Justine Henin and Roger Federer brought their best to the Open this year, and so did tennis manufacturers.
With tennis on an upswing — and with two weeks of beautiful weather — the vendors at the 2007 US Open had a field day. More than 715,000 fans poured onto the grounds at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and merchandise sales soared. Here’s what was hot at this year’s Open.
While Head’s revamped branding, featuring a bright orange logo, drew in crowds, it was the racquets — including the Microgel line which debuted in January and the Metallix line — that had customers reaching for their wallets. Also selling well were the performance-oriented women’s Airflow frames. Head said that many customers at the booth bought multiple frames. Accessories, such as ball clips, wristbands, headbands and replacement grips, flew off the shelves, as did caps and visors.
The Andy Roddick signature cap and black polo T-shirt were the hot sellers for Lacoste. Also popular were US Open-specific T-shirts in pink, white, aqua, gray and black with stenciled tennis racquets and alligator logo. Additionally, Lacoste featured its fall line of classic polos, sweaters, and hooded tops.
Nike came on strong with a full array of children’s, men’s and women’s wear, plus its extensive line of shoes. Anything with a Federer connection was selling, and the Air Vapor shoe was no exception. The Nadal yellow sleeveless “power tops” and crews were also popular choices, as was the women’s line of aqua-dominant skirts and tops and the flamingo “Flirt” group of clothes. Serena Williams’ chic black dress with pink trim was no loser at the cash register. New York Tennis Tee’s were a hot commodity, too, as were all visors, caps and James Blake’s signature blue headband.
Polo Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren believes in doing things in a big way. Its classic Polo Pony magnified on the ball kids’ uniforms were showing up in similar amplified fashion on apparel tops and bottoms in their flashy store at Flushing Meadows. Easier-on-the-wallet tote bags, caps, visors, and hats were popular, but the US Open polo tennis shirts were also selling, as were components of the official Open navy/ white/yellow-striped/blocked shirts. There were the glitzy components as well, like white with gold metallic striped V-neck sweaters, zip-up hoodies, and dresses.
Customers lined up at the Wilson store to buy K Factor racquets, especially the Federer frame. Personnel said overall sales were up from last year, and beginner racquets made strong showings. Wilson also had a stringing machine on-site, so customers could have their new frames strung on the spot. Other hot sellers were grips, shoes, racquet bags, US Open backpacks and the trademark jumbo Wilson tennis balls (which are great for autographs from the pros).
Booth staff at Yonex said sales were up this year. Big sellers included the new RQ1 Tour and RQ2 frames. As an added incentive, Yonex packaged a set of string and a tour bag with each racquet purchase. Also hot were the women’s yellow dress, the men’s game shirts worn by pros Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian, and the 305 and 304 shoes.
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About the Author
Cynthia Sherman is a contributing editor for RSI magazine.