Friday, January 29, 2010

Australian Open Series, French Open Series, Wimbledon Series

I think the US Open Series has been a hit. The summer hardcourt US tournaments draw more attention from TV and from the fans due to the publicity of the US Open Series which began a couple of years ago. The top players still don't play that many tournaments. It's too tough on them since they play so many matches in all the tournaments. But a coherent leadup to the US Open is good for TV and good for the fans. It also motivates the marginal players to participate a little more for the chance to increase their winnings and exposure.

So why not define an Australian Open series, too. If the Aussie Open were moved back a couple of weeks into February, there would be ample time for an Asia/Pacific based Australian Open Series. The series could start just after the new year and run for six weeks or so up to the start of the Australian Open. Tournaments in Japan, South Korea, China, New Zealand, and Australia could make up the swing.

The same could be true for the French Open. The calendar already lends itself to this with a well-defined European clay court season. All that's necessary is to line up a sponsor for the French Open series and off you go.

The Wimbledon Series is a bit tougher since Wimbledon begins just two weeks after the French Open ends. Maybe we could push Wimbledon back one week, just long enough to have a little three-week Wimbledon Series. There aren't many grass court tournament venues left, and fewer players who like playing on it, so a shorter Wimbledon Series makes sense.

With this way of setting up the tennis calendar, all the tournaments would have a coherent marketing plan. Monte Carlo, the first stop in the French Open Series. Tokyo, the first stop in the Australian Open Series.

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