WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 20, 2009 – The USTA announced today the launch of the sixth season of the Olympus US Open Series, the six-week North American summer tennis season that links 10 ATP World Tour and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour summer tournaments to the US Open. Since its inception in 2004, the six-week Olympus US Open Series has doubled television viewership and increased event attendance, while generating new corporate partnerships for the sport. The full summer schedule is attached.
Throughout the summer, the Series will feature more than 200 national television hours on ESPN2, CBS and Tennis Channel, highlighted by back-to-back men’s and women’s finals on Sundays on ESPN2 and select finals on CBS. The Olympus US Open Series premieres Friday, July 24, with two hours on Tennis Channel, followed by four hours on ESPN2. An additional seven hours of coverage on both networks will follow over the weekend, with the finals airing live on Sunday on ESPN2 beginning at 3 p.m. ET.
More than 200 of the game’s top players will compete during the Series for over $30 million in prize money. Additionally, through the Olympus US Open Series Bonus Challenge, players will be competing for more than $2.6 million in potential bonus prize money. Bonus prize money is awarded to the top three men and top three women in the Series based on their performance at the US Open.
Olympus, the Series’ inaugural sponsor, is continuing its partnership with the USTA as the title sponsor of the Series. The Olympus US Open Series season will be supported by a multi-million dollar national marketing campaign, a redesigned OlympusUSOpenSeries.com website, and increased sponsor activation on both the national and local level.
“I’m looking forward to my return to tournament tennis on the Olympus US Open Series this summer,” said Kim Clijsters, who is playing Olympus US Open Series events in Cincinnati and Toronto after leaving the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour to give birth to her first child in February last year. “I’ve played some of my best tennis during the Series and think it is a great lead-up to the US Open for players and for fans.” In 2005, Clijsters earned the biggest paycheck in the history of women’s tennis — $2.2 million — by winning the Olympus US Open Series and US Open.
“I am very excited about coming back to competition and the Olympus US Open Series is the best place to do so. Those events coming up are important in the tennis calendar and also a perfect way to gain the right pace and rhythm for the last Grand Slam of the year, the US Open,” said Rafael Nadal, who had his career best showing at the US Open last year after winning the Olympus US Open Series. “On a personal level, I know it will be tough since I have been away from competition for some time now. In any case I am confident and will give it my all out there.”
”I think creating the Olympus US Open Series was great as it puts the summer tennis season under one roof and makes it cohesive,” said Andy Roddick, who won back-to-back Olympus US Open Series titles in 2005 and 2006. “I’ve done well at a lot of the tournaments, and have a history with these lead-up events. It is one of the parts of the year that I look forward to most.”
“We created the Olympus US Open Series with the goal of elevating the sport of tennis in North America,” said Jim Curley, Chief Professional Tournaments Officer, USTA. “By working closely and collaboratively with both tours, our television partners and sponsors, and the tournaments and players, we have created a true showcase for tennis that is having great results across the board.”
National Television Broadcasts
More than 200 hours of tennis action will be televised during the six weeks of the Olympus US Open Series, with ESPN2 remaining the lead broadcaster, and additional national coverage on CBS and Tennis Channel. The Olympus US Open Series, with the US Open, provides tennis with more live national television coverage during its eight weeks than any other summer sport over the same time period. Series broadcasts have reached an average of 41 million viewers annually over the first five years, more than doubling viewership numbers of these events prior to the launch of the Series in 2004.
Instant replays and official reviews on television broadcasts will continue to be branded the “Chase Review,” and as in 2008, players will have three challenges per set plus one additional during a tiebreaker.
National Marketing Campaign
This year for the first time, the Olympus US Open Series and the US Open are being marketed under the same campaign, entitled, “It Must Be Love.” This year’s multi-million dollar marketing and advertising campaign features some of the games biggest stars and is a multimedia effort that includes national television, radio, print, digital media and customized local executions in Olympus US Open Series markets. More than a dozen top players, including Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic, Roger Federer, Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, James Blake, and Jelena Jankovic, were filmed for the campaign.
In all, 13 30-second TV ads will comprise the television campaign, which will air nationally in and outside of tennis programming on CBS, ESPN2, NBC, ABC, and Tennis Channel. Print executions will appear throughout the summer in USA Today, The New York Times and other top metropolitan markets and an accompanying radio campaign — which includes over 40,000 spots — will air in markets around the country to drive television tune-in.