Setting a Record

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The U.S. Open is increasing its prize money by a "record" $4 million in 2013. The Open will also add an extra day with the Men's Finals to be played on Monday. According to Jon Vegosen USTA Chairman of the board and president, "The record increase in U.S. Open prize money and the changes in next year's schedule are aimed at rewarding the player's talents and accommodating the rigors of the modern professional game."

A closer look at the record reveals that this "record increase" does little to address the prize money inequities at the Open. As reported in the blog on Long Island Tennis Magazine "Income Inequities," the USTA pays 11 percent of revenues out in prize money, while the ATP convention is 20-30 percent and the National Hockey League (NHL) is paying 54 percent of its revenues to players.

President Vegosen fails to mention in his statement that the unprecedented inclusion of a 15th day to this Grand Slam will generate perhaps $30-$40 million in additional revenue to the USTA when ticket sales, television rights, vendor income and parking are all tallied up.

The ATP is dissatisfied with the prize money increase proposed by the USTA and is opposing the Monday finals: "We strongly believe the U.S. Open should keep a similar schedule to the other Grand Slams." This appears like a negotiating tactic on the part of the ATP aimed to get the USTA to increase the prize money offer by leveraging the potential Monday windfall.

It seems the most significant "record" being set here is one of consistent, self-serving statements and actions.