Wimbledon champions to get cool $1.5 million

By Mitch Phillips

The men's and women's champions at the All England Club will each get 150,000 pounds more than the 2009 winners and nearly double the amount from 10 years ago but still just short of the $1.6 million offered by the U.S. Open last year.

Total prize money for the June 21-July 4 event is 13.725 million pounds, an increase of 1.175 million from last year. The two runners-up will receive 500,000 pounds.

"It is important we offer a level of prize money which is both appropriate to the prestige of the event and which gives the players full and fair reward," Tim Phillips, chairman of the All England Club, told a news conference overlooking Center Court on Tuesday.

Explaining how the championships were able to fund such increases despite the gloomy economic climate, chief executive Ian Ritchie said they had benefited from long-running arrangements with commercial partners.

"It's important to be competitive," he said.

"With the official suppliers and broadcasters there is a recognition and interest in the success of the championships.

"We are looking at longer-term contracts and increases in values of these things.

"We are in a virtuous circle really. We are re-investing and innovating and happily that is reflected in our income so we can look after everyone a bit better." Ground ticket prices have been held from last year, despite the daily crowd limit being cut from 40,000 to 37,500 because improvements to Court Two have cut the outside court space.

Organizers said there were no plans to show any World Cup soccer matches on the big screens around the complex.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)