USTA Launces New Programming, Facility Upgrades, Fan Enhancements For 2004 US Open

August 23, 2004 01:56 PM

Special Ceremonies Honor Olympic Tennis Medalists and Legacy of Althea Gibson
New Features Include Opening of the Court of Champions Attraction,
Restaurant and Facility Upgrades

US Open Series Bonus Challenge Payout at US Open Provides
Up to $1.3 Million in Additional Prize Money

FLUSHING, N.Y., August 20, 2004 - The USTA today announced a series of expanded fan enhancements for the 2004 US Open, including the opening of the US Open Court of Champions attraction, a series of special ceremonies honoring current and former greats throughout the tournament, and fan enhancements at the National Tennis Center. The 2004 US Open will be the culmination of the inaugural US Open Series, with the USTA awarding bonus prize money at the Open to the top three men’s and women’s finishers in the US Open Series.

New elements for the 2004 US Open include:

New Programming

Opening Night Ceremony: A special ceremony on Monday evening, August 30, will honor medalists in the tennis competition at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, which concludes with the Closing Ceremonies one night prior to the start of the US Open.

Court of Champions: The USTA will honor this year’s four new inductees - - Steffi Graf, John McEnroe, Margaret Court, and Jack Kramer - - in a special on-court presentation during Finals weekend.

Althea Gibson Tribute: The USTA will pay tribute to the legacy of Althea Gibson on Tuesday, September 7 - - the 46th anniversary of her second U.S. Championship. Gibson, who passed away on September 28, 2003, was the first black player to play and win the U.S. Championships, a feat she accomplished twice.

US Open Series Bonus Challenge Prize Money: For the first time, players will be competing for bonus prize money at the US Open. The 2004 US Open purse will top $17.75 million and will potentially exceed more than $19 million - representing the highest purse in sports -- as the top three men’s and women’s finishers in the US Open Series may earn up to an additional $1.3 million in bonus prize money at the US Open.

Prime Time Women’s Final: The prime time Women’s Singles Final on Saturday, September 11 will air on begin at 8:00 p.m. ET, live on CBS Sports. The “Super Saturday” day session begins at 12 noon, featuring the Men’s Singles Semifinals.

Juniors’ Finals on The Tennis Channel: For the first time, the Tennis Channel will be broadcasting the US Open Juniors’ Finals. The official tournament site has undergone a graphic-driven redesign. Expanded programming includes three daily broadband shows, the site will feature in-depth statistics and a new easier to access desktop On Demand Scoreboard.

Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Team Exhibition: Select members of the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Tennis Team will gear up for the Paralympic Games in Athens by participating in an on-court demonstration between night matches on Monday, September 6.

New at the USTA National Tennis Center

Court of Champions Attraction: The 9,000-square foot outdoor pavilion, bounded by the South Entry Gate and the Arthur Ashe Commemorative Garden and Sculpture, officially opens this year. The new attraction will feature a complete listing of all champions, as well as the special inductees, chronicling the achievements of the tournament’s greatest champions.

Lacoste Store: The new Lacoste store will sell the latest in fine sporting wear clothing from Lacoste, the company founded by Rene Lacoste, the U.S. Men’s Singles Championships in 1926 and 1927.

Upgraded and Improved Sound System: An improved sound system has been installed in Arthur Ashe Stadium and throughout the grounds to improve the sound throughout the National Tennis Center.

Renovated Restaurants: Each of the US Open’s stadium restaurants -- Aces, Stadium Bar & Grill, Mojito, Patio Cafe and the US Open Club -- have been renovated to provide a more enjoyable dining experience during the tournament.

New York City Outreach

Draw Ceremony At United Nations: The US Open Draw Ceremony will be held at the United Nations in New York City on Wednesday, August 25, reinforcing the US Open’s connection to New York City and the international scope of the Open which features players from more than 70 countries and is broadcast in more than 160 countries.

American Express Presents: The US Open Live at Rockefeller Center: This year American Express will be the presenting sponsor of US Open live broadcasts in Rockefeller Center. A large video screen will carry the live US Open feeds from USA Network and CBS Sports free to the public Saturday, September 4 through the finals on Sunday, September 12.

American Express Presents: US Open Live in Harlem: This three-day event over Labor Day weekend will bring large video screens carrying live US Open feeds to the State Office Building Plaza at 125th Street and 7th Avenue. In addition to the broadcasts a series of interactive tennis events will be constructed in the Plaza.

US Open Subway Centennial Express: The US Open and the Metropolitan Transit Authority will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the New York City Subway, Monday, August 30. A nostalgic train, featuring cars from the 1940’s through the 1990’s, will run along the IRT 7 from Grand Central to Willets Point station, bringing fans to Opening Day of the 2004 US Open.

Empire State Building: In celebration of opening night of the US Open, the Empire State Building will for the second straight year be lit in tennis ball yellow on Monday, August 30.

New School Tennis Courts: In conjunction with “Take the Field,” a public-private initiative, the USTA has contributed to the refurbishment of tennis courts at public schools in Queens - - the US Open’s backyard.

New Fan Enhancements

New “My US Open Account” Ticket Program: The USTA and Ticketmaster have created a new on-line service for season subscribers, providing fans the opportunity to transfer their tickets with the click of a button.

American Express Radio “Live at the US Open”: Personal radios again will be available at the American Express booth, allowing fans to hear live TV broadcast audio feeds and commentary while watching match play. Radios will be free to American Express Cardmembers and available for rental to all fans.

Expanded US Open SmashZone: US Open SmashZone, presented by AOL for Broadband, the interactive tennis experience for fans, will feature expanded programming and will serve as the US Open’s “Tennis Welcome Center.” SmashZone will open on Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Aetna, Saturday, August 28 and will remain open through Finals Weekend.

Community Outreach And Free Events and Activities

US Open Qualifying Tournament, August 24 - August 27: $1 Million in prize money and the last spots for the US Open main draw are at stake. Admission is free for all fans.

Feed the Children: The US Open will serve as a food distribution center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Friday, August 27 as part of Feed The Children's ongoing work worldwide.

Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess, August 28: The ninth annual tennis and music festival takes place Saturday, August 28 with free grounds admission to the National Tennis Center. Interactive games, and clinics begin at 9 a.m. (Tickets for the stadium show that features pop music sensation JoJo and tennis greats Andy Roddick and Serena Williams are available for $10 and $35 through and Ticketmaster).