"ATP approves Indian Wells prize money increase
Thursday, February 21, 2013 /by Matt Cronin
The ATP Board of Directors has broken a stalemate and approved the BNP Paribas Open’s proposed prize money distribution model for 2013.
After the Board deadlocked on a vote back in December, Indian Wells CEO Raymond Moore and the ATP aired their concerns about the amount of prize money offered and exactly how it would be distributed. In the end, one of the three ATP tournament directors was said to have changed his vote and voted with the three player representatives to give them a 4-2 majority. Two weeks ago, Moore stated that Indian Wells was prepared to drop its prize money back to 2011 levels if the Board did not approve the increase.
Total prize money at the 2013 BNP Paribas Open will increase to $5,030,402, which is an additional $860,000 of prize money for the mens’ singles and doubles events on top of the tournament’s minimum requirement for 2013 ($4,170,402). However, because Indian Wells went over its minimum payment in 2012 when it paid out $4,546,864, it is really “only” a $483,538 increase over the 2012 total.
Presumably, the women’s singles and doubles players will get a similar increase. Every player is slated to earn above the minimum prize money levels per round established for the tournament. In 2012, Indian Wells offered more prize money than any other Masters tournament.
“Prize money increases are always a positive reflection on the state of our sport, however there are a number of safeguards in place in accordance with ATP rules to ensure that prize money being invested into the sport is distributed in a manner that benefits our players proportionately from one round to another,” said ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett, who abstained from voting when the December vote was taken.
Drewett also went against Indian Wells' round-by-round distribution formula, as well how much singles players were getting as opposed to doubles players.
It is unclear how this year’s formula will work out, but sources told TENNIS.com that while Indian Wells slightly changed the proposal it sent the ATP back in December, and is somewhat close to the ATP’s normal distribution model, the tournament is still different when it comes to payouts beyond the first round.
While every singles player will receive more than they did last year, players who reach the round of 32, round of 16, and quarterfinals would earn more under the ATP model, while semifinalists and finalists would earn less than what Indian Wells will pay them (under the new $5,030,402 figure). In 2012, the Indian Wells champions took in $ 1,000,000, the finalists $500,000, and semifinalists $200,000.
Moore has said that in 2013, first-round losers would get $11,000, and there will be small raises for the quarterfinalists and the semifinalists, but no increase for the finalists or champions.
Before this week’s vote, the ATP was holding firm at an 80-20 prize-money split between singles and doubles, but appears have conceded that Indian Wells preferred 82-18 split will be allowed, at least for this year.
“We have worked with tournament organizers over a number of weeks in order to get as close to the ATP prize money distribution rules as possible,” Drewett said. “We’re pleased to have reached a decision for 2013. The investment that [owner and billionaire] Larry Ellison has made in the BNP Paribas Open in recent years has been tremendous for the sport.”
The ATP also said it is reviewing its rules in regards to tournaments that wish to deviate from conventional prize money breakdowns in the future. Currently, there is no clear rule on the subject.
“For the long term benefit of both our players and tournaments, it’s important to establish a rule that can provide suitable parameters for similar requests to be processed in years ahead,” Drewett said. “We are always looking for ways to increase prize money for our players and continue to review a number of options in this area.”