what surprises me most in that case is that if I remember correctly, Ellison, tournament's owner, had had the exact opposite strategy in the past : he wanted only to increase the prize money for the final rounds, because as a good American, he said that you shouldn't give money to losers or something like that.
Am I wrong about that memory and why did they choose a completely opposite strategy this time ?
for instance here for the 2012 tournament : Income inequality grows on ATP Tour
When billionaire owner Larry Ellison offered to sweeten the pot for this year's BNP Paribas Open— boosting the singles winner's check to a cool $1 million — it appeared to be prize-money manna from heaven.
But Ellison dangled his dough with strings attached.
The take-it-or-leave-it deal stipulated that his extra $700,000 would go to the final three rounds, from the quarterfinals on (a much smaller portion would go to doubles).
The winner's check would thus jump 64% from $611,000 to $1 million from the previous year. By contrast, first-round losers would pick up $7,709 instead of $7,115, a $594 bump equivalent to 8%.
That put the ATP World Tour in a squeeze. Take Ellison's money, and earlier rounds would be shut out. Turn it down, and deny income to players.
In the end, the tour accepted Ellison's offer. The decision rankled some in the game.