2016-08-24 / Front Page

US Open Extravaganza

The USTA announced on August 18 a series of physical improvements, fan and player upgrades, and new sponsor activations which will be unveiled at the 2016 US Open. The main draw of the tournament begins on Monday, August 29, and concludes on Sunday, September 11. The US Open Qualifying Tournament, which is free and open to the public, began on Tuesday, August 23, and concludes on Friday, August 26.       

Strategic Transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
• Retractable Roof Operational over Arthur Ashe Stadium: More than 13 million pounds of steel now surround Arthur Ashe Stadium in a technological first – constructing a stand-alone support system for a retractable roof over an existing stadium. The two million-pound retractable panels with attached PTFE fabric membrane close in under seven minutes, and will allow scheduling consistency for fans, players and US Open television partners. The retractable roof is the largest of any tennis stadium in the world, with a 62,500 square foot opening that is larger than the area of a football field.        
• New Grandstand Stadium: After more than 18 months of construction, the new Grandstand Stadium will be debuted at the 2016 US Open. The sunken court, surrounded by 8,125 seats, retains the intimate viewing experience of the old Grandstand.
• New Boulevard Traversing the Southern Campus and Southern Field Courts.
Fan Enhancements at the 2016 US Open
• Community Day: Thursday, September 8. Following its debut at the 2015 US Open, the USTA is re-instituting complimentary grounds admission to all fans who come during the day of the tournament’s second Thursday, September 8 (from noon to 6 pm). The day’s action will be filled with doubles play, including the Men’s Doubles Semifinals and Women’s Doubles Semifinals, as well as semifinal action in the Champions Invitational, a showcase of former Grand Slam tournament champions and finalists. Also on the slate that day will be the third year of the American Collegiate Invitational, as well as the world’s top boys and girls competing in the US Open Junior Championships.    
• On Thursday, September 8, the USTA also will give a final salute to Louis Armstrong Stadium by allowing fans access to the Stadium for a final time for a pro exhibition and a trick shot competition. Fans also will be invited onto the court to play on Louis Armstrong before it is shuttered for the final time.
• CHASE Charge & Watch Program: Building on the success of the Chase sponsored US Open phone-charging program, this year fans can pick up a mobile charging device from the Chase booth located next to the Food Village to fully charge their smartphones and stay connected to the tournament. When connected to the US Open mobile app, the charging unit also will deliver live video to the fan’s phone.
• New Food Offerings: New dining locations include the Grandstand Food Village, Oyster Bar 7, Court 12 Concessions, and the expanded South Plaza area. New partners include Toro, BLT Prime at Champions, Fuku fried chicken, Angry Taco and BLT Fish Shack, Korilla BBQ, SoomSoom (falafel) and Neapolitan Express. Pat LaFrieda Meat Co. moves to the newly expanded South Plaza along with a redesigned Wine Bar Food. Additionally, Grey Goose will debut a new bar in the Grandstand Food Village. The main Food Village will feature a new Jacob’s Creek bar, The Moet & Chandon Terrace returns to the patio area near the US Open Club this year as well.
• For the 21st consecutive year, Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, presented by Hess, the world’s biggest tennis and entertainment celebration, kicks off the US Open on Saturday, August 27, airing for the first time on ABC Network on Sunday, August 28 from 2:00-3:00 pm ET. This year’s stars include multi-platinum hip-hop artist Flo Rida, international pop star Zara Larsson, award-winning Disney Channel actress Laura Marano, Entertainment Weekly’s “One To Watch” Jordan Fisher, breakout pop band Forever In Your Mind and Australian singer-songwriter Troye Sivan. The show will be hosted by Disney Channel’s Joey Bragg and will feature a number of top tennis stars including Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, and a special appearance by film actor and DJ, Ansel Elgort.
• Generational icon and cultural legend Phil Collins will perform during the Opening Night Ceremony on the evening of Monday, August 29, in Arthur Ashe Stadium.  Collins will be joined for a special duet by Leslie Odom, Jr., a Queens native, who recently won a Tony Award for his performance as Aaron Burr in the hit play, “Hamilton.” Odom also is slated to sing the National Anthem that evening.
• Debuting last year, the USTA added a nightly light show during the evening sessions of the tournament.         

US Open Technology
• Times Square Takeover: Fans in Times Square on August 25 will be invited by US Open brand ambassadors totake their selfies to the next level thanks to the US Open selfie takeover. Photos of US Open players, fans and signature elements of the experience will rotate on a series of billboards in the heart of Times Square on 42nd and Broadway. Fans will also be treated to a special Snapchat filter to highlight their participation. These filters will play on signature elements of the US Open experience (i.e. the blue courts, lobster roll, iconic trophies) to allow fans to show their enthusiasm for the US Open.
• US Open “Selfie” Fancam: For the first time, fans in Arthur Ashe stadium will be able to use their phones to remotely control cameras to zoom into their location, take and share the ultimate fanselfie on their social media accounts. Fans will go to usopenfancam.com, enter their seat location, and then will have control of one of eight cameras in-stadium.

US Open Television
• During the 2016 US Open, ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to air nearly 130 hours of live match play with a record 1,300 hours of first-to-last ball coverage, available on WatchESPN.
For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com, “like” the official Facebook page, facebook.com/usta, or follow @usta on Twitter.
For more on this story, visit www.qgazette.com.

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