Thursday, March 27, 2014

USTA Player Development

Minor league tennis players want more prize money. The men and women who toil on the Futures circuit play for purses of $10,000 and $15,000 per tournament, unchanged from thirty years ago. They claim that many of them must stop playing prematurely because they cannot fund their continued play from prize money.

Meanwhile, the USTA spends $15 million per year on player development. The $15 million goes mainly toward coaches' salaries and the operation of national and regional training centers.

What if?

What if the USTA got out of the player development business and got back simply to running tournaments and leagues like it did for most of its history? How would that $15 million look in tournament purses for the minor leagues of tennis?

I assume entry fees could cover the operating expenses of minor league tennis tournaments just like they do for tennis tournaments at all other levels. So for $15 million the USTA could double and triple the prize money to $30,000 per event and host 500 more tournaments per year. Or they could raise the purses to the $50,000 paid at many Challenger level events and host 300 of more of those tournaments each year.

Anyone think USTA Player Development's current use of $15 million per year produces more and better professional tennis players than all those tournaments would produce?

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