The Lagos Open International Tennis Championships may have come and gone, but did the organizers really get a mileage for the whole package? Nigerian Tennis Live correspondent is trying to find out.
In 2017, the Tournament Director, Prince Wale Oladunjoye had announced that for the first time since inception of the ITF Futures, there would be gate pass for people who are interested in seeing world class tennis action.
"Go everywhere around the world, tennis lovers pay to watch tennis action. It is actually not a new requirement, therefore we are starting it this year," the grassroots sports enthusiast had told Nigerian Tennis Live during a conversation at the time.
Even though there were still empty seats inside the tennis arena, many more people than in 2017 bought tickets to watch the Lagos Open International Tennis Championships.
Many ardent tennis followers doubted the possibility of the ticketing working out as a good idea since everyone had been used to gatecrashing into the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan venue of the annual tournament. But it was not totally so.
Like in most cases where something new is being introduced, the idea was met with stiff disagreement from some quarters and just about 100 tickets were sold. Not bad for a first timer, maybe.
Fast forward to the 18th edition of the event, and things have drastically changed - for the better, that is.
Nigerian Tennis Live checks with the ticketers revealed that there was more than 100% rise from the sales of ticket in 2018 than in the previous year.
"Last year, we sold a hundred or thereabouts, but this year was totally different. People seem to be embracing the idea of buying tickets to watch tennis matches. Things are really getting better for the tournament," one of the ticketers who prefers anonymity, told our correspondent.
Asked if people patronized the online vendors to purchase the tickets, he noted that it was not quite encouraging.
He said: "Most people preferred to get their tickets at the venue of the tournament, but some were still more comfortable with the online purchase even though there were not many of them."
It does appear as if this new development is one that should be encouraged even as the organizers of the Lagos Open tournament are looking forward to the upgrade from ITF Futures to Challenger series.