The USTA has joined with New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Queens officials to release details of a proposed strategic vision for future development at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, site of the U.S. Open. The strategic vision—a series of interconnected construction projects that include building developments, infrastructure upgrades and improvements to site circulation—aims to enhance the current conditions at the NTC and preserve its stature as a world-class venue. The project will positively impact the facility’s ability to host its flagship event, the U.S. Open, while simultaneously providing a superior experience for both visiting fans and players, allowing the City of New York to continue to reap substantial economic benefits.
“The U.S. Open is one of the city’s greatest sporting events, and it generates more than $750 million a year in economic activity,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The City recognizes the crucial need to improve the USTA facility and supports this vision, so that the center remains a top-ranked tennis venue capable of hosting the U.S. Open, and thereby, allowing the tournament to remain in New York City for many decades.”
The project, expected to develop throughout a multi-year period and cost hundreds of millions of dollars, will be undertaken by the USTA, which will investigate a multitude of potential financing options. The project will primarily entail the replacement and renovation of aging facilities and infrastructures. Since 1978, the USTA has invested more than $500 million of its own funds into the NTC, and this project will continue that investment.
“Our goal remains to ensure that the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center remains a world-class facility for the top professional tennis players, for the hundreds of thousands of fans who annually attend the U.S. Open, and, as importantly, the near hundred thousand recreational tennis players who use this facility all year-round,” said Jon Vegosen, chairman of the board and president of the USTA. “The Strategic Vision will enable us to achieve this goal.”
Currently, the U.S. Open is New York City’s largest and most valued annual public sporting event, and generates $756 million in economic impact. Attendance now regularly tops 700,000, making the U.S. Open the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world. On television and through various media, the U.S. Open reaches a global audience, attracting 85 million TV viewers in the United States and is broadcast to 188 countries, with more than 41,000 hours of coverage.
Most notably, the project calls for the construction of two new stadiums, one to replace the aging Louis Armstrong Stadium in its current location at the northeast corner of the site, and the other a brand new Grandstand Stadium, built in a different location at the southwest corner of the property. Seven tournament courts on the southern section of the site will be relocated between 30-50 feet, and a new walkway will be built to allow for easy access through the southern part of the site. Two parking garages will be constructed over existing parking lots to accommodate additional spaces, and seven courts on the northwest section–five practice and two tournament- will be replaced and linked by a new, elevated viewing platform that will provide better seating and viewing options for fans.
As a direct result of the collective enhancements, the project will enable the facility to accommodate an extra 10,000 people each day during the US Open, increasing attendance by approximately 100,000 new visitors, and amounting to a significant economic boost to Queens, New York City and the entire metropolitan region. The U.S. Open creates 6,000 seasonal jobs–with 85 percent of all employees coming from New York City and 41 percent from Queens. These 6,000 seasonal jobs yield the equivalent of 585 (direct and indirect) full- and part-time jobs for Queens residents, earning $40.33 million in direct and indirect employee compensation.
"The U.S. Open is a great event for the City, for Queens and for Flushing Meadow Park," said New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "We fully support the expansion of the National Tennis Center and look forward to working with the USTA to advance these improvements."
Situated on approximately 42-acres in the park, the NTC is one of the world’s largest public recreational tennis facilities, with indoor and outdoor amenities open for public use throughout most of the calendar year, hosting approximately 100,000 patrons.
“It is our privilege to partner with the City of New York on the high-level expansion of our facility, and by doing so, continue a long-standing collaboration deeply rooted in the annual success of the U.S. Open,” said Gordon Smith, executive director and chief operating officer of the USTA. “The partnership is just as vital today as it’s ever been, and by working together we can preserve the U.S. Open as a world-class event, which will benefit the city and local community for many years to come.”