The words Brexit and sports may seldom be spoken in the same breath, but the international nature of tennis puts it directly in the line of impact–especially when the prize money is paid out in British pounds.
Saturday’s Wimbledon winner Serena Williams celebrated with a cool 2.0 million pounds–up 110,000 pounds over last year’s payout. But while this sounds like a wonderful 5% raise, it was actually a bitter drop over last year, due to the pound’s crash.
Last July, the pound was worth $1.5516, giving Serena a prize of $2,929,500 for her 21st Major title. But today’s value of the pound at $1.30 means she will only walk home with $2,597,400.
So what should have been a massive 5% raise turned out to be a $332,100 pay cut–around 11% less than last year.
If she was so willing, Williams could keep her winnings in pounds and hope for a recovery to recoup some of her winnings. Had she played before the Brexit vote, a month before when the pound was worth $1.43–she would have come away with $2,860,000–$262,600 more than what she got. Depending on how much earlier she played, the difference could haave been as much as $380,000. If the pound rebounds to its pre-Brexit value, she will still be down from last year, but not by quite as much.
At the end of the day, what is the difference really between $2.6 and $2.9 million? Maybe very little, or maybe one of these.