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Nottingham event to be scrapped

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The build-up to Wimbledon will have a different look from next year, with a new joint men's and women's tournament planned for Eastbourne.

The men's ATP event in Nottingham, which has struggled to attract top players in the past few years, will be discontinued after this year.

From 2009, the men will join the established women's event in Eastbourne as they warm up for the grass season.

Is this a good move by the LTA? Will it be better to have one big tournament for men and women?

And would the revamped Eastbourne event attract the younger crowd that the LTA is keen to connect with?

Your thoughts please...

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posted Apr 10, 2008

"This could kill Queens as more players might skip queens to have a week off after the french open and then play eastbourne the week before wimbledon.

I think that here needs to be an extre grass court week and that way more players might play nottingham."


Since killing Queens would be tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot, it's the notion of an extra week for the grass court season that would make a difference. That would give some better options to players than the current 'Queens or Halle" choice. But this needs the ATP to re-structure the calendar, and I've not seen any plans for that involving more time for the grass season.
I suppose this might be much ado about nothing. There's an assumption being made by me, and a few others, that there would be a major re-positioning of the Eastbourne event. But maybe a part of this might be opportunistic, with the currency position at present.
The WTA events offer prize money in dollars, the ATP European events in Euros. Such is the weakness of the dollar that the women's prize fund of $600,000 translates to EUR377,000, with the men's event offering EUR370,000. In other words, only EUR7,000 less.
So you could throw the two events together with the same prize money, at not much extra cost and just run the events as they are.
I'm guessing here, but there would presumably be enough cost savings in combining the events to more than make up for that.
I don't think that will stop the notional Wawrinka v Clement final, as it will still be the repository for players with little chance in the main event plus early Queens/Halle losers. But if this is the sum of the ambition, then it probably would be viable. It does raise two interesting issues
1) with the volatility in world currencies, is the dollar the right one for the WTA to use, it's costing the women a lot of money
2) it might be a little embarrassing for the WTA to have one of their Tier 2 events bracketed with a humble ATP International Series.

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comment by Snape (U3018951)

posted Apr 10, 2008

Tennisace- Eastbourne does the same with kids at the tournament. There are many other tournaments in this country for the kids to watch tennis all throughout the year so I can't see how kids will miss out.

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posted Apr 10, 2008

So those 8,000 children based in the Midlands are not going to miss out? Are the LTA going to pay for them to travel to Eastbourne? I dont think so.

8,000 potential players now have nothing but watching Tennis on TV.

I work at Nottingham every year as a coach and travel from my home up north and actually make a loss for working there. All because i see first hand what a positive event it is for these kids. Many would never of heard of Tennis if it wern't for the Tournament and the Great job the Tennis center and Notts LTA do.

The LTA are only interested in making a huge profit from Eastbourne. Sony Erricson made an offer early in the year to sponsor all the UK events but the LTA didnt even bother to speak to them. And to have Roger Draper go on tv and say we need to listen to the players? HA i am fortunate enough to spend time with the players at Nottingham and they love it as its a nice relaxed atmosphere and they can prepare in piece for Wimbledon. And for him to come out and say the players want to be in London before the championships? ha if they wanted too they would spend the time at Wimbledon the week before on the practice court if they did. Draper's last few words spoke the truth, we have to listen to our commercial partners. The LTA are trying to sell all the uk tournaments under one big package to make a lot of money.

Only 12 months ago Draper was addressing us coaches and saying he wanted to get more children involved. I was a fan off Draper but feel hes really dropped the ball on this.

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posted Apr 10, 2008

Ace, that's an interesting perspective, but it pre-supposes that one of the events key objectives is to give 8,000 kids the chance to be involved.
Assuming the event is losing it's share of the 1.5m quid, let's say 400k, that's 50 per child.Whatever else, that might not be the best use of LTA money and there might be better ways to get more kids involved with the same funds.
As far as I can see, the LTA are highly unlikely to make 'a huge profit' from these events. If they currently lose 1.5m, then breakeven would be quite ambitious.
Then, in theory, they'd have 1.5m to spend on getting kids involved across the country.

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posted Apr 10, 2008

Federalexpress - Interesting point. If the LTA are worried about losing 1.5m i would suggest they look at blowing Millions on poor publicity schemes such as Club Vision, Raw Tennis , Play Tennis and countless other silly splash in the pan promotions that were always poorly planned and delivered.

The millions they have spent on the Tennis leadership team. Many of which have already jumped ship. Those who are there really haven't got a clue whats going on at grass roots level.

Millions spent on a National Tennis Center that is no better then my local David Lloyd and apparently has low court usage.

I deal with the LTA on a daily basis and its a bigger mess now then it was three years ago.

1.5m is nothing to the LTA and i know of many Premiership football clubs who spend that on youth development alone. Is 1.5m even anywhere near a marketing budget a national brand would spend on publicity?

As i said in my previous post many of us coaches make a loss from working at the event. Mainly because we could be earning more working at our clubs. Me and a few others who Travel and have to pay for a hotel. The hundreds of volunteers at the event. You speak to anyone involved with the event and they will tell you the same as me, we do it to raise the profile of the game we love. The LTA should be the same but this just shows how out of touch the LTA are with coaches and local grass roots tennis.

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comment by Snape (U3018951)

posted Apr 10, 2008

Kids should be taken to the satellite events, it costs nothing there are many up and down the country so why would you have to take them to Eastbourne?

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posted Apr 10, 2008

Why would anyone want to go to a satellite event?

The children at Nottingham not only watch the Tennis they also get a free days coaching aswell????

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posted Apr 10, 2008

I am pretty sure Draper is spinning a yarn on this one by pllaying the 'younger audience' card. Nottingham has a great tennis academy and plenty of young players who would watch. Eastbourne is a retirement town with no tennis academy.

This is all about money and TV exposure. In the past the LTA have had to pay the BBC's production costs to televise Eastbourne (YES - it has actually cost the LTA money for the BBC to televise it) and Nottingham is not televised. So my guess is they are trying to save money and keep TV exposure by wrapping up a single mens and ladies tournament for the BBC which will be televised.

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posted Apr 10, 2008

"In the past the LTA have had to pay the BBC's production costs to televise Eastbourne (YES - it has actually cost the LTA money for the BBC to televise it)"
That is a very interesting comment, how embarrassing and a very strange business model for a supposedly top class event. Is the addition of a lower quality men's event really going to change that equation though?
Ace, your points are well made, heaven forbid I find myself in the position of defending the LTA.
A great deal of their strategy appears to have rested on assisting Murray to be the 'example leading' top player, but that seems to have misfired somewhat, not least because I think Murray is uneasy being cast as the saviour of British tennis and appears to be distancing himself from the LTA.
There has always been a view that the alternative approach of spreading the net wider might be a better focus.
I don't claim to know enough about these things to know, but my feeling is that far too much money was spent on Roehampton, which has the appearance of a vanity project like Terminal 5, given we have barely any decent players to benefit from it.

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posted Apr 13, 2008

This just confirms the North/South mentality regarding a National Sport. Nottingham was an eagerly awaited, well attended event that gave folk in the North a chance to watch top level Tennis at a easily accessible venue. Making it an exclusively Southern sport will do nothing for Tennis in this country. Whoever thought this was a positive step is crackers. Eastbourne was a big enough event in its own right, and Southerners already have Queens. This is a body blow to those who love Tennis in the North of England. (and I am a southerner)

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