Go to contents

Should Beauty Get the Spotlight in Sports?

Posted July. 02, 2009 08:11,   


Sun Jong-koo, president and chief executive officer of the Korean electronics retail chain Hi Mart, made an unusual suggestion after being sworn in as chairman of the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association this year.

He proposed that the previous year’s winner, the top money earner, and special guest players be assigned to the last group of round one, which monopolizes audience and media attention.

Until last year, corporate sponsors and broadcast networks had held sway over the group assignments and usually preferred pretty golfers.

A golfer who won a major title in 2007 in a come-from-behind victory was assigned to a group far from the most coveted one the following year because sponsors and broadcasters did not prefer her.

This year, the organizers of the Wimbledon tennis championship in England are known to have given the most coveted 15,000-seat Center Court to female players based on looks rather than talent. Their action is believed to stem from a desire to boost ratings.

The British newspaper Daily Mail reported that beautiful players such as Maria Sharapova, Maria Kirilenko, Ana Ivanovic and Gisela Dulko almost monopolized the finest grass at Wimbledon.

World No. 1 Dinara Safina could not set foot on Center Court until the fourth round. No. 2 Serena Williams played there just two times in five matches.

Coach Lee Jin-soo, director of the Hansol Korea Open tournament, the nation’s only pro tennis tour for women, said, “Amid the economic crisis, there are times when a tournament’s survival depends on profitability.”

Court arrangements based on a player’s attractiveness should be recognized to a limited extent if they help attract sponsors and viewers, he said.