WTA Birmingham is being downgraded.
The what was a Premier Event will now be an international event. This change could happen as soon as next year if not 2021 for sure.
This year we saw world number one and two Ash Barty, Naomi Osaka and other names including Venus, Muguruza and Konta amongst others but it may now struggle to attract the top stars.
The tournament usually pulls in around 20,000 to the Edgebaston Priory Club but fails to sell out.
With this downgrade points on offer to players and prize money will take a hit. Prize money could decrease by $750,000 across the tournament as a result.
There does look to be a big shake up in the lead up to Wimbledon on the tours with Wimbledon keen to ‘protect’ grass court tournaments but a home tournament like Birmingham is suffering for what is expected a new tournament to run simultaneously in Germany.
With Fed Cup moving to one location (bar qualifying) and the ATP Finals leaving London in 2021 seeing top class tennis players is becoming less possible for British public. Maria Sharapova of course signed a two year deal with Birmingham to play there a couple of years back but was injured on both occasions and hasn’t been since.
The shake up also sees the grass court tournament leave Antalya this year where let’s be honest no one went to. It will be moving to Mallorca which also holds the ladies tournament.
Eastbourne and Nottingham which are either side of Birmingham are not set to be effected. Whatever does happen, I will still be going to Birmingham!
It will be interesting to see how these changes effect Birmingham. Less prize money and points will lead to lower ticket prices as well, surely?