US Open prepares to welcome fans back to Grand Slam expecting to bring an economic boost to NYC

Game, set, match. 

The U.S. Open will be held in New York City with 100% spectator capacity marking the first return to a normal tournament for the global tennis community. 

Last year, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) still held a "fan-less" grand slam after receiving permission from government state officials. 

USTA Chief Revenue Officer Lewis Sherr, told FOX Business that last year’s U.S. Open didn’t have the same feeling as in other years. 

US OPEN TENNIS TOURNAMENT TO ALLOW 100% FAN CAPACITY IN 2021

"We take our energy from New York and the ability to imbue the event once again with the…energy of New York and our fans is huge and exciting for all of us," Sherr said. 

In 2019, the tournament hosted more than 700,000 attendees. Tickets for this year’s event went on sale to the general public last week, beginning on July 15. 

The 2019 U.S. Open hosted more than 700,000 fans. This year, the event will once again have full spectator capacity. (Allison Joseph/USTA)

Spanish professional tennis player Pablo Andújar told FOX Business that "last year's U.S. Open was pretty cold."

"You need energy coming from the fans in a grand slam and you can feel that even more because there is a lot of people in the U.S. Open," he added. 

Andújar, the winner of four ATP Tour singles titles, reached the last round at the 2019 U.S. Open, which was his best result to date in a grand slam.

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Pablo Andujar of Spain returns the ball in his First Round match against Dominic Thiem of Austria during Day One of the 2021 French Open on May 30, 2021 in Paris, France.  (Tnani Badreddine/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

In a city still recovering from the harsh economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Open brings a new hope to revive commerce in the city. A study conducted by USTA predicts the grand slam will generate more than $1 billion in economic impact for New York City. The USTA hires over 7,000 workers to support the event, according to Sherr. That's in addition to economic activity such as sponsorships, advertisement spending and hotel bookings all associated with the event. 

"We think in many ways we’re helping…kick off the return to normalcy or certainly the return to much more optimistic times in New York," Sherr said. 

The sport has grown tremendously. The USTA had more than 4 million new players start participating in tennis or return to the game, marking over a 20% increase in participation since the start of the pandemic. The association attributed the increase to tennis being an outdoor sport meeting social distance activity requirements.

As New York begins to ease COVID restrictions, the tournament will not require social distancing or proof of vaccination. The USTA is working closely with state and city authorities, along with its own medical advisory panel, to determine COVID protocols.

"Everything is fluid, and we are staying nimble to be able to react to challenges that may present themselves right up until and through the conclusion of the tournament," Sherr said.  

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With the world beginning to emerge from coronavirus restrictions, Andújar said that he is excited to see how the United States will manage the tournament.

"In Europe, we are starting with small percentages of people….and [don’t] allow whole stadiums to be full," he said. 

The pro international player expressed his excitement for the upcoming tournament, saying he is "really happy [the U.S. Open] is happening because…tennis, without fans, is not tennis."

The U.S. Open will take place at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center beginning Monday, Aug. 30 and running through Sunday, Sept. 12. 

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