(ARG ) confirmed to play.
Riches flow to lure top tennis stars
Published on August 05, 2005
BEC-Tero Entertainment is forking out more than Bt50 million in appearance fees to ensure some big names for September’s Thailand Open, which at Bt200 million is the most expensive tennis tournament ever held in Thailand. Managing director Brian Marcar said the huge budget had been prepared to lure elite players like world No 1 and defending champion Roger Federer, No 4 and Australian Open holder Marat Safin, No 13 Tim Henman and the 25th-ranked Tommy Haas of Germany.
Marcar revealed that Federer, who tamed Andy Roddick for the title last year, was being paid between US$400,000 and $500,000 to make his second visit to the capital.
Safin’s rate was about $350,000 and Henman and Haas will pocket $100,000 each.
“We have to pay around $400,000-$500,000 for Federer alone. That does not include extra money we have to pay for him for each match he wins here,’’ Marcar said.
Apart from the four big names, the organisers have to pay for other highly ranked players such as world No 11 Mariano Puerta of Argentina, the French Open runner-up. Even Thai hero Paradorn Srichaphan has an appearance fee despite the fact that it is a home tournament. But Marcar opted not to disclose the world No 42’s fee.
“We also have to be responsible not only for their flight tickets and accommodation but also for those accompanying them. That’s why it takes a lot of money to organise this event,’’ added Marcar, who conceded there was no possibility of making a profit from this year’s event after facing deficits in the first two. It cost about Bt160 million to organise the first two tournaments.
“In the first two years, the operating costs rose higher and higher because we were in the early stages of organising the event. But this year I can tell you it’s around Bt200 million and we will not make a profit again,’’ said Marcar, who doesn’t believe the tournament will make a financial return until around 2008-2009.
The tournament, which runs from September 24 to October 2 at the Impact Arena, offers US$550,000 in prize money. Lerpong Amsa-ngiam