RR, On-court coaching, Promoting tennis... An e-mail conversation with E. De Villiers [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

RR, On-court coaching, Promoting tennis... An e-mail conversation with E. De Villiers

Saumon
03-14-2007, 06:54 PM
I was so mad that the IW scoreboard didn't work last Sunday that I wrote an e-mail to several ATP people. To my great surprise, our beloved CEO was the 1st to reply.

11/03:
Obviously the ATP is doing its BEST to be fan friendly. First they have the wonderful Round Robins (a great success!!! NOT!!!), then they have the Masters Series TV that is unfortunatly not available for live matches where I live and now they have a scoreboard that does not work! How great is that! How am I supposed to follow the matches of my favorite players now?!?! Challengers have better scoreboard than that! The Indian Wells scoreboard is a joke. It has been stuck for most of the day today. And it's not just my computer, it's like that for everyone! Can you explain me why you can't even do that for us? Having a scoreboard that works? Are we, tennis fans, too demanding?

I hope you'll answer for once. Because it's not the first time there's such a problem with the scoreboard of a Masters Series tournament, the tournaments that are supposed to be the biggest events in the ATP calendar! That's not something I can deal with. To quote Mister Safin "it doesn't fit in my brain"
Best regards,
DS
12/03:
Dear DS,
I am very sorry that you are not able to get Masters Series TV in your area and I hope that is just a matter of time before it is available. We will certainly look into the defective scoreboard and get back to you. That is troubling , not just to you but to us as well. I value feedback like this and hope we will be able to show you over time that we are improving this great sport and making it better for you and all our devoted fans. Once again, we apologise for letting you down.
Et
Etienne de Villiers
Chairman and President, ATP
13/03:
Dear Mister De Villiers,
Thank you for your quick reply. I think that unfortunatly I won't be able to get Masters Series TV in my area any time soon because of TV rights issues. By the way I appreciate your efforts to make tennis a more popular sport yet I'm not quite sure Round Robins were the right solution. It works fine for the Masters Cup but not so much in smaller tournaments. The main idea was obviously to favor the "top players" but you should know there are more tennis fans (should I say maniacs?) than you think who love the not so high ranked players. I also think you should focus on promoting the young players, not Nadal, quite everybody knows him, but Murray, Djokovic, Gasquet, Monfils, Del Potro, Korolev (!!!), Gulbis, Cilic... like it had been done with the New Balls Please campaign 6-7 years ago. The New Balls are now established players and those young guns are the Federer, Safin, Roddick and Hewitt of tomorrow. They deserve all your attention.
Good luck for the Miami meeting. Tennis fans expect a lot from it. I hope we won't be disappointed.
Regards,
DS

PS: the scoreboard was still not working 100% yesterday. I hope it will be fixed today.
Thanks DS,

Where do you live as I’d like to know what the TV rights issues are? You are spot on about promotion of the younger players. We have identified over 30 players whom we are going to approach with the plan to make 25 players our key attractions. And many of yours are on the list. We have increased our marketing spend from under $1mill a year to $5mill this year and most of it is on player promotion. I have also hired in great marketing and sponsor people to make this happen. So, much is happening. We experimented with round robin because our initial research indicated casual fans would be attracted to the format (exciting, and knowing who they would see when they bought a ticket) and we’d get more TV because they knew when to schedule either the big draws or the local favorite. We will continue to test other ideas that expand the game and bring more converts to our church. Some will work and some will fail, but we will learn from them all. Thank you for being such a committed fan. And we won’t disappoint you, believe me.

et
14/03:
Dear Et,

I'm glad to hear you're planing to promote the young players. I liked the ATP vignettes on atptennis.com for instance. Too bad there weren't more. I guess Dmitry Tursunov will be among these 25-30 players. His blog probably helped bringing people to the site. I don't know a single person who didn't like it!!!!!! Anyway, I can't wait to discover how you'll promote them!
I reside in France at the moment. I think there is a similar problem with the Wimbledon TV.
By the way, yesterday I watched Sharapova vs Zvonareva on Eurosport (since I don't get the channel broadcasting the ATP tournament, I have to watch WTA tennis that I don't like as much) and it reminded me that the women can have on-court coaching. I think I'll talk in the name of many ATP tennis fans if I tell you it's something we DO NOT want to see in men's tennis. It's ok for the Davis Cup because it's a team competition but tennis is an individual sport for the some 45 other weeks of the year. Like Round Robins were against the idea that in tennis "you win, you're through; you lose, you go home", on-court coaching is against the idea that in tennis you're alone (or with your doubles partner) for one, two, three, four, five r even six hours sometimes and you've got to deal with that. That's one of the things we LOVE about the game and that make it so unique. Please, don't change that. You may think it could make matches more exciting for the fans. We say it won't.
I hope you'll take this in consideration because, as I said it earlier, it's not just my opinion, but the global thinking of many many tennis fans all around the world. I agree that changes are good but you can't change everything like that because you "suppose" it'll be better for the fans. If you visit tennis sites/blogs/forums you'll see that we often disagree, some prefer grass others prefer clay, we don't all like the same players, we often fight (gently of course) but we almost all agreed that Round Robins were a bad idea. I'd be curious to hear more about the research indicating that casual fans would be attracted by the format. The questions that were asked, to whom and where and the feedback after the RR tournaments.
I'm sorry for this long email and all my questions but I'm a real die-hard tennis fan and I'm really concerned about the future of the game. So are my fellow tennis fans and the players.
Regards.
DS
Hey DS,

So, you are one of our fans that gets what tennis really stands for. I have attached our recently developed ‘brand positioning’ statement from Phil and his team, against which we will evaluate every innovation, structure etc . And ,to your point , we should not allow coaching as it challenges the fundamental premise of our sport-the one on one gladiatorial contest. And you are also right on the round robin issue…I’m not sure we’d have experimented had we gathered the qualitative research earlier and concluded from that as to what we stand for . That said, I am a great believer in a method of experimenting to really get market based data rather than desktop research. It’s a ‘do it, try it, fix it’ approach that we used at Disney. So, thank you for your insights, its heartening to know that we at least understand that fans like you out there are on the same page as our research base.

et

Joy Mora
03-14-2007, 06:59 PM
Mr Disney, you're a :retard:...

Saumon
03-14-2007, 07:00 PM
I also had a reply from the marketing manager who asked someone why the SB was not working:

We did have two problems. The first occurred on Friday and involved power problems on site with their internet access.

The second occurred on Sunday and involved our global caching provider. I am working with them as we speak on this issue. It appears that traffic “free flowed” through one or more of their caching engine(s) and over ran our back end. We doubled up our capacity (threw some hardware at the problem) and solved it on a short term basis. This is a very unusual problem since we have used this model since Wimbledon last year without a glitch. It has also run everyday last week up till Sunday from Indian Wells without a problem.

sploush
03-14-2007, 07:00 PM
I think it's cool he's answered all those emails he must be getting millions!!

zicofirol
03-14-2007, 07:03 PM
its cool that he responded, you should of asked him about a grass TMS, and shortening the sched...

Dimitra
03-14-2007, 07:09 PM
Great job Saumon!:yeah:
I had sent him an email about the Las Vegas inciddent before,and he had replied too.Only it wasn't so much nice as yours:o

Wednesday Addams
03-14-2007, 07:10 PM
Took you a while to post this, sushi :p
It’s a ‘do it, try it, fix it’ approach that we used at Disney.
:spit:

Oh, Etienne. ATP =/= Disney.

cobalt60
03-14-2007, 07:33 PM
Good for you Saumon:yeah: Excellent comments and it is nice to see that he answered you.

jazar
03-14-2007, 07:36 PM
i thought the ATP World Tour Positioning Statement would be interesting. boy was i wrong.

anyway, well done. he never replies to my emails (i must remember to stop calling him a **** in them)

soraya
03-14-2007, 08:48 PM
Thanks for the effort Saumon, it is good to see that E is paying attention.

Burrow
03-14-2007, 08:57 PM
i thought the ATP World Tour Positioning Statement would be interesting. boy was i wrong.

anyway, well done. he never replies to my emails (i must remember to stop calling him a **** in them)

haha :D

artlinkletter
03-14-2007, 09:04 PM
Thank goodness he doesn't want to introduce on court coaching.

uglyamerican
03-14-2007, 09:12 PM
You can't run a sport the way you run an entertainment business. In the field of entertainment you have to experiment and take chances. If 1 in 10 films makes big bucks your company will be in the green.

If 1 in 10 sporting events is a failure, the entire integrity and history of the system collapses.

madmanfool
03-14-2007, 09:19 PM
This for real, he answers your e-mails? Maybe i should send him some too then. All i ever do is e-mail eurosport to complain about the lack of mens tennis :)

You're very right about the young guns, but also the coverage. I mean there is a master series event going on, and i can't watch it anywhere. Not even on a big channel like eurosport. Nothing, not even the final. Try to do something about that Mr Disney and do something usefull for a change.

... And cut the calender while your at it, and make a master series grass tournament ;)

...that's all i ask for

*Viva Chile*
03-14-2007, 09:26 PM
Lucky you Saumon :cool:

I wrote to Mr. Disney many times, obviously in a respectable tone, but he hasn't answer to me yet :mad:

MarieS
03-14-2007, 09:39 PM
you go gab :yeah:.
that disney part is just too priceless :rolls:

Peoples
03-14-2007, 10:58 PM
De Villiers is a classy guy and gave some smart replies.

Via
03-15-2007, 01:23 AM
hehe, he must have hired some new PR assistant. let's all now bombard his mailbox and get some standard corporate replies back ;)

Action Jackson
03-15-2007, 07:22 AM
Copy and paste is a wonderful thing.

Bobby
03-15-2007, 10:28 AM
You can't run a sport the way you run an entertainment business. In the field of entertainment you have to experiment and take chances. If 1 in 10 films makes big bucks your company will be in the green.

If 1 in 10 sporting events is a failure, the entire integrity and history of the system collapses.

True, but De Villiers will learn eventually. He's made one big mistake so far, introducing the Round Robin. But he is probably a competent man once he learns more about the tennis and the business around it. We should give him more time and not to judge him immediately because of only one thing that went wrong.

RickDaStick
03-15-2007, 03:44 PM
Vamos Mr.Disney. Sad to see some of you so called tennis fans want him to screw up more and more so you can laugh at him

Action Jackson
03-15-2007, 03:46 PM
Vamos Mr.Disney. Sad to see some of you so called tennis fans want him to screw up more and more so you can laugh at him

Are you, Jez and R=FK on the Mr.Disney payroll?

Fumus
03-15-2007, 03:50 PM
Tennis-X is right...he might not have a job after this year.

MaryWalsh
03-15-2007, 04:11 PM
"Do it, try it, fix it . . ." Lord have mercy! We are talking about a venerable sport with a long history, not Goofy's shoe size.

Well, fans, we have our work cut out for us in terms of advocating against the next "experiment" we think is a bad one. Everything this guy says scares me.

Mr. De Villiers, if you must hang around at all, focus on marketing the sport, not fixing it. It is not broken. JEEZ!!

kapranos
03-15-2007, 04:19 PM
mr disney should go fuck daisy duck

Fed-Express
03-15-2007, 05:21 PM
Nothing wrong with what he says, good man.

Kalliopeia
03-15-2007, 10:57 PM
mr disney should go fuck daisy duck

That's harsh, man. What did Daisy ever do to you?

Scotso
03-16-2007, 12:55 AM
I doubt it was actually him that responded, more likely an assistant.

Kitty de Sade
03-16-2007, 12:59 AM
That's harsh, man. What did Daisy ever do to you?

Very nice. :lol:

kapranos
03-16-2007, 03:14 AM
I doubt it was actually him that responded, more likely an assistant.

O'REILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLY????????????????????

:rolleyes: