AmEx, USTA Rev Up U.S. Open Plan

NEW YORK American Express has ramped up its joint online coverage of the 2008 U.S. Open tennis championships with the United States Tennis Association.

This is the second year the two organizations have combined to co-produce a highlights program throughout the two-week run of the grand slam tournament.

The coverage this year consists of hourly online highlights for tennis fans. Last year, the program consisted of a half-hour daily update. The programming move is a direct result of what AmEx has seen in sports coverage of viewers migrating more to the Web, said Jessica Igoe, director of global sponsorship at AmEx.

The program appears on the U.S. Open Web site as well as the entertainment channel on the AmEx Web venue, said Igoe. She also noted that mobile is a platform that was considered but not employed this year, though it’s on the advertiser’s radar screen for the future.

On its site, AmEx is will stream live matches from each court. Additional coverage includes footage of “favorite Open moments,” as told by former and current players including Billie Jean King, James Blake and Venus Williams. “It’s really a way to celebrate the Open. Everyone has their Open moment when they became a fan of the sport,” said Igoe.

She also emphasized how these efforts tie into the “Are you a cardmember?” campaign that launched last week. The effort, featuring Williams and Blake, consists of print, online and out-of-home displays in New York City.

“We want to provide consistent access and encourage memorable experiences at the most prominent events in entertainment and sports, and the U.S. Open is another great way for us to do so,” Igoe said.