The BBC sports editor responsible for overseeing the coverage of Wimbledon has claimed that women’s tennis is lacking ‘big box office’ names.
Ron Chakraborty also claimed that audiences wanted ‘to the see the star names’ and that women would not be able to compete for viewers with male tennis players.
Chakraborty’s comments come after it was announced that during last year’s Wimbledon competition, men’s games took up 93 per cent of coverage in a single day. As a result of this, the BBC’s governing body, BBC Trust, has recommended that the organisation ‘give a higher profile to women’s matches.’
However, Chakraborty argued that men’s tennis featured in more of the coverage due to men playing five sets in their matches, compared to the three sets women play in theirs.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Chakraborty continued, “You’ve got these guys who are all part of the conversation about who is the greatest player of all time. To have them playing against each other, having tight matches, is obviously a factor.”
“Women’s tennis had some fantastic rivalries ten or fifteen years ago. Nowadays, of the last thirty-odd women’s grand slams, Serena Williams has won 13 of them and no other woman has won more than three. I think most of those who have won aren’t playing at Wimbledon. We’re missing those rivalries and the bigger box office pulls in women’s tennis.”
“All that is important to our editors is making the decisions on editorial merit; what is the most interesting tennis for our viewers to watch. Obviously we want to fairly reflect both women’s and men’s competitions, but the starting point will always be to show the best tennis.”