USTA Selects Arnold McGrath

Arnold McGrath in New York has won creative duties for the United States Tennis Association following a review, the client confirmed last week.

The shop bested Deutsch and Mad Dogs & Englishmen, both in New York, and North Castle Partners in Stamford, Conn., for the estimated $5 million account, according to sources. The USTA, owner and operator of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, put the account in review shortly after its three-year contract with Fallon in New York expired in December, the client said. Fallon did not defend. Media planning is handled in-house; media buying is done by Apel Inc.

Arnold’s first effort for the USTA will feature tennis stars such as Venus Williams and will promote attendance and viewership of this year’s U.S. Open, said Rob Moorman, evp, chief marketing officer at Arnold. The target for the tournament tends to be a 35-plus, affluent audience, he noted. TV, print, radio, outdoor and transit ads will start running in the New York tristate area this July.

“We want to make the U.S. Open cool and exciting and tough, while sustaining the prestige of the event,” said USTA director of marketing Michelle Difilippantonio, who joined the client last August from the former XFL. She said she was impressed with Arnold’s “strategic ability,” as well as its work for Volkswagen and Royal Caribbean.

Fallon’s TV spots for prior U.S. Opens featured footage from the events. This year’s tournament runs from Aug. 26 to Sept. 8.

The USTA spent about $4 million on measured media in 2001, according to CMR.