Summer’s Hottest Reality Series

June 2, 2005 05:10 PM

The top names in the game are playing with $2 million on the line in the US Open Series’ sizzling new season.

By Mark Preston

It is the summer’s hottest reality series. World-class athletes, who also happen to be world-renowned celebrities, relentlessly pursuing each other from town to town, hoping that each stop will provide them a stage upon which to shine. Every week, this great race introduces new challenges and new challengers as the participants wend their way toward the ultimate prize.

The trek across North America traces a path that would make Rand McNally dizzy, winding through nine cities, two countries and six weeks, leading at last to a grand finale in New York. Fittingly, those who win the most along the way reach New York with the most to win. No one gets fired, everyone gets fired up. This is the stuff of sizzling summer entertainment. This is the US Open Series.

Inaugurated in 2004, the US Open Series promised—and proved—to be a landmark initiative for the sport of tennis. Linking the entire North American summer hard-court circuit together under the umbrella of the US Open, the US Open Series created—for the first time ever in the sport—a cohesive and comprehensible tennis season, leading up to U.S. tennis’ very own Super Bowl—the US Open.

In total, the 2004 US Open Series events—including the US Open—generated a record 1.5 million attendees, 126 million TV viewers, more than 15 million website visits, and some $28 million in player prize money. These impressive numbers translate directly into an increase in tennis’ fan base. And by elevating the profile of the pro game and creating new stars and more fan interest, the US Open Series directly supports the USTA’s mission to grow the game.