Tennis Panorama News will be covering all of the US Open Series tournaments this summer. The third entry in our series of short Q & Aâ€™s with the Tournament Directors of some of the US Open Series tournaments is withÂ Vince Cicero, the Tournament Director ofÂ the Western & Southern Open which for the first time is a combined event. Cicero worked for 13 years with Cincinnati Bengals football franchise and was the Director of Corporate Sales and Marketing. Before that he worked with the Detroit Pistons and Â Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA.
Tennis Panorama News: Coming from an NFL and NBA background and taking over a combined Masters level tennis tournament must provide some very unique challenges? What are similarities and differences working in these very different sports? Have you been involved in tennis before this?
Vince Cicero: I hope my background in both the NFL and NBA will be helpful in my role with the Western & Southern Open, as all involve top-level sporting events where you have elite athletic competition and a wide range of constituents, including fans, sponsors, broadcasters and the competitors themselves.Â All involve producing an event and delivering entertainment value.Â Tennis is certainly a more international sport in scope and our event in Cincinnati is truly one of the elite events globally given the players that participate the telecasts that reach over 160Â countries.Â There will certainly be a difference moving from a â€˜teamâ€™ sport that involves a â€˜winâ€™ or a â€˜lossâ€™ each event day to an â€˜individualâ€™ sport that involves a champion each year.Â This will be my first professional involvement in tennis, though including my role at Palace Sports & Entertainment, I have now worked with properties in football (NFL), basketball (NBA, WNBA, Collegiate), hockey, indoor soccer and music (Arena, Amphitheaters).Â Â Itâ€™s a tremendous opportunity here and Iâ€™m proud to be a part of it.
TPN: This is the first year that the tournament will be a combined event with new facilities. Â What will fans who attended last year’s event find new this year?
VC: This year fans will see all of the worldâ€™s top players, in one week of competition. Weâ€™ve added 6 new courts, including a new court 3 that seats 4,000. Fans only need reserved seats for Center Court. With a combined event, fans will have access to the top players, on multiple courts, in an intimate setting, each day. In addition, new restrooms have been added to the site and fans will enter the grounds through a new grand entry plaza and ticket office.
TPN: How much community support has there been for the tournament this year?
VC: Our tournament would not be possible without support from not only the local, but the entire tennis community. We typically employ about 1400 volunteers to make this event happen. Our volunteers come back to us year after year. They come from as far as Arizona, Florida and even overseas. Others have been involved with the tournament for decades. In return for this enduring support, we provide volunteers with a world class event and excellent benefits. We are so appreciative of all they do for us.
TPN: What would you tell fans if asked about what makes this tournament so special?
VC: There are so many things that make our tournament one of the most elite in the world. The Western & Southern Open is one of the playersâ€™ favorite stops on the tour. It is an excellent lead into the US Open, taking place in the same climate and time zone, and only a week prior to the event.Â For fans, this is one of only five combined events in the world at this level. Our facilities certainly validate the stature of this tournament. There are so many things that make our tournament one of the most elite in the world. We are the only facility in the country besides the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center that has 4 permanent stadiums and are considered to be one of the most fan friendly events.Â The Lindner Family Tennis Center is easily navigated with easy access to parking.
For more information on the Western & Southern Open: www.cincytennis.com
Tennis Panorama News will be onsite covering the Western & Southern from August 14 â€“ 21. Follow our updates on the website and on our twitter account @GVTennisNews.