2019 US OPEN OFFERS EXTENSIVE AND DIVERSE ARRAY OF SPECIAL EVENTS
For the First Time, US Open Fan Week Brings Week-Long Schedule of Free Tennis and Musical Activities to the Grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Althea Gibson to be Honored with Powerful New Sculpture
US Open Now, New Digital Lifestyle Show, Leads Slate of Digital Offerings and Enhancements
FLUSHING, N.Y., August 15, 2019 – The USTA today announced that the 2019 US Open will include a number of new special events and activities over the course of its three weeks, beginning with the start of US Open Fan Week on August 19 and continuing through the main draw, which begins on August 26 and ends September 8.
US Open Fan Week
This year, all US Open Fan Week activities will be held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open. Again this year, the full slate of tennis and entertainment activities taking place during Fan Week is free and open to the public. Anchored by the US Open Qualifying Tournament that will start on a Monday for the first time, US Open Fan Week also will include access to top player practices in Grandstand, access to Arthur Ashe Stadium prior to the main draw for the first time, a three-day lineup of Legends matches featuring John McEnroe taking on Jim Courier, a special appearance by Kim Clijsters, Andy Roddick vs. James Blake and an all Hall-of-Fame women’s doubles match featuring Martina Navratilova, Lindsay Davenport, Tracy Austin and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. Fan Week also will feature a host of musical entertainment and other interactive activities for tennis fans of all ages.
From Broadway stars to indie rockers, and from R&B to notable DJs, the US Open will feature musical entertainment on a near-nightly basis. During Fan Week, the Heineken Happy Hour will be held Tuesday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Each night, the Happy Hour will feature top DJs, including DJ Niks, DJs Coco & Breezy, and DJ MAAD. For three evenings, from Wednesday, August 21, through Friday, August 23, US Open sponsor Chase will bring an exciting line-up of free, live music to the Fan Week Center Stage through the Chase Sound Check platform. Concerts will feature indie-rockers LANY, country musician Brett Eldredge and singer, songwriter Leon Bridges. Concerts will begin at 8:00 p.m. Check usopen.org/fanweek for the full schedule.
During the Main Draw of the tournament, Heineken will continue the nightly Happy Hours, with DJs and other activities in the plaza between Arthur Ashe Stadium and Louis Armstrong Stadium. Other musical entertainment during the main draw will include the tournament’s annual Opening Night Ceremony, this year featuring performances by Broadway stand-outs Ben Platt and Ali Stroker. Stroker, who won a Tony Award this year for her performance in “Oklahoma,” will perform the National Anthem.
US Open Special Events
Althea Gibson Sculpture Garden
A sculpture of Althea Gibson, who in 1957 became the first African-American to the win the U.S. Nationals, the precursor to the US Open, and captured a combined 11 Grand Slam tournament titles, is being unveiled at this year’s tournament. Created by sculptor Eric Goulder, this tribute to the pioneering American tennis legend is located in front of Arthur Ashe Stadium. The sculpture will include a unique AR component that brings her history to life via the US Open mobile app.
Billie Jean King Photo Exhibit
Sports icon and lifelong advocate for equality and social justice, Billie Jean King is an inspiration both on and off the tennis court. Fans can marvel at her achievements and activism in the New York Historical Society’s traveling exhibition showcasing more than 75 photographs from her life and career, on view at the Chase Center near the East Gate.
Rod Laver Photo Exhibit
Six free-standing Vibrachrome panels display a series of photographs documenting Rod Laver’s second ‘Grand Slam,’ which he completed at the 1969 US Open. Curated by the International Tennis Hall of Fame in partnership with Rolex, the photo exhibit is located along the 500-foot alleé that connects the Grandstand with Court 17.
US Open Pride Event
With the USTA’s longtime commitment to diversity and inclusion, the USTA is hosting an event specifically designed to welcome the LGBTQ+ community to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Held on Thursday, August 22 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., “Open Pride” invites members of the LGBTQ+ community to experience all that the US Open has to offer. The day will include appearances by a variety of LGBT and non-LGBT athletes and celebrities and a panel discussion focusing on being out in tennis and other pro sports. “Love All—An Open Conversation” is being presented in association with the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and features former NBAer Jason Collins, former MLBer Billy Bean, former tennis player Brian Vahaly, Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon and tennis legend Billie Jean King. The event is hosted by sports commentator and journalist Nick McCarvel. Fans wanting to attend will need to register for the event at usopen.org/fanweek under August 22 events.
Kim Clijsters Court of Champions Induction
The US Open Court of Champions, located between Courts 10 and 13, commemorates the tournament’s greatest champions with individual monuments. Kim Clijsters, who won the US Open women’s singles title in 2005, retired in 2007 to start a family, then returned to capture crowns in 2009 and 2010, is being inducted into the Court of Champions on Wednesday, August 28.
Lt. Joe Hunt Military Appreciation Day
The US Open’s annual Military Appreciation Day, taking place on Monday, September 2, honors Lt. Joe Hunt, the only player in history to win the U.S. national boys’, junior, collegiate and men’s singles titles. Lt. Hunt, who won the U.S. Nationals in 1943 while on leave from the Navy, was killed when his fighter plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 1945. Military families and wounded warriors from around the country also will be recognized on court on September 2, and will participate in the coin toss prior to all matches.
Net Generation Kids’ Zone presented by Emirates
At the Net Generation Kids’ Zone presented by Emirates, located at Backyard Court 17, fans of all ages can play a range of fun sports activities, including tennis target practice, soccer dribbling, a basketball shootout, golf putting challenge, an agility course and a hockey skills area. The Kids’ Zone introduces fans to the USTA’s American Development Model: a multi-sport approach to building tomorrow’s future athletes and tennis greats. The Kids’ Zone will be open beginning with Fan Week and run through Labor Day, September 2.
Additionally, Net Generation demonstrations, which take place prior to the day’s first match and are conducted by young tennis players from NJTL chapters and other organizations from across the country, will be expanded to seven courts this year. The US Open expects more than 1,300 young players, with a special emphasis on children participating in adaptive tennis programs, to take part in this initiative over the course of the main draw.
US Open American Express Fan Experience
The one-of-a-kind US Open American Express Fan Experience will return to the US Open, immersing fans in a world where New York City meets tennis. Guests who visit the space can participate in a variety of interactive experiences that mirror the famous sights and sounds of the US Open’s home – New York City.
Mercedes-Benz Augmented Reality Experience
Mercedes-Benz will feature an augmented reality experience featuring 2017 US Open women’s singles champion Sloane Stephens at its on-site showroom.
New US Open Sponsors
The USTA welcomes three new partners to the US Open, each adding to the fan experience over the course of the tournament.
- Bermuda, the Official Tourism sponsor, will engage fans with photo ops, giveaways and a chance to win a trip for two to Bermuda, the island from which the sport of tennis was introduced to the United States in 1874.
- IHG Hotels & Resorts, the Official Hotel and Hotel Loyalty Program, will offer its Holiday Inn “Kids Eat Free” promotion throughout Fan Week and Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. On-site, IHG will bring fans a complimentary wellness and spa-inspired experience offering refuge from hot temperatures, temple massages, a selection of infused waters to sample and more. The “digital daydream” experience provides a sensory encounter with some of IHG’s finest properties around the world. Visitors select their desired destination, while a massage therapist provides a cooling towel infused with property-inspired scents.
- Kim Crawford Wines will have a destination in the Food Village that will feature its portfolio of wines and a special frosé for US Open fans.
US Open Now
In 2019, US Open Now will debut as the live companion channel to the core US Open broadcasts as a digital-first lifestyle show that aims to attract a more youthful, casual audience to the US Open. It will showcase the entire fan experience on the grounds, the off-the-court and behind-the-scenes stories and interviews, and will also introduce new original content franchises. US Open Now will be streamed live for free on USOpen.org and the US Open App, as well as available on ESPN3 and various broadcast partner platforms around the world, throughout the tournament. Fans will be able to access the first hour of US Open Now programming via the US Open official handle (@USOpen) on Twitter each day.
Courtside LED Signage in Arthur Ashe Stadium
For the first time, LED signage, ROE MC3 LED 3.75mm screen modules, will surround the court of Arthur Ashe Stadium. The new signage will allow the US Open to engage in-stadium fans prior to matches and during change-overs and set breaks. The boards will be used to promote USTA initiatives and sponsor messaging, as well as to enhance all on-court ceremonies and player walk-ons.
US Open Discover
New for 2019, US Open Discover will enable fans to get up close and personal with legendary players through Augmented Reality. With the US Open App, fans can unlock hidden content throughout the grounds and view immersive AR experiences, including the brand new Althea Gibson Sculpture Garden and the US Open Court of Champions.
The USTA and IBM will again leverage a suite of AI-powered solutions including Watson on the IBM Cloud to analyze matches and create rapid highlights across USOpen.org digital properties. IBM Watson analyzes the video for the sound of the crowd, player gestures and facial emotion, and key moments like break points or match points, to determine the highlight-worthy moments in the match.
New for 2019, AI Highlights has been enhanced with Acoustic Insights to improve sound analysis and has now been taught to recognize when the ball has been struck, allowing a tighter cropping of highlight clips. Additionally, using IBM Watson Open Scale, Watson can now recognize levels of noise and excitement levels of players, allowing it to remove bias when searching for highlights from players with a particularly popular following or those who are particularly animated on court.
New this year, ESPNEWS and ESPN+ will combine to deliver exclusive coverage of the Qualifying Tournament, as well as US Open Fan Week activities taking place around the grounds. ESPN+ will offer daily coverage of five courts beginning on Monday, August 19, through Friday, August 23, and ESPNEWS will showcase six hours of live match coverage each day beginning Tuesday, August 20, through Friday, August 23. The 2019 US Open Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles Draw Ceremony on Thursday, August 22, will also be covered during the telecast on ESPNEWS.
US Open Green and Sustainability Programs
A new US Open Sustainability Booth will showcase the tournament’s decade-plus commitment to reducing the environmental impact of the event through the US Open Green Initiative. The 12th year of the program, which was championed by Billie Jean King, features increased participation by US Open sponsors. evian’s “Flip it For Good” campaign brings a fun twist to encourage fans to recycle their water bottles. The US Open recycles nearly seven tons of plastic during the event and divert 97 percent of waste from landfill. The 2019 US Open ballperson polos, shorts and skorts provided by Polo Ralph Lauren are made from recycled materials, as each uniform is made from approximately 10 recycled plastic bottles. In addition, Wilson racquet stringers at the US Open will no longer be using plastic bags to wrap the 5,300-plus racquets strung during the three weeks of the event and all of the used racquet strings from the event, more than 35 miles worth, will be recycled.