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post #1 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-05-2007, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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report tournament attendance numbers/experiences

I am changing the name of this thread from "is match attendance just a US problem?" to the current one, based on what I have learned from people's replies. I had thought that tournament attendance was a big problem in the ATP, and that is why Round Robin was being tried out. But based on replies so far, that does not seem to be the case.

Meanwhile, what people have been saying is interesting to me. I had never known anything about these numbers before, and they are giving me a better picture of the size and attendance of tournaments around the world.

I had also based my assumption of low attendance because of seeing fairly unfilled stands on TV. But I have learned here that many times people are crammed in the outer courts and practice courts, while the televised courts may be fairly empty. Also, some of the time, the upper tiers are where the fans are.

So, please continue to contribute what you know of tournament attendance in your country or city. And if you have attended, how crowded did it feel, and where were people spending their time. Thanks for all the responses so far.

Below is part of what I originally wrote, which is mainly a little rant on tennis on US television.

Speaking for the US (well, actually speaking for myself), we have a very narrow-minded way of televising the matches, which tend to make it seem that if a US favorite is not playing, then the matches are not much worth watching. For example, interrupting matches in progress with interviews of US players; over-hyping US players; telling the same stories about US players ad nauseum; making it incredibly difficult to find even scheduled matches on ESPN, which are changed without warning to re-broadcasts of American players; the strange idea that US audiences don't really need to see tennis matches live, and are happy to see them later on, when the scores are known or, by effort of the fan, the result has been carefully avoided in order to have the more exciting experience of uncertainty.

For many potential fans, TV is the entry. If it is too flawed, then the stimulus to go to tournaments is diminished. As for TTC, I have never seen it because it is not available in the Bay Area of CA. I have contacted them several times, and they say when ENOUGH people do they will start it . . . this does not help the sport either.

Nadal

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post #2 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-05-2007, 10:57 PM
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

sports media is also very aussie-centric in australia. last weekend tennis suddenly gets mentioned again, because hewitt managed to break his titles drought.

i don't think tv broadcasting gets as bad as repeating aussies matches instead of showing other matches live, but it comes pretty close. generally tv broadcasters here treat viewers like idiots with their programming, and not just in sports. and there isn't much tennis outside of january anyway. luckily for tennis viewers, their memory usually do last a year.
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post #3 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-05-2007, 11:03 PM
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryWalsh View Post
I really do not know the answer to this, so I am interested in other fans' experiences/opinions.

Speaking for the US (well, actually speaking for myself), I think that part of the problem is a very narrow-minded way of televising the matches, which tend to make it seem that if a US favorite is not playing, then the matches are not much worth watching. For example, interrupting matches in progress with interviews of US players; over-hyping US players; telling the same stories about US players ad nauseum; making it incredibly difficult to find even scheduled matches on ESPN, which are changed without warning to re-broadcasts of American players; the strange idea that US audiences don't really need to see tennis matches live, and are happy to see them later on, when the scores are known or, by effort of the fan, the result has been carefully avoided in order to have the more exciting experience of uncertainty.

For many potential fans, TV is the entry. If it is too flawed, then the stimulus to go to tournaments is diminished. As for TTC, I have never seen it because it is not available in the Bay Area of CA, and yes I have contacted them several times, and they say when ENOUGH people do they will start it . . . this does not help the sport either.

IMO, part of what makes sport so exciting is the uncertainty of it. We watch football, basketball, baseball, partly for the anxiety/pleasure of not knowing what the outcome will be. In those sports, too, sometimes the match-ups are so one-sided that it is pretty dull. Even in superbowls, we often have to resort to rating the commercials because the game itself is a letdown. (Not true this year!) If it were ONLY about athleticism, you could watch acrobats, ballet, and so forth, and if you want programmed aggression, WWF . The combination of athleticism and uncertainty is what makes sport so great, and tennis has everything that is needed. Tennis is fine the way it is. The way it is presented, at least in the US, is flawed.

Maybe the ATP needs our input, not just about axing RR, but about other changes which will fill the stands.

That's my two cents worth. Thoughts?
It's not just the U.S., it's like that with every country.

Here in Canada, (we don't have any notable singles tennis players so I'll live up to my stereotype and use Hockey as an example instead), they will replay Team Canada games that took place a day or two ago, rather than show like Sweden vs Finland live.
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post #4 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-05-2007, 11:09 PM
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

I agree with most of what you said.

Bottom line is that it's difficult to follow tennis in the US. Sports are about competition, but simply speaking, it's supposed to be fun too to follow your favorite players or teams.

When you have to search for matches on TV, when there is constant re-airing of the same matches over and over again, when you have to hunt for information, and when many times following favorite players means sitting in front of your computer watching the mindnumbing movement of numbers on a live ticker (which more often than not freeze up at the worse possible moment), it's difficult and not very fun.

Much easier in the US to follow other sports. I've said this before so I'm repeating myself but if I want to watch the Yanks, I turn on my TV, and there's the Yanks live almost every night during the baseball season. Ditto NASCAR - I can watch NASCAR from the qualifying on Friday night to the Busch race and Nextel practice on Saturday to the actual Nextel race on Sunday - with tons of additional coverage. You get the point - I don't have to mention the wonderful coverage of (American) football, and basketball on TV. And unfortunately golf.

If I'm a big sports fan, more than likely I'll watch the sports that I can tune into by merely surfing on my remote. Not a sport that I never can see on TV.
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post #5 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-06-2007, 12:37 AM
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

This is one reason the USTA and Tennis Australia going after fans who post matches on the net on youtube or other places, and organisations who stream TV channels on the net, really PISS me off.

It's hard enough to find tennis when you want to watch it - even here in the UK at times, and we perhaps have nearly the best overall coverage in the world - you have to hunt the channels and times and they may show it live or not, or show a 1 hour highlights instead of the full match. Or you're forced to install software written in Japanese and pore at a screen size of about 340x280 pixels streaming tennis from some far-flung location because that's the only way you'll see it live.

It's not easy being a tennis fan.

That's why I find the attitudes of the USTA and Tennis Australia absolutely bewildering - fussing about negligable value copyright issues and managing to deny new avenues for fans to discover tennis and enjoy it. If they could be any more short-sighted I struggle to see how.
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post #6 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-06-2007, 12:42 AM
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

Events is China struggle to get an audience, but I think that is more due to the fact that Chinese people are not inclined to take days off work to go see a sports event, especially if there are not Chinese players or reasonabe ticket prices. A lot of times, tickets are given away to businesses and business people end up being the ones attending the event.

The middle east events are a joke when it comes to attendence.

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post #7 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-06-2007, 12:44 AM
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by njnetswill View Post
Events is China struggle to get an audience, but I think that is more due to the fact that Chinese people are not inclined to take days off work to go see a sports event, especially if there are not Chinese players or reasonabe ticket prices. A lot of times, tickets are given away to businesses and business people end up being the ones attending the event.

The middle east events are a joke when it comes to attendence.
Dubai was pretty full in the day sessions and overflowing in the night sessions all the week long this year.

Doha was quiet until the SFs and F but the weather was unseasonably cold there this past January. The attendance in the Middle East events is normally very good.
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post #8 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-06-2007, 12:51 AM
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

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Originally Posted by scoobsuk View Post
Dubai was pretty full in the day sessions and overflowing in the night sessions all the week long this year.

Doha was quiet until the SFs and F but the weather was unseasonably cold there this past January. The attendance in the Middle East events is normally very good.
Really? All the reports I've read the last few years always say that attendance is poor.

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post #9 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-06-2007, 01:03 AM
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by njnetswill View Post
Events is China struggle to get an audience, but I think that is more due to the fact that Chinese people are not inclined to take days off work to go see a sports event, especially if there are not Chinese players or reasonabe ticket prices. A lot of times, tickets are given away to businesses and business people end up being the ones attending the event.

The middle east events are a joke when it comes to attendence.
i was in beijing last september, and i think the main reason for poor ticket sales there was the pricing. they were not priced for the masses, especially the last few days. anyway tickets were given away when they weren't sold, so that the stadium always looked full. which means, as long as the price is 'right' there's no lack of interested spectators!
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post #10 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-06-2007, 01:06 AM
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

The stands at the Tennis Channel Open

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post #11 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-06-2007, 01:52 AM
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

Vegas was awful, but the bigger events in the US are well-attended. San Jose, Memphis, Houston, they are always well-attended, and the Masters events get HUGE crowds.

i really don't think attendance at US tourneys is any worse than most other places. I think Vegas was an aberration and a product of the horrific weather at this time of year.

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post #12 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-06-2007, 02:05 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb!. View Post
Vegas was awful, but the bigger events in the US are well-attended. San Jose, Memphis, Houston, they are always well-attended, and the Masters events get HUGE crowds.

i really don't think attendance at US tourneys is any worse than most other places. I think Vegas was an aberration and a product of the horrific weather at this time of year.
From what I saw on TV last year, IW looked rather bad, at least at times.
What I am trying to understand, though, is this: Are experiments like RR being implemented because there is a sense of dire necessity to increase tournament attendance? And if that isn't the reason, what is the motivation for tinkering with the system?

Nadal
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post #13 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-06-2007, 02:10 AM
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

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Originally Posted by MaryWalsh View Post
From what I saw on TV last year, IW looked rather bad, at least at times.
#1, the weather was bad early on last year. #2, at IW there is so much to see and do, a lot of people just stay out of the stadium, but the outside courts and practice courts are SWAMPED. To watch one match last year, we had to sit through two women's matches just to get a seat. People were lining up and creating havoc pretty much. I think what we see on TV can be deceptive, because the bigger the tourney, the more is going on. But unlike at a slam, at IW, you have to buy a ticket for the stadium to get in. So it's not like, say, Wimbledon, where people have Centre Court tix and Court 1 tix, etc., and OTHER people have groundspasses. at IW, it's one in the same, so yeah. But I don't think there's an attendance problem at IW at all. That's just my opinion after practically being pushed over several times last year
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryWalsh View Post
What I am trying to understand, though, is this: Are experiments like RR being implemented because there is a sense of dire necessity to increase tournament attendance? And if that isn't the reason, what is the motivation for tinkering with the system?
That I can't even possibly begin to explain.

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post #14 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-06-2007, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

^^ Thanks for the informed answer re IW. I appreciate it. It is certainly true that outer courts, and even practice courts, may be packed to stampede danger levels, while the televised courts may have just a handful of people.

Which leaves me wondering still, why the experiments?

Nadal
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post #15 of 80 (permalink) Old 03-06-2007, 02:35 AM
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Re: Is Match Attendance Just a US Problem?

Well, in the latin american clay season, Buenos Aires attracts more than 64.000 fans, Viña del Mar and Costa do Sauipe usually get around 25.000.
I don't have the numbers of Acapulco, but I think they had good attendance figures last week.
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