Generally on a Monday morning, the Grand Central subway station
is a bastion of well-dressed business people, gritting their teeth,
and making the transition from the weekend to the work week. This
morning, however, I noticed a higher proportion of smiling,
bright-eyed people, and many of them were wearing tennis gear,
looking more casual than the usual Grand Central commuter. They
were almost all crossing the station towards the 7 train, heading
to the Queens-bound side of the platform. They were most likely on
their way to the train's penultimate stop, Mets - Willets Point,
and they weren't going to a Mets game. Rather, these dressed-down,
cheerful fans were heading to the Billie Jean King National Tennis
Center for the first day of play in the 2013 US Open Tennis
Championships, the most attended annual sporting event in the
That's right: Over 700,000 people will migrate from across the
city, the country, and the world to watch America's only Grand Slam
tennis championship over the course of the next two weeks. Only
events like the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, which occur every
four years, garner larger crowds.
This year's US Open is expected to bring in over $720 million in
economic activity to New York City, which the US Tennis Association
has said is due largely to tennis fans from around the world coming
to New York to see not just world class sport, but also the sights
and sounds of the city. The event is particularly beneficial to
Queens, where hotels, restaurants, bars, and all kinds of
attractions and accommodations see business thrive with the influx
of international tennis fans.
By comparison, the Super Bowl, that American holy grail of sports
advertising and consumption, generally generates $430 million for
its host city. Of course, New York is sitting pretty, as Super Bowl
XLVIII will be played on February 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium, the
New Jersey home of both the New York Giants and the New York Jets
(it is the only NFL stadium to host two teams).
Murray and Nadal at the 2011 Japan Open in Tokyo. Murray won.
The economic pull of the US Open obviously makes sponsorship
desirable as well: New York-based companies
Time Warner Cable
), as well as
(OTCMKTS:HINKY), Emirates, and Mercedes-Benz, are among the many
The US Open players will also see a lot economic activity this
year; the total winnings for the tournament have been increased to
$34.3 million, from $24.1 million last year. The men's and women's
singles champions will each take home $2.6 million in prize money,
while the runner-ups will take home a more-than-solid $1.3 million.
For qualifying and playing in the first round of the singles draw,
the reward is $32,000.
The defending champion this year is Andy Murray, the Scotsman who
is fresh off of winning Wimbledon in July, making him the first
British man to win the tournament since Fred Perry in 1936.
Murray has a lot of momentum, but so does the No. 1 ranked Serbian
player Novak Djokovic, whom Murray beat in the Wimbledon final.
Murray is ranked No. 3, behind No. 1 Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael
Nadal, who dominated the French Open this year for his eighth win
of that title. Nadal fell in the first round of Wimbledon this
year, but still, he is in top form; he has won 53 professional
matches this year, and he has lost only three. Even more amazing is
the fact that Nadal has a winning record against every player in
the top 30.
Other contenders include No. 4 David Ferrer, the 31-year-old
Spaniard who is reaching his prime late in his career; No. 5 Tomas
Berdych; No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro; and No. 7 Roger Federer, who
has won the US Open five times.
It has been a wonderfully unpredictable year for tennis, and this
year's US Open appears to be no exception. What is predicted,
though, is that the US Open is and will continue to be a strong
financial asset for New York City.
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