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US Open: The Nation's Biggest Tennis Tournament by the Numbers

10 Aug, 2016

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

The battle for medals has just settled in Rio, but stateside, at least one segment of the sports market is bracing for big-name tennis in the Big Apple as the US Open comes to Flushing, New York. The August 29-September 11 juggernaut of racquet sports brings in tourism, media coverage and more… and it brings big numbers in a number of categories. Our friends at WalletHub supplied us with these numbers:

713.642: People who came through the gate as spectators in 2014.

40 Percent: Average spectators from outside the New York area.

$750 Million: Estimated economic impact on the NYC area. (Seriously, $750 million in one city. Let that sink in for a second.)

7,000: Seasonal jobs created by the tournament.

$550 Million: Estimated cost of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center’s renovation (which began in 2013 and will conclude in 2018.) More on this in a minute.

$42.3 Million: The total purse in 2015.

423: The multiplier increase in the total purse since the first Open era tournament in 1968.

70,000: The number of tennis balls used during the tournament. (A fragrance company was threatening to develop a novelty “new tennis balls” perfume” to be sold around the time of the US Open… no word on whether the likes of Serena or anyone else would be spraying it on prior to matches.)

129 mph: The speed at which Venus Williams hit a serve at the 2007 US Open, making her the all-time fastest-serving woman at that tournament; Serena, by contrast, hit a 128.6-mph serve at the 2013 Australian Open. (This information courtesy of the WTA.)

Two: Big chances, namely wild card entries to the US Open. USTA Player Development awards a US Open main draw wild card to one American man and one American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points in a series of USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events over the summer.

Three: Rainy days projected during the course of the tournament. Those are always going to be in the forecast, but this year, they won’t affect matches held at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the new retractable roof was officially demonstrated on August 2. Want some roof trivia? Here are some figures courtesy of the USTA.

1 Million: Weight in pounds of each retractable panel, including components such as the mechanization system and the fabric.

360: LED lights used to illuminate the roof.

205: Height in feet from the top of the room when it is closed, actually making it 55 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.

2.6 Billion: Number of tennis balls that can bit within the bowl of the stadium with the roof closed. This is nine times more than can fit in the center court at Wimbledon. (Who calculates this, and why?)

While there is no word on the number of T-shirts, keychains and other souvenir items sold during the US Open, the USTA is hoping they will be purchased through official outlets. If they’re not, though, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is ready to pounce, and they’re encouraging visitors to report any unlicensed merchandise at this link.

While the tournament promises plenty of stars, shocks, upsets and generalized craziness, there’s one thing that can be depended upon: tight security. After last year’s crash-landing of a drone in the stands of Arthur Ashe stadium, count on more safeguards than ever.

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