This year's 40 percent increase in prize money for the singles champions tops a growing amount given to the winners. The men's and women's champions will receive £1.6 million (over $2.4 million), which is £450,000 more than last year.
And it's 800 times the £2,000 the men's winner received in the first Open Wimbledon in 1968, when both amateurs and professionals were allowed to compete and prize money was given for the first time. Adjusted for inflation, that amount would now be about £27,000 to £52,000, or somewhere in the range of what first- and second-round losers now receive. The women's champion that year got £750 -- or 38 percent of the men's amount.
The amounts have gone up regularly since, doubling from £5,000 to £10,000 in 1974 and then climbing from £21,600 in 1981 to £41,667 in 1982, £66,600 in 1983 and £100,000 in 1984. There was another series of 12-20 percent growth between 1989 and 1991 and 1993 and 1994, by which time the purse had become £345,000.
Then there was a steady increase of between 3 and 10 percent a year until going from £750,000 to £850,000 in 2009 and then reaching £1 million in 2010.
The gap between the mens' and women's amount decreased during the first decade until reaching 90 percent in 1977, where it generally stayed until 2001, after which it continued to go down until equal prize money was introduced in 2007.
This year's 40 percent increase, the largest in the tournament's history, was largely the result of strong demands made by the ATP on behalf of players for a greater share of the revenue generated by the Grand Slams.
The tournament's profits, or "surplus" in All England Club parlance, go to the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and were just £37,310 in the first Open Wimbledon in 1968, according to figures on the tournament website. Today's amount is more than a 1,000 times larger, thanks mostly to TV rights, sponsorship and various ticket-sale initiatives.
Six figures were reached for the first time in 1976 with £184,516, jumping to £501,616 in 1977 and going over £1 million in 1981. That began a period of huge growth, with significant increases nearly every year until 1998, including from £16,419,974 in 1993 to £27,876306 the following year.
After reaching £32,044,906 in 2001, reported profits actually fell for a few years before climbing back to £35,173,814 in 2011 and £37,753,390 last year.
Attendance is limited by the capacity of the grounds and has not grown as much as prize money or profits, but it has gone up by about two-thirds since attracting 276,270 in 1968. Attendance crossed and has stayed over the 400,000 mark since 1997, reaching more than 500,000 once, in 2009 -- increases attributable to the emergence of a regular British contender for the title and the expansion of facilities during that period.