The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has announced plans for a rebuild and expansion of the current home of the US Open that will allow for the sale of an additional 100,000 tickets to the 13-day event.
According to SI.com the makeover of New York City’s US Open facilities will cost the USTA hundreds of millions of dollars. The plan includes upgrading of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center beginning in 2013. The 6,000-seat grandstand next to Louis Armstrong Stadium will be relocated and expanded to 8,000 seats. In addition, seven tournament courts will be moved to make more room for spectators, and Louis Armstrong Stadium will be rebuilt and expanded from 10,000 seats to 15,000.
USTA officials said it will take a year to get approval from New York City because the plan involves acquiring three-quarters of an acre of land that is owned by the city, according to SI.com.
The makeover will also include new practice courts with the addition of viewing areas for fans as well as expanded parking garages to accommodate the increased influx of attendees.
According to The New York Times, the USTA’s plan does not include putting a roof on the Arthur Ashe Stadium despite the reoccurring problem of rain delays which have caused the men’s final to be played on a Monday the past four years. Officials have said that the stadium was built on a swamp-like ash dump that cannot structurally support the weight of a roof.
Danny Zausner, managing director of the National Tennis Center, said “right now there’s not an economic case being made for building a roof.”
The renovations of the center will be done in phases. The final phase, the rebuilding of Armstrong Stadium, is scheduled to begin after the 2016 or 2017 tournament with the completion expected for the following year.
World Tennis reported that the US Open is New York City’s largest and most valued annual sporting event that generates $756 million in economic impact with attendance over 700,000. It also creates 6,000 seasonal jobs with most employees coming from New York City and Queens.
“The US Open turns the eyes of the world to Queens each summer,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) during a June 14 conference with the USTA, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and Queens officials to announce the strategic vision. “I’m pleased the USTA is making this investment, which will ensure the US Open remains a part of Queens for years to come. The US Open has a tremendous impact on our local economy and these investments will ensure that visitors and New Yorkers alike will continue to enjoy the facility, the great sport of tennis, and all that Queens has to offer.”
The 2012 US Open will take place August 27 through September 9. Ticket options include the full series subscription for $2,063 per person that will allow fans to see all 26 sessions. Ticket buyers can also purchase one of several mini plans like the value plan, holiday plan, champion plan, night plan, open premier plan, and premier week plan. Single day tickets are also available and range from $55-$520, according to Ticketmaster.com. Tickets for the weekends of September 1-2 and September 8-9 are already sold out.
“Ticket sales for the US Open were robust last year on secondary markets, and they should be similarly strong this year,” said Will Flaherty, director of communications for SeatGeek, in a recent email to TicketNews.
According to Flaherty, the average resale price for a ticket to any session of last year’s US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium was $221, with tickets to the Men’s Singles Final selling for as much as $460.
“I know that many have criticized the fact that the stadium-size US Open courts don’t feature retractable roofs (as do the Center Courts at Wimbledon and the Australian Open),” said Flaherty. “That said, the US Open is a fall institution in New York City and demand should always remain strong for those tickets — regardless of the year or current condition of facilities.”