."
But organizers remain insistent that they do not have plans to start regular night matches.
The June 21-July 4 championships take place while many sports fans will be focused on the World Cup in South Africa, which runs June 11 to July 11.
The All England Club has no plans to show matches on big screens around the championships.
"This is a tennis tournament," Phillips said. "If you want to watch football, you can go to South Africa or watch it on television."
But Ritchie said things could change.
"There is no plan to show football but we're not going to say 'never,' " he said.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press