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Old 09-14-2005, 02:50 AM   #1
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Default Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

I usually don't start threads that seem doomed to break down into petty bickering and name-calling, but this has been bothering me for a couple days now, and I wanted to address it.

Lately it seems like a lot of people have a bug about appearance fees. For those who aren’t familiar with the way professional tennis works, many top players are offered these “fees” as an incentive to play some tournaments. The promoters consider it an investment, as a bigger name is more likely to draw in fans, thereby increasing their ticket sales. These fees are completely separate from any prize money and non-refundable. (They are often as much, if not more, than the prize money anyway.) If the player loses in the first round, they can still keep their appearance fee. Some players have been known to give back the fee anyways if they perform poorly (Patrick Rafter springs to mind.), but it’s not common practice.

It’s worth noting that almost ALL tournaments offer some form of incentive to players. Players who lose in the first round still get a paycheck. Tournaments provide free first-rate hotel rooms and fancy cars to drive, regardless of how well they play.

In the past few days, I’ve heard a lot of snarky remarks about appearance fees regarding the tournament this week in Beijing, China. It’s true that many of the top names, including Nadal, Moya, Ferrero, Nalbandian, and T. Johansson, made the long trip over to play there when they could have gone to Romania or taken time off, and there’s no arguing that they probably went because they were offered ridiculous appearance fees.

My question is: What’s wrong with that?

Tennis is a business. Of course rankings and titles and all of that are important, but why do we criticize players for also wanting to make money? Just like any athletes, their careers have a relatively short time span, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t make the most of it. Football players are offered contracts worth tens of millions of dollars before they set foot on the field. It’s the same for basketball players and baseball players.

Am I saying that outrageous appearance fees are great and players should only play tournaments that can afford to throw $100,000 at them just for showing up and taking a few photos? Hell no. On the other hand, do I blame them for doing it during slow periods in the season, when there isn’t a more competitive or prestigious tournament to play? Again, hell no.

This is just my opinion. I’m curious to know what other people think about appearance fees. Do you think they should be banned? Do you think they improve the state of tennis by bringing top players into places that would usually go without? Could you not care any less?
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Old 09-14-2005, 03:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

Appearance fees by themselves are not a problem, they do generate the interest by getting the player and increase Revenue

The problem arises when some players abuse the system to get the appearance fee for a lower-tier tournament and give 1/10 their effort (because the $ is already in the bag), while conserving their effort for a bigger event, like a slam or T.M.S where there may be little or no fee to appear but where points, prestige, etc. are of selfish interest to them.
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Old 09-14-2005, 03:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

It doesn't matter if people on this board don't like appearance fees. They are an integral part of the professional tennis business and they are not going anywhere. Such fees are basic market economics in action.
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Old 09-14-2005, 03:42 AM   #4
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

makes you feel bad for the players ranked below 50 who are trying so hard to earn.

they go through these qualifying events, struggle to get WCs and pay for expenses while the top stars get these fees and sometimes even go on to win the tournament.

but that's just plain and simple economics. if i were a tournament director of a non masters or non slam event, i'd go for these incentives to make sure that my event has a substantial ROI.
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Old 09-14-2005, 03:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

Where does incentive end and greed begins? Where does human nature end and evil begins? And so forth.
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Old 09-14-2005, 03:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

Appearance fees are fine. I have no problem with them. Fans want to see stars!
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Old 09-14-2005, 04:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AgassiFan
Where does incentive end and greed begins? Where does human nature end and evil begins? And so forth.
Well said and who is going to be the judge of that line between all these factors.

To answer this question, if you banned appearance fees, then it would be easier to see who would truly play for the love of the game.
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Old 09-14-2005, 04:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

Why do we need appearance fees? We don't. It's capitalism at its worst.
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Old 09-14-2005, 04:43 AM   #9
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

What makes it evil to take such money and what is human nature anyways Agassifan? I guess you must hate Andre then because he takes the money and runs for the most part. I bet Roger would still play a lot of smaller events although I am not sure he would still keep Bangkok on his schedule this year if the fee wasn't there. How about blaming some of these events for making such bad decisons that could put their events in the red.
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Old 09-14-2005, 04:46 AM   #10
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarolBeckFan
Why do we need appearance fees? We don't. It's capitalism at its worst.
The ATP could never ban them because then it would be harder for those events to find sponsers. Thus there wouldn't be nearly as many tennis events.
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Old 09-14-2005, 04:50 AM   #11
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk
What makes it evil to take such money and what is human nature anyways Agassifan? I guess you must hate Andre then because he takes the money and runs for the most part. I bet Roger would still play a lot of smaller events although I am not sure he would still keep Bangkok on his schedule this year if the fee wasn't there. How about blaming some of these events for making such bad decisons that could put their events in the red.
Erm, I think that you need to read Agassifan again. That or I do, because one of us clearly completely missed the point. And I don't think that it was me this time!
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Old 09-14-2005, 04:52 AM   #12
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe
Erm, I think that you need to read Agassifan again. That or I do, because one of us clearly completely missed the point. And I don't think that it was me this time!
No I get his point but he needs to more clearly define his view of greed, incentive, human nature and evil.
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Old 09-14-2005, 05:35 AM   #13
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarolBeckFan
It's capitalism at its worst.
Craving socialist paradise, I see? Good on ya.
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Old 09-14-2005, 05:42 AM   #14
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk
What makes it evil to take such money and what is human nature anyways Agassifan? I guess you must hate Andre then because he takes the money and runs for the most part.
Huh?
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Old 09-14-2005, 06:08 AM   #15
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Default Re: Appearance Fees - Honest incentive, or pure greed?

See?
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