The Bank of the West Classic and IMG

By George Foster, David Hoyt
2004 | Case No. SPM13
In 2004, the Bank of the West Classic was the longest continuously running women’s professional tennis tournament. The tournament was owned by IMG, which managed the careers of many premier athletes and operated prestigious events (both sporting and non-sporting) worldwide. IMG’s objective was to grow tournament income by 15 percent annually. Following the 2004 event, tournament executive director Erik van Dillen, and director Gus Sampras, considered ways to achieve the growth objective. One possibility was to increase the number of players in the tournament from 28 to 48. The most obvious benefit of this change would be to increase interest in the tournament’s early rounds, as the top players would have to play earlier in the week, potentially increasing attendance. However, there were also costs, as well a number of non-financial considerations. The case describes the economics of operating a sporting event, and the potential costs and benefits of the change in tournament size.
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