Marketers Net Gains From U.S. Open

Good news for Lexus, IBM, Chase, Olympus, American Express and other marketing partners of the just concluded U.S. Tennis Open: The U.S. Tennis Assn. said the 2008 event “was the biggest and most successful in its 40-year history as revenue, attendance, Web site traffic and concession sales hit all-time highs.”

The success of the event also paid dividends for marketers that had deals with individual players, including men’s champion Roger Federer (Nike, Gillette) and women’s champ Serena Williams (Nike, HP, Wilson).

According to the USTA, overall attendance topped the record 721,000 fans from 2007 (final figures had yet to be tallied); total visits to USOpen.org, the official Web site of the U.S. Open, topped 39 million for the first time, an increase of 33% vs. last year; and the women’s final rating on CBS (in which Serena Williams defeated Jelena Jankovic) was up 57% vs. last year, and was the highest since 2002.

The USTA correctly predicted the U.S. Open would get a substantial bump in interest from the 2008 Summer Olympics as well as an anticipated finals match between Federer and gold medal winner and No. 1 ranked player Rafael Nadal. Nadal was eliminated in the semifinals by Andy Murray.

“This year’s record-setting U.S. Open was the ultimate convergence of sports, celebrity, business and entertainment,” Arlen Kantarian, CEO Pro Tennis at the USTA, said in a statement. “We are extremely appreciative of our fans coming out in record numbers, particularly in the midst of a challenging economy.”