Raymond Moore lost his job running a big tennis tournament for saying that female professional tennis players “ride on the coattails of the men.” (CBS News)
I attended the March 31, 2016 Miami Open and explored the issue a little.
Here are photographs of the stadium during the final set of a women’s singles match and a men’s singles match. The women’s match was a more important semifinal event while the men’s match was just a quarterfinal. On the other hand the men’s match was slightly later in the day so could be attended by people who were stuck at work later. (On the third hand, tickets were kind of expensive and it seemed that nearly everyone with a 1 pm “day ticket” showed up pretty close to 1 pm and was at least somewhere within the grounds (there are multiple courts as well as restaurants, shops, etc..))
Here are photographs of the stadium during the women’s and men’s matches. Readers with great eyesight can try to estimate which match was better attended.
I then queried the folks sitting around me (Section 423, which gets afternoon shade!). An extended family had come from Mexico and was staying at the J.W. Marriott downtown for the entire event. Both sexes within the family preferred to watch the men’s game, would have come to a male-only tournament and would not have invested the time and money to come to a female-only tournament. On my left was a family from Guatemala with a 10-year-old tennis-playing son. They were staying in a different Marriott on the beach. The wife was an expert tennis player and said that she preferred watching the men’s game. The Guatemalans said that they wouldn’t have come to see an all-female tournament but would come to watch only men. Behind me was a Japanese national who had come to see Kei Nishikori.
A financial executive friend says that women are on average paid more than men in practice because (a) women get maternity leave while men generally don’t (or don’t take it), and (b) women get the right to sue their employer for discrimination and that right has a cash value even if only a fraction of women actually do sue and/or get paid (see Ellen Pao).
Readers: What do you think about women tennis players getting paid the same in cash compensation as men? Plainly in this day-and-age they are not going to suffer a pay cut. Is this disgraced Moore guy right, though, that they should at least be a little grateful that the men show up to the same tournaments?
[Separately, as my co-spectators were from countries that are often characterized as “corrupt” by American media, I asked them what they thought about U.S. politics versus Mexican and Guatemalan politics. The consensus among the Latin Americans was that local politics in the U.S. is cleaner, but that national politics is at least as corrupt. “When the Clintons can get money from private companies and foreign governments after leaving office and before taking office again, that’s as corrupt as anything anywhere in the world.” (One of my Millennial Facebook friends, who might be expected to support Hillary due to holding a government job (schoolteacher), recently wrote “I’m just gonna say it: You have to be pretty ignorant to vote for Hillary. Who cares if she would be the first woman president, she’s a corrupt bitch, only in it for power and money.”)]