The 11th season of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, the five-week North American summer tennis season that links eight ATP World Tour and WTA summer hard court tournaments to the US Open, launches with the men’s BB&T Atlanta Open. Since its inception in 2004, the Emirates Airline US Open Series has increased television viewership and event attendance, while generating new corporate partnerships for the sport.
More than 200 hours of live tennis action will be televised during the five weeks of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, with ESPN remaining the lead telecaster, along with Tennis Channel and CBS Sports. This year, 29 of 34 tournament dates will feature broadcast coverage, including a record 25 consecutive days on television. The Series premiered on television on Thursday, July 24, from the BB&T Atlanta Open, with six hours on Tennis Channel. Television coverage on ESPN2 begins with four hours on Friday, July 25. Both ESPN2 and Tennis Channel will air live coverage of the tournament’s semifinals on Saturday, with ESPN2 airing the final live on Sunday, July 27 at 4:00 ET.
The game’s top players and future stars will compete during the Emirates Airline US Open Series and US Open for more than $55 million in prize money. Through the Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge, the USTA will offer up to an additional $2.6 million in bonus prize money at the US Open to the top three men’s and top three women’s singles finishers in the Emirates Airline US Open Series. The bonus challenge has resulted in some of the largest paychecks in tennis history, including a record payout of $3.6 million last year to both Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams for winning the US Open and Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s and women’s titles. This year, the Series champions will compete for the chance to win a $4 million record paycheck at the US Open -- $3 million for winning the US Open plus an additional $1 million bonus for also capturing the Emirates Airline US Open Series title.
The Emirates Airline US Open Series season will be supported again by the “Follow the Story” national marketing campaign, the EmiratesUSOpenSeries.com website and sponsor activation on both the national and local levels. This is the third year Emirates Airline is serving as the title sponsor of the Series, as well as the official airline of the US Open. The Emirates Airline US Open Series is also supported by American Express, Chase, Citizen Watch Company and Esurance.
“With events that continue to find new ways to engage fans with unique on-site experiences, and with an expanding television schedule that makes it possible to watch the Emirates Airline US Open Series practically every day, this summer is shaping up to be one of the best for tennis fans,” said J. Wayne Richmond, General Manager of the Emirates Airline US Open Series.
Emirates Returns program: Emirates, the world’s fastest growing airline, has partnered with USTA Foundation, the national charitable foundation of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), to bring the fun and fitness of tennis to children across North America as part of “Emirates Returns.” The program, a grassroots charitable initiative connected to the Emirates Airline US Open Series, provides underserved youth in the various Series markets access to the sport of tennis as well as opens up educational opportunities in their local market.
A key component of the initiative is charitable donations, which includes cash, new tennis equipment and facility improvements. The total value of the donation across all eight Series tournaments and the US Open is $150,000. From that figure, Emirates will make a total cash contribution of $60,000 to USTA Foundation which will then be distributed to the designated local youth tennis organizations in the form of grants to fund tennis and education programming.
Military Outreach: The USTA supports programs that use tennis to help reconnect service members with their families and communities. The following Emirates Airline US Open Series events will be will be holding military appreciation events to honor service members, veterans and their families: BB&T Atlanta Open, Citi Open, Western & Southern Open, Winston-Salem Open and the Connecticut Open.
Tennis Play Days: Many of this year’s Emirates Airline US Open Series events also will host Tennis Play Days, which allow kids to experience competition in a fun, low-pressure setting. Emphasis is placed on participation and effort, not wins and losses. Play Days allow kids to play quick matches with players of similar age and skill so they can transition to team tennis and tournaments. Tennis Play Days are geared towards getting more kids to participate in tennis by using modified equipment and courts tailored to a child’s size and ability. By utilizing shorter and lighter racquets, slower-bouncing balls, smaller courts and simplified scoring, children learn to play more quickly and easily while having more fun in the process. In 2013, more than 5,000 Play Days and Play Events were held throughout the country. To find a local Tennis Play Day, visit YouthTennis.com.
Television Coverage: Throughout the summer, the Emirates Airline US Open Series will feature more than 80 hours of live coverage on ESPN2 and WatchESPN, 135 hours of Series programming on Tennis Channel and the Winston-Salem Open final on CBS Sports. The Emirates Airline US Open Series, combined with the US Open, will deliver more than 425 hours of live coverage to tennis fans during the summer tennis “Open Season.”
The impressive roster of television talent covering the 2014 Emirates Airline US Open Series season includes: ESPN – Darren Cahill, Cliff Drysdale, Chris Evert, Mary Joe Fernandez, Chris Fowler, Brad Gilbert, Sam Gore, Patrick McEnroe, Pam Shriver and Rennae Stubbs; Tennis Channel – Paul Annacone, Lindsay Davenport, Ian Eagle, Justin Gimelstob, Brett Haber, Mark Knowles, Ted Robinson, Leif Shiras, Rennae Stubbs and Brian Webber; and CBS Sports – Bill Macatee and Mary Carillo.
Electronic line calling technology will continue to be branded “Chase Review” and players will once again have three challenges per set plus one additional during tiebreakers.
Emirates Airline US Open Series Radio powered by RadioTennis.com is scheduled to provide live-audio play-by-play via the Internet from select tournaments again this season.
About the Emirates Airline US Open Series: Now in its 11th season, the Emirates Airline US Open Series continues to serve as a true regular season of hard court tennis, linking eight summer tournaments to the US Open. Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams won the 2013 US Open and Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s and women’s titles, each earning a record tennis paycheck of $3.6 million. Roger Federer (2007) and Kim Clijsters (2005) also accomplished the feat of winning the Emirates Airline US Open Series and US Open singles title within the same year.