US Open prepares to welcome fans back to Grand Slam expecting to bring an economic boost to NYC
Game, set, match.
The U.S. Open will be held in New York City with 100% spectator capacity marking the first return to a normal tournament for the global tennis community.
Last year, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) still held a "fan-less" grand slam after receiving permission from government state officials.
USTA Chief Revenue Officer Lewis Sherr, told FOX Business that last year’s U.S. Open didn’t have the same feeling as in other years.
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"We take our energy from New York and the ability to imbue the event once again with the…energy of New York and our fans is huge and exciting for all of us," Sherr said.
In 2019, the tournament hosted more than 700,000 attendees. Tickets for this year's event went on sale to the general public beginning on July 15.
Spanish professional tennis player Pablo Andújar told FOX Business that "last year's U.S. Open was pretty cold."
"You need energy coming from the fans in a grand slam and you can feel that even more because there is a lot of people in the U.S. Open," he added.
Andújar, the winner of four ATP Tour singles titles, reached the last round at the 2019 U.S. Open, which was his best result to date in a grand slam.
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In a city still recovering from the harsh economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Open brings a new hope to revive commerce in the city. A study conducted by USTA predicts the grand slam will generate more than $1 billion in economic impact for New York City. The USTA hires over 7,000 workers to support the event, according to Sherr. That's in addition to economic activity such as sponsorships, advertisement spending and hotel bookings all associated with the event.
"We think in many ways we’re helping…kick off the return to normalcy or certainly the return to much more optimistic times in New York," Sherr said.
The sport has grown tremendously. The USTA had more than 4 million new players start participating in tennis or return to the game, marking over a 20% increase in participation since the start of the pandemic. The association attributed the increase to tennis being an outdoor sport meeting social distance activity requirements.
Shortly before the start of the tournament, officials announced that spectators would need to show proof of a least on COVID-19 vaccination before attending any matches.
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With the world beginning to emerge from coronavirus restrictions, Andújar said that he is excited to see how the United States will manage the tournament.
"In Europe, we are starting with small percentages of people….and [don’t] allow whole stadiums to be full," he said.
The pro international player expressed his excitement for the upcoming tournament, saying he is "really happy [the U.S. Open] is happening because…tennis, without fans, is not tennis."
The U.S. Open will take place at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center beginning Monday, Aug. 30 and running through Sunday, Sept. 12.