Weaker Pound Offsets Wimbledon Prize Money Hike

Nathan AseriosContributor IApril 22, 2009

LONDON - SEPTEMBER 18:  General views of Wimbledon as the new roof on centre court is constructed on September 18, 2008 in Wimbledon, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The winners of this year’s Wimbledon will see a significant rise in their paychecks. This development was announced by the organizers on Tuesday, saying that both  the men’s and women’s champions will each see a £100,000 increase or 13.3 percent.

However, there’s a catch.

Despite the 6.2 percent overall increase in prize money, the weaker exchange rate of the British pound means that there’s a reduction of almost 17 percent in prize money if it is translated to U.S. dollars. The currency exchange last year was £1 = $2 but as of current update, the exchange is now down to £1 = $1.45.

Here’s the summary (applying the aforementioned exchange rates):

2008UK£US$
Men’s champion750,000$1.5 million
Women’s champion750,000$1.5 million
Overall prize money£11.77 million$23.46 million
2009UK£US$
Men’s champion850,000$1.23 million
Women’s champion850,000$1.23 million
Overall prize money£12.55 million$18.20 million

Tim Phillips, the All England Club chairman, said that the organizers are doing their best to offset the decrease and maintain the prestige of the grass court Grand Slam.

On the lighter side of the news, the organizers announced that they were able to make the prize money increase possible due to the extension of one of its major sponsors, IBM, which will run for the next five years. A new television deal was also closed in Asia and there’s an increased number of ticket applications for this year.

This year’s Wimbledon will take place from June 22 to July 5. The retractable roof will make its debut this year.

Last year’s singles champions were Rafael Nadal (men’s event) and Venus Williams (women’s event).

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