The USTA has announced a series of expanded fan enhancements and programming for the 2010 U.S. Open. This year’s Opening Night ceremony will celebrate those who “Dream, Succeed and Inspire,” with appearances by Martina Navratilova, James Blake and other notable celebrities, as well as a special performance by Gloria Estefan. Other on-court celebrations during the tournament will include a demonstration featuring the QuickStart Tennis play format. New features at the U.S. Open this year include upgraded facilities across the grounds, including new concession areas and the Octagon merchandise marquee, and expanded streaming on USOpen.org of all matches in all television windows.
Other fan enhancements include the introduction of the Promenade Experience, which will better integrate the fans located in the Promenade sections of Arthur Ashe Stadium into the U.S. Open experience, the expansion of SmashZone, the premier interactive fan experience in tennis, and a unique doubles exhibition featuring four legends of the game. The USTA also will host its second annual Family Day at the U.S. Open, with reserved family seating in Louis Armstrong Stadium, and the USTA will announce the 2010 winner of the country’s Best Tennis Town.
►U.S. Open National Playoffs: This year, for the first time, the USTA invited all tennis players over the age of 14 to “Dream Big” and compete for a spot in the U.S. Open via the U.S. Open National Playoffs. More than 1,200 players across the country competed in 16 Sectional Qualifying Tournaments, and the 16 male and female qualifiers then
competed in tournaments held in conjunction with Olympus U.S. Open Series events in Atlanta and Stanford, Calif., respectively. Blake Strode of St. Louis and Alexandra Mueller of Abington, Pa., won the Men’s and Women’s Championships and earned wild cards into the 2010 U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament.
►Special Opening Night Ceremony: A ceremony celebrating those who “Dream, Succeed and Inspire” will feature four-time U.S. Open champion Martina Navratilova, fan-favorite James Blake and reigning U.S. Open Wheelchair singles and doubles champion Esther Vergeer. The special ceremony in Arthur Ashe Stadium will be hosted by ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour and will feature a special musical performance by Grammy winner Gloria Estefan. The ceremony will be televised live on ESPN2.
►QuickStart Tennis Exhibition: The QuickStart Tennis play format will be demonstrated for the first time in Arthur Ashe Stadium during the night session on Thursday, Sept. 9. The demonstration will feature top QuickStart Tennis players under the age of 10.
►Promenade Experience: Fans sitting in the promenade section of Arthur Ashe Stadium will enjoy a new “experience” at the 2010 U.S. Open. During each night session in 2010, NBC Sports’ Harry Cicma will serve as an in-stadium announcer and fans will be entertained by the “Prom Patrol,” who will provide prize giveaways. Wireless cameras will broadcast the Promenade Experience on the in-stadium vieos screens, and fans will have chances to win behind-the-scenes U.S. Open experiences. The Promenade Experience also will feature celebrities and former tennis professionals who will visit the promenade patrons.
►Best Tennis Town: For the second consecutive year, the USTA will announce the winner of America’s “Best Tennis Town”. Representatives from the finalist cities of Atlanta, Charleston, S.C., and Richmond, Va., will attend the U.S. Open, with the winner receiving $100,000 for tennis programming in its local area. The nationwide call required towns to self-nominate via application form and submit a five-minute video highlighting the community’s passion for tennis. Ten cities were chosen as semifinalists and the final three were selected based on online voting by the general public.
►Green Initiatives: For the third consecutive year, the USTA is expanding its efforts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in order to ensure that the U.S. Open will register as little impact on the environment as possible. The NTC grounds will feature site-wide composting for the first time. Hybrid vehicles will make up 60 percent of the Mercedes-Benz player transportation fleet in the automaker’s first year as the US Open’s official transportation provider, and Esurance, the car insurance company, will sponsor this year’s daily MetroCard giveaway, where 125 fans each day will win a $4.50 MetroCard to encourage the use of mass transit to the U.S. Open. Additionally, PSAs featuring official spokesperson Alec Baldwin will run on video screens throughout the NTC.
►The U.S. Open Welcomes Back ESPN and Tennis Channel: For the second consecutive year, ESPN2 will serve as the lead cable broadcaster for the U.S. Open, providing approximately 100 hours of TV coverage and more than 260 hours of coverage on its signature broadband network ESPN3.com. Tennis Channel will provide “round the clock” coverage of the U.S. Open in 2010, with nearly 250 hours of planned total coverage. In addition to live match coverage, Tennis Channel will bring fans up-to-speed with post-match highlight shows and next-day preview shows. Additionally, Tennis Channel will construct a new set off next to Mojitos Restaurant, allowing both cable partners to provide live daily coverage from the U.S. Open grounds.
►Microphones in the Players Boxes: For the first time, microphones have been installed in the player boxes in Arthur Ashe Stadium, which will help viewers get even closer to the emotion and drama of the U.S. Open by adding the perspective of the players’ guests as matches unfold.
►Television Fly Cameras: Two television fly cameras will be installed—one over Arthur Ashe Stadium and one running from the stadium to the food court—which will allow fans a new overhead perspective of the excitement of the U.S. Open.
►Live Online Streaming: After USOpen.org introduced the most extensive live streaming in the history of the U.S. Open in 2009, the official Web site of the U.S. Open will go even further this year, airing all matches within all broadcast television windows on CBS Sports, ESPN2 and Tennis Channel. Fans will be able to stream up to five matches simultaneously, and live streaming also will continue to integrate live match stats updates, fan comments and picture-in-picture capabilities.
►Mobile enhancements: Working with IBM, USOpen.org will expand on last year’s popular iPhone application to provide iPhone users on-site an “augmented reality” where they can take virtual tours of the U.S. Open grounds. The feature uses GPS and camera functionality to allow fans to scan the grounds and look through walls to check live scores and stats on specific courts, and show locations and distances of food options, restrooms, first aid facilities, wheelchair accessibility and other information around the U.S. Open.
►Family Day: The U.S. Open is holding its second annual Family Day on Tuesday, Aug. 31. Parents accompanied by children 14-and-under can sit together in reserved seating in Louis Armstrong Stadium. The day’s activities will feature a family scavenger hunt, tennis giveaways, family-friendly entertainment attractions and a special QuickStart demonstration with Tracy Austin. An exclusive family breakfast, located in the Corporate Hospitality Pavilion in the Indoor Training Center, is also available as a ticket package for purchase and includes early access to Smashzone and a VIP gift bag.
►Kids Nightly Anthems: An instant tradition from the past three U.S. Opens, children selected from auditions at the U.S. Open Casting Call held at Radio City Music Hall in early June will perform in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Out of the 258 children who tried out, 14 were selected to perform. Children from around the country auditioned for this one-of-a-kind chance.
►QuickStart Clinic on Court 12: The USTA will hold a QuickStart Tennis clinic on Court 12 on Saturday, Sept. 4, from 1:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. that is open to all ticketholders. The USTA will provide age-appropriate racquets and balls, and USTA coaches will be available to provide teaching tips.
►SmashZone: The premier fan interactive attraction in tennis, SmashZone will return to the 2010 U.S. Open at its location in the Indoor Training Center. The 20,000-square-foot interactive experience features the QuickStart Tennis play format (tennis scaled to size for kids) with special guest appearances on our “Center Court.” New attractions this year include the Tennis Hall of Fame Gallery, and opportunity to rally against an electronic backboard in a series of timed activities in the Training Zone presented by EveryoneBreathe.com.
►U.S. Open Gallery – International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum: Each year since 1999, the US Open Gallery features a display from the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. The gallery has moved to its new location inside SmashZone, where this year fans can have their photo taken with a replica U.S. Open Trophy, meet legends of the game and experience tennis history. The U.S. Open Gallery is open daily.
►Chase Quick Deposit: Fans can visit one of two on-site Chase booths during each session to enter the Chase QuickDeposit PIX2WIN sweepstakes. Each day, one grand prize winner will receive $1,000, 10 winners will receive $100, and up to 100 winners will get two passes to the new Chase Lounge.
►Olympus: Olympus will have a new booth this year that provides fans the opportunity to make their own commercials based on the U.S. Open “It Must Be Love” campaign. The booth will be located in the South Plaza.
►Stonyfield Café: This year, the Food Village will now feature Stonyfield Café, a grab-and-go dining option dedicated to serving healthy food, fast. Sonyfield Café will offer food options that are all-natural and/or organic, locally grown and sustainable.
►U.S. Open Court of Champions Induction: Margaret Osborne duPont and Ken Rosewall will be inducted into the U.S. Open Court of Champions in a ceremony held prior to the men’s singles final on Sunday, Sept. 12. Osborne duPont won three straight U.S. National Championships singles titles from 1948-50 and won 13 U.S. National Championships doubles titles, including 10 straight from 1941-50. Rosewall swept the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at the 1956 U.S. National Championships and also won the 1970 U.S. Open. Following his induction into the U.S. Open Court of Champions, Rosewall will toss the coin for the men’s singles final.
►Upgraded Concessions and Restaurants: The East Gate Concession Stand has been entirely rebuilt, as has the Patio Café adjacent to Arthur Ashe Stadium, which will provide fans even more food and drink options as they roam the grounds at the U.S. Open. Levy Restaurants, the official restaurateurs of the U.S. Open, is offering a number of new menu items across the grounds, including new offerings in the Heineken Light Lounge.
►The Octagon: The Octagon, which is responsible for 50 percent of all merchandise sales at the U.S. Open, has been entirely renovated. Point of sales will increase from 24 to 30, the interior display wall size will double in capacity and visual merchandising capabilities will be vastly improved.
►Doubles Exhibition: Following the success of the U.S. Open Champions Invitational, the 2010 U.S. Open will feature a special doubles exhibition match on Thursday evening, Sept. 9, featuring tennis legends Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova competing against Pat Cash and Mats Wilander.
►Wheelchair Tennis: The 2010 U.S. Open Wheelchair Competition, taking place Sept. 9-12, will bring 20 of the worlds’ top wheelchair athletes. Now in its fifth year, the competition will feature a Men’s, Women’s and Quad division and both singles and doubles play. Wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis, except the ball can bounce twice.
►Record Prize Money: The 2010 U.S. Open purse will top $22.6 million, marking the fourth consecutive year that the tournament’s prize money has increased by $1 million. Both the men’s and women’s U.S. Open singles champions will earn a record $1.7 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money based on their performances in the Olympus U.S. Open Series. The top three men’s and top three women’s finishers in the Olympus U.S. Open Series Bonus Challenge will together earn up to an additional $2.6 million in bonus prize money, which provides a potential total payout of $25.2 million.
►U.S. Open in Madison Square Park: After a year hiatus, the U.S. Open will return to Madison Square Park, which will set up projection screens to view the event each day of the tournament from Friday, Sept. 3-Sunday, Sept. 12. The U.S. Open in Madison Square Park will be presented by American Express.