** EVENT TO SERVE AS US OPEN SERIES FINALE **
USTA Brings New ATP Sanction to its Pilot Pen Tennis Women’s Tournament in New Haven
Men and Women to Compete Week Prior to US Open, August 21-28
Over $1.2 Million in Prize Money at Stake, Plus US Open Series Bonus Points
ESPN2 and CBS Sports to Broadcast 18 Hours, Including Live Finals
NEW HAVEN, Conn., May 10, 2005 – The USTA today announced it has purchased an ATP tournament to create the first combined men’s and women’s summer tournament leading into the US Open. The new men’s tournament, previously played on Long Island, will be added to the existing Pilot Pen Tennis tournament, the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event already owned by the USTA, and played in New Haven, Conn.
As a result of this acquisition, the 2005 US Open Series - - the six-week summer tennis season that links all major ATP and WTA Tour tournaments in North America to the US Open - - will culminate August 21-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale University. The men’s and women’s winners of the US Open Series will compete for double prize money at the 2005 US Open. In addition, the newly enhanced Pilot Pen Tennis now will offer more than $1.2 million in prize money.
ESPN2 and CBS Sports will televise 18 hours of the new Pilot Pen Tennis event as part of the 100-plus hours of live television coverage for the US Open Series. The women’s event will conclude with its traditional Saturday final on August 27 while the men’s final will take place Sunday, August 28. The US Open begins Monday, August 29 in Flushing, N.Y.
“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Pilot Pen Tennis to create this breakthrough for the sport - - the first combined men’s and women’s tennis event in the summer leading into the US Open," said Arlen Kantarian, Chief Executive, Pro Tennis, USTA. "Combined tournaments are the most popular events in tennis and have been a goal of the US Open Series from its inception. The culmination of the US Open Series with a combined event in New Haven is a significant development for players, fans, and television partners.”
“The creation of a combined event at the Pilot Pen means added value for boxholders, sponsors, and all fans,” said Butch Buchholz, Chairman, Pilot Pen Tennis. “Our facility and infrastructure - - along with our partnership with the USTA, Pilot Pen Corporation, Anheuser-Busch, Yale University, and the City of New Haven - - enable us to provide a world-class experience for players and fans.”
"Pilot Pen Corporation always believed that professional tennis would work in Connecticut. Now, the fantasy gets even better with a combined women's and men's event - - only the fifth in the United States,” said Ron Shaw, President and CEO, Pilot Pen Corporation. “We are very proud to continue our sponsorship of this fantastic tournament, which brings tennis to our local fans and television coverage to 101 countries.”
“The ATP is delighted to return to New Haven and we are pleased that we are able to add another combined men’s and women’s event to the calendar, as we see that as a key step in growing the game,” said Mark Miles, CEO, ATP. “New Haven presented a compelling bid with first-rate facilities, a tournament staff with a track record of running a very successful Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event, and a location near New York City that will be enticing to players on the eve of the US Open.”
The US Open Series is the cohesive, six-week summer tennis season of 10 major North American tournaments linked to the US Open. The US Open Series launched in 2004, and resulted in record attendance, TV viewership and live broadcast hours for the sport. Television viewership was up over 50%, with regularly scheduled broadcasts on ESPN, CBS, NBC Sports, and The Tennis Channel. In total, the US Open Series events - - including the US Open - - generated a record 1.5 million attendees, 126 million TV viewers and over 15 million website visits, making it the strongest summertime property in sports. Lindsay Davenport and Lleyton Hewitt won the inaugural US Open Series.
The 2005 Pilot Pen presented by Michelob ULTRA (www.pilotpentennis.com), a US Open Series event, will be held August 19-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. The Pilot Pen is the first combined men’s and women’s summer tournament leading into the US Open. In 2004 an all-star field featured some of the biggest names in women’s tennis such as Maria Sharapova, Jennifer Capriati and Martina Navratilova. A total of 18 hours of the 2005 Pilot Pen will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and CBS Sports. For information on tickets, travel packages, sponsorships or on how to become a volunteer at the 2005 Pilot Pen, call the Pilot Pen Tennis office at (203) 776-7331 or (888) 99-PILOT.
The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. It owns and operates the US Open, the largest annually attended sporting event in the world and, in 2004, launched the US Open Series which links 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 96 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S., and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. A not-for-profit organization with more than 665,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds to promote and develop the growth of tennis, from the grassroots to the professional levels. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com.