SBD/31/Events Attractions

WTA TOUR'S YOUNG GUNS ARE THE HEADLINERS OF '98 U.S. OPEN

          With the U.S. Open beginning today at the U.S. National
     Tennis Center in Flushing, NY, the WASHINGTON POST's
     Jennifer Frey wrote that U.S. tennis "finds itself in the
     spotlight, facing several questions. ... The only aspect of
     the sport that does not seem to be in question is the health
     of the women's professional game.  It clearly is enjoying a
     boom time, both internationally and in the United States." 
     In an effort to boost awareness, both the ATP and WTA Tours
     "appear to be recognizing the need to make their current top
     players more accessible to the public."  WTA Tour CEO Bart
     McGuire: "The fact is, we're in the entertainment business,
     and unless the human side of these athletes comes out, we're
     not going to get the other fans -- the ones who aren't
     necessarily hard-core fans of the sport."  Frey, on the
     men's game: "[U]ntil the men can find their own versions of
     Monica, Venus and Martina -- or market their current players
     more successfully -- it is safe to assume that [Pete]
     Sampras will continue to field questions about the state of
     tennis today" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/30).  In previewing the
     Open, columnist George Vecsey writes that "the women are
     more interesting. ... [T]hey bring a mixture of
     competitiveness and personality and vulnerability to this
     Open" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/30).  CNN/SI's Sonja Steptoe also
     profiled the WTA Tour on CNN's "Page 1" ("Page 1," 8/29).  
          NET CORDS: Sunday's N.Y. TIMES featured a 96-page U.S.
     Open ad supplement (THE DAILY)....In L.A., Scott Moe reviews
     the Open's official Web site at www.usopen.org, which "has
     all the bases covered for fans."  Some of its "best
     features" are the pages that show the "entire draw in
     bracket form."  Moe: "But the best thing about the site is
     that it includes a search engine."  Moe writes the site "has
     plenty to keep any tennis fan happy" (L.A. TIMES, 8/31).
          PILOT PEN: Attendance for the inaugural six-day women's
     Pilot Pen Int'l in New Haven, CT, was 40,351.  Coupled with
     the men's nine-day tournament total of 91,625, it added up
     to 131,976.  The women's event "did poorly upfront, but
     recovered with a strong walk-up business."  Overall, the
     men's tournament outdrew the women's event by 2% on a per-
     session basis (Garber & Gonzalez, HARTFORD COURANT, 8/30). 
     
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