SBJ/20100830/This Week's News

Ticket sales, sponsors drive another big year

This year’s U.S. Open Tennis Championships are set to have another stellar year commercially, with total revenue likely again topping $200 million.

The Open crossed the $200 million mark in revenue for the first time in 2008 and did so again in 2009.

The tournament last year set a record with attendance of 721,059. That figure represents approximately 99 percent of the capacity the tournament can handle, so there is little chance of growth there, but the U.S. Tennis Association said it is on track to at least top 700,000 in attendance. In addition, the potential for revenue growth from ticket sales exists because of moderate increases in most ticket price categories from last year. The highest-priced tickets were unchanged in cost.

Meanwhile, every sponsorship up for renewal in 2010 and 2011 has been renewed, said Harlan Stone, the USTA’s chief business and marketing officer. While the USTA declined to comment on specific renewals, that would mean Open sponsor stalwarts like Heineken and American Express, with deals coming due, have renewed.

Gross sponsorship revenue is expected to top $60 million this year, a 9 percent increase, and Stone projected a roughly 10 percent increase for next year.

In addition, hospitality will set a record this year with 157 companies buying a package, and the 90 suites at the National Tennis Center are sold out as well, Stone said.

— Daniel Kaplan

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