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SBD/Issue 1/Facilities & Venues
Arthur Ashe Stadium Roof May Not Make Financial Sense For USTA
Published September 14, 2009
|A Retractable Roof At Arthur Ashe Stadium
Could Cost More Than $100M
COMPREHENSIVE STUDY: USTA officials Saturday said that the organization is "undertaking a comprehensive study on the feasibility of building a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium and expects to make a final decision next year." USTA Chair & President Lucy Garvin "commissioned a study this year of the entire Billie Jean King National Tennis Center" that includes "studies into whether a roof would be cost-effective; whether an additional smaller stadium could be added; and how much maintenance and renovation the stadiums would require over the next several years." Garvin: "I’d like to see us come to a final decision over the next several months as to what we’re going to do." USTA officials said that they have been given "estimates of more than $100[M] to add a roof." In N.Y., David Waldstein noted the USTA "must weigh the cost against its primary function as a nonprofit organization promoting tennis nationwide" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/13). Smith: "It will be some time before there's any decision made on whether or not to go forward with the roof. We would be looking at issues some years down the road, and the present economy has not slowed the process at all" (AP, 9/12).
INEVITABLE MOVE? CBS and ESPN tennis analyst John McEnroe said that he lobbied USTA officials "from the start to put a roof over massive Arthur Ashe Stadium when it was built to replace Louis Armstrong Stadium in 1997 as the tournament's main stage." McEnroe: "It seemed like a no-brainer but people at the USTA decided they wanted to build the biggest (stadium). But at the same price they could've had a slightly smaller stadium and had a roof" (REUTERS, 9/11). YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase wrote, "The traditionalist in me abhors the idea of playing a Grand Slam event indoors even if the practicality of not having to disappoint CBS and ticket holders (in that order) makes sense for the USTA to outlay those costs." Chase: "The roof is an inevitability and [the weekend's] cancellations will only hasten that process" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/11).