Two Rogers Cups in one

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:06 AM ET

Your annual professional tennis fix in this country is going to get condensed next year.

Normally, the men and women play consecutive weeks with one being held in Toronto at the Rexall Centre and the other in Montreal.

Next season, the two tournaments will be held concurrently.

Karl Hale, tournament director of the Rogers Cup in Toronto said that, from a fan standpoint, the biggest difference will be in the broadcast options, with three to choose from, one women’s match or two of the men’s matches at any given time.

“So the broadcasts will change, but on site it will be exactly the same,” he said on Sunday prior to the Roger Federer-Andy Murray final.

Well, maybe not exactly the same. Those on site at the Rex will be able to follow the goings-on in Montreal via the on-site video boards the tournament in Toronto introduced this season. Additionally, members of the media covering the events in Montreal and Toronto will have access to post-match interviews at both venues.

Once the tournaments advance to their respective semifinal stages, the matches will be staggered to ensure anyone wanting to catch all four semis and both finals will be able to see them all live.

Less TV

The downside to the new arrangement is it will mean less television coverage to the way it has been. Conservative estimates from Tennis Canada officials suggest a 30% decrease. Of course, any weather issues in either city and the broadcasters can immediately flip to the other tournament, assuming it’s not raining in both places.

As for this year’s tournament, Hale is calling it an unqualified success and who would argue?

Not only did the Rogers Cup get all four of the top seeds into the semifinals, it drew a tournament record 163,000 for the week, which is 8,000 more than the previous high. Actual session sellouts were down to five from a high of eight two years ago, but with additional seating capacity, there were still more on hand this year for the proceedings.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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