2006 US Open Series Begins Third Season

July 11, 2006 03:30 PM

Third Year of US Open Series Kicks-Off -- Covers 6 Weeks and 10 Tournaments with Over $30 Million in Total Prize Money Culminating at the US Open

Popular Series Has Increased Attendance, Doubled Television Viewership and Introduced an Integrated Tennis Marketing Campaign

Instant Replay, HDTV Broadcasts, and Presenting Sponsor New This Year

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 11, 2006 – The third year of the US Open Series -- the eight-week tennis season that links the 10 ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour summer tournaments in North America to the US Open -- gets underway next week at the RCA Championships in Indianapolis and continues through August 26 with the conclusion of the Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven, CT, prior to the start of the US Open.

Over the eight-week Series, including the US Open, more than 1.6 million fans will attend live tennis action and over 100 million are expected to tune in on television. Over 200 players will compete for $30 million in total prize money and a possible $1 million in bonus prize money at the US Open for the winners of the US Open Series Lever 2000 Challenge. The tournament broadcast schedule is as follows (go to usopenseries.com for full television listings):

“The US Open Series has created a consistent, regular season for tennis over the course of the key summer months that fans have responded to in increased numbers,” said Arlen Kantarian, Chief Executive, Professional Tennis, USTA. “This year -- with the addition of instant replay, HDTV broadcasts, a new presenting sponsor, and over $30 million in prize money on the line -- we look forward to another year of innovation and growth for the sport.”

The US Open Series will include the addition of instant replay line-calling technology with a player challenge system at all ten tournaments in order to improve officiating while increasing fan interest. Live reviews will be played on in-stadium video boards simultaneously with TV replays.

The USTA also announced the addition of a lead sponsor to the Series with Lever 2000 sponsoring the US Open Series Lever 2000 Challenge that awards bonus prize money based on a player’s performance during the six weeks and their result at the US Open. The USTA will offer up to an additional $2.6 million in potential bonus prize money at the US Open to the top three finishers in the US Open Series. The men’s and women’s winners of the of the US Open Series will play for $1 million in bonus prize money at the US Open. In addition, the second-place finishers can earn up to an additional $500,000, while the third-place finishers in the US Open Series can earn up to an additional $250,000.

This year, a nationwide advertising and marketing campaign themed “The Greatest Road Trip in Sports” will support the launch of the US Open Series. The television ad debuted nationally on NBC’s Wimbledon coverage and will run throughout July and August in print, radio, television and online outlets. Television ads will appear on CBS, ESPN2, NBC, and The Tennis Channel, while print executions will be seen in USA Today, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, and SportsBusiness Journal -- and for the first time ever in Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler and Architectural Digest.

The US Open Series has doubled television viewership from pre-US Open Series numbers and introduced numerous television enhancements including:

  • Appointment television with back-to-back men’s and women’s Sunday finals on ESPN2
  • ESPN2 “Tennis GameDay” desks at select tournaments throughout the summer
  • Extended high definition coverage on ESPN2, CBS and coverage on ESPN Deportes
  • Less commercial breaks and increased emphasis on player profiles

Last year’s US Open Series champions were Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick with Lindsay Davenport and Lleyton Hewitt winning the inaugural 2004 US Open Series.