US Open Series Launches Fourth Season

July 17, 2007 10:33 AM

Multi-Million Dollar Marketing Campaign Features Biggest Names in the Game

100 Hours of National Television on ESPN2 Highlighted by Back-to-Back
Men’s and Women’s Finals on Sundays

The Tennis Channel to Provide Additional Early Round Coverage; Select Finals Coverage on CBS and NBC

Seven National Sponsors On-Board

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The USTA has announced the launch of the fourth season of the US Open Series, the six-week tennis season that links 10 ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour summer tournaments in North America to the US Open. Since its inception in 2004, the six-week US Open Series has doubled television viewership and increased attendance, while generating new corporate partnerships for the sport.

In 2007, the Series will be featured on more than 100 hours of national television hours on ESPN2, highlighted by back-to-back men’s and women’s Finals on Sundays and premieres Friday, July 20. The Tennis Channel also will provide more than 100 hours of early round coverage from US Open Series events, and select tournament finals will air on CBS and NBC. The entire US Open Series season will be supported by a multimillion dollar national marketing campaign and increased sponsor programs on the national and local levels.

“I’m really eager to play in the US Open Series this summer and want this year to be my year,” said Venus Williams. “One of the best things about the US Open Series, is that fans can now follow the whole summer season on TV every weekend.”

“The US Open Series is a win for tennis, and especially for the fans because it’s created a regular season for tennis that fans can follow every week,” said two-time US Open Series champion Andy Roddick. “I want to defend my title and take that momentum into the US Open, as I have the past two years.”

“Traditionally, the concept of a season had never really been a part of tennis, and that’s now changed with the US Open Series,” said Arlen Kantarian, Chief Executive, Professional Tennis, USTA. “Sports in America is about telling a season-long story with a big finale, and tennis now has that platform.”

National Television Broadcasts

More than 100 hours of tennis action will be televised during the six weeks of the US Open Series, with ESPN2 remaining the lead broadcaster, and additional national coverage on CBS and NBC. The US Open Series, with the US Open, provides tennis more live national television coverage during its six-week season than any other summer sport over the same time period. Additionally, The Tennis Channel will carry more than 100 additional hours of USOS coverage.

Numerous television enhancements have been introduced since the launch of the Series, including appointment television with back-to-back men’s and women’s Sunday Finals, ESPN “Tennis GameDay” desks at select tournaments, and the introduction of instant replay technology last year. In all, USOS broadcasts reached 42 million viewers, which is twice as many viewers than pre-USOS numbers.

National Marketing Campaign

This year’s multimillion dollar marketing and advertising campaign features some of the games biggest stars and is a multimedia effort that includes national television, radio, print, online and customized local executions in US Open Series markets. The campaign is the third year of a fully integrated promotion campaign for men’s and women’s pro tennis in the U.S.

The campaign, titled “The Greatest Road Trip in Sports” – takes a lighthearted look at how the top tennis players in the world travel the country to compete in US Open Series events. More than 20 players, including Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, James Blake, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, were filmed for the campaign, and they reveal their personal sides as they prepare to hit the road and head across the country to compete in the summer tournaments that lead up to the US Open.

In all, three 30-second and six 15-second TV ads will comprise the television campaign, which will air on nationally in and outside of tennis programming on CBS, ESPN2, NBC, ABC, and The Tennis Channel. Print executions will appear throughout the summer in USA Today, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, and SportsBusiness Journal, and for the first time ever in People.

US Open Series Sponsors

The US Open Series is now supported by seven national sponsors including Lever 2000, American Express, Olympus, MassMutual Financial Group, and three new sponsors this year in Valspar Paint, Wolf Blass Wines and Femara. Two of the largest sponsor promotions are being conducted by Lever 2000 and Valspar.

Lever 2000, the lead sponsor of the US Open Series, is conducting one the largest tennis promotions in history. Intended to challenge Americans of all ages to “raise the game” on physical fitness, the promotion includes a free tennis lesson offer on more than 2 million specially marked packages of Lever 2000 Bar Soap. Lever also will provide the opportunity for tennis fans attending USOS tournaments with the opportunity to win free tennis lessons from a local area tennis pro.

Valspar is launching the “Valspar Paint Performance Challenge,” a tennis skills challenge to take place at US Open Series events, with the winner from each market being flown to New York City to compete in a national playoff at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The final winner will compete with the pros during the CBS broadcast of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day on August 26.