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Eric Feigenbaum

A Service Ace at Center Court

The U.S. Open Tennis Tournament features a full roster of shopping opportunities

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Every year, thousands of people from all over the world descend on Flushing Meadows, N.Y., to attend the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billy Jean King National Tennis Center. A spectacular venue, the tennis center features one of the world’s largest public tennis facilities, with 22 courts on 46.5 acres, including its main feature, Arthur Ashe Stadium. As an added attraction, this year’s Open celebrated a significant milestone: the 50th anniversary of equal pay for women tennis players. Michelle Obama was a surprise guest speaker on opening night, giving a heartfelt address to commemorate the importance of the moment. Seventy-three thousand people were in attendance.

The end-of-summer event showcases the world’s top tennis stars competing for the last of the four Grand Slam tournaments after the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the French Open. It also features world-class tennis retail, from Polo Ralph Lauren, Wilson, Fila, Tennis Point, U.S. Open Essentials and the U.S. Open Collection. After crowds of tennis lovers made their way through the main entry gate, they were drawn to the many retail outlets along the walkway leading to the various stadiums and courts.

A Service Ace at Center Court

 

The excitement level was at a fever pitch as fans wanted to take in the entire experience, from the retail outlets to the many food and drink options and, of course, the world-class tennis. Merchandise flew out of shops and kiosks faster than a service ace from any of the star players, while the lines to enter some shops were longer than a five-set match in the quarter finals.

Retail opportunities abound well beyond the main street, the regional mall, and the well-traveled iconic retail corridors worldwide. Experiential retail is a natural at sporting events, music venues and other cultural hubs. Engulfed in the spirit of the event, U.S. Open attendees were eager to partake in the festivities by taking home any souvenir or memento.

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A Service Ace at Center Court

 

Of equal importance to enthusiastic fans, or should I say, “party goers,” was to partake in the event’s signature drink, the ever-popular Honey Deuce cocktail. A delightful mix of Grey Goose vodka, lemonade and raspberry liqueur, the spirited drink is embellished with three honeydew melon scoops suggestive of tennis balls. First offered as the official cocktail of the tournament in 2007, over 1,000,000 Honey Deuces have been sold to date. The drink sells for an intoxicating $22 in a souvenir glass at Grey Goose Bars throughout the grounds.

The quality of play at the U.S. Open is unmatched. Players and spectators alike are drawn to the event because of the venue, the level of competition and the excitement of the Big Apple. The level of consumer desire, aspiration and loyalty is also unmatched. From T-shirts and towels to tennis shoes to rackets and hats, shopping is a vital part of the excitement at this world-renowned sporting event.

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