The LPGA has decided to rescind their controversial language policy. They recently announced a policy that would require all players currently on tour to become fluent in English speaking in two years or be suspended. They also proposed to make English speaking a requirement to join the tour. This was an inderstandable stance by the organization as it is an American organization and relies heavily on the support of an English audience. I think the opponents of this policy forget that sports is part of the entertainament industry and must compete in this highly competitive marketplace. They must compete for our time and our entertainment dollar. All forms of professional athletics must fight for sponsorâ€™s support and television ratings.
Viewers like to relate to the players. When the personalities of athletes such as Wayne Gretzy, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, Paula Creamer, or Natalie Gulbis, shine through in the interviews that they do, fans relate to them. The fans tune in to watch and cheer for them. The ratings of these events go up and the sponsors are rewarded. If the LPGA is to survive they must create a following so sponsors will be willing to support them. To be able to create this fan interest the LPGA stars must let the viewers know who they are and let their charming personalities captivate the audience.
Now having rescinded this policy the LPGA is going to have a challenge on their hands to make these highly talented non-English speaking players fans favorites.