Call it the Anna Kournikova effect. We’ve suspected for a while that women who are gorgeous and semi-good at tennis get more face time in the sport than women who are amazing but only average looking. This week, our greatest suspicions were confirmed. The All England Club, who hosts Wimbledon, admitted that looks help determine who plays on Centre Court, which automatically means television coverage. The spokesman for the Club, Jonny Perkins, stated it plain and simply: “Good looks are a factor.”
While Serena Williams, the uber-famous number two seed, was playing on the number two court, two lower ranked 19-year-olds—8th seed Victoria Azarenka and 28th seed Sorana Cirstea—were being broadcast on Centre Court. Later in the week, number one seed Dinara Safina played on one of the outer courts while seeds nine and fifty-nine got Centre Court. To put the nail in the coffin, during the men’s tournament, five-times Wimbedon winner Roger Federer was not displaced to the number two court.The Wimbledon committee believes that broadcasting hot women will attract more viewers to the sport. Thankfully, fans of tennis who attended the event were not taken for fools—many seats went unfilled at the so-called attractive match ups.
It makes me wonder: it’s not like the higher ranking female seeds are grotesque looking. In fact, neither Dinara Safina or Serena Williams are at all hard on the eye. They may not be 19, but they have talent that the young’ns just don’t quite possess yet. And last I checked, Wimbledon was all about to determining who has the best backhand—not who is the best babe. I mean, wouldn’t a great match be what reels in the viewers? It’s unfortunate how the drive for ratings not only skews sports programming, but at the end of the day, the perception of women. [Daily Mail U.K.]