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USOpen.org Launches with Enhanced Technology and In-Depth Coverage

FLUSHING, N.Y. — The USTA and IBM today announced the launch of USOpen.org, one of the most highly trafficked websites of any annual sports event, with a wide array of new features that will make USOpen.org more expansive and user-friendly than ever before and further establish it as one of the world’s top sports event websites.

USOpen.org is the premier source and destination for multi-media coverage of the US Open, delivering a personalized online experience for each tennis fan. The website, newly redesigned for 2008, offers the most comprehensive coverage of the tournament, from exclusive live scoring to featured matches of the day to player interviews to a new hourly live broadcast that will provide the tournament’s latest news and notes — all created to enhance the tennis fan’s enjoyment of the US Open. Additional advancements include increased mobile content, customizable site components, and interactive features allowing for fan comments and photo uploads.

“We have built the official US Open website to leverage the latest technologies and innovations to bring fans the most in-depth coverage possible,” said Pierce O’Neil, Chief Business Officer, USTA. “By working closely with IBM, we are proud to introduce many new broadband, interactive and mobile features, all created to provide fans with a fresh and unique perspective both on and off the court.”

“We are always looking for new and inventive ways to bring the sport of tennis closer to fans,” said Phil Green, Director, Advanced Media, USTA. “By utilizing the internet and cutting-edge technology, we’re able to offer fans a myriad of new and exciting ways to enhance their US Open experience.”

“It’s amazing to see how the internet continues to evolve on a daily basis,” said Rick Singer, Director of Worldwide Sponsorship Marketing for IBM. “Given that evolution, our challenge is always to stay ahead of the changing needs of US Open fans around the world. We think this year’s website does just that by introducing new ways for fans to interact with the tournament wherever they are.”

IBM, the USTA’s exclusive information technology solution provider, developed and hosts the site (usopen.org). USOpen.org generated an all-time record 30 million visits during last year’s US Open, which represents a 17% increase from the record visits in 2006.

New features for 2008 include:

Redesigned Home Page: USOpen.org will now feature a prominent lead photo area, embedded videos of highlights and interviews, and dynamic messaging to provide users with immediate updates and critical information such as weather delays, live programming updates, and player information.

Enhanced myUSOpen.org area: In an update to myUSOpen.org, which allowed fans to track up to five of their favorite players, users will now be able to customize up to three distinct areas of USOpen.org’s homepage to contain specific content to fit their unique interests.

Live @ the Open Presented by American Express: USOpen.org will stream hourly shows during each day session highlighting the latest news and information from the tournament grounds. In addition, each program will offer a look back at memorable moments in US Open history, and fans will be able to submit questions to the show’s hosts and guests. The shows will also be available on-demand.

New Interactive Content: USOpen.org will feature expanded interactive content offerings, including the “US Open Fanbook,” that will contain a running blog with posts from USOpen.org staff as well as from users around the globe, a Fan Photo feature allowing fans to post their own photos from around the grounds, and user commenting on stories throughout the website.

New Community Feature: Online users can take a piece of USOpen.org with them via the US Open Widget, allowing them to upload content, scores, stats, and schedules onto their own websites and blogs.

New Mobile Content: Fans can now take the US Open on-the-go. Mobile content will include a dedicated WAP site, and options for nearly 50 different types of alerts. Users will have the opportunity to win a free trip to the 2009 US Open via a mobile sweepstakes.

US Open Ticket Exchange: Through the USTA’s partnership with TicketsNow, a TicketMaster company, USOpen.org will offer direct access to the official secondary ticketing market for the Open

Rebuilt and Rebranded US Open Online Shop: The exclusive online shop of the 2008 US Open (USOpenShop.org) has been updated to include new functionality (improved checkout and various zoom features), new products (US Open active wear), and enhanced navigation to greatly improve the online buying experience.

About IBM

IBM is the world’s largest information technology, business and technology services, consulting services, IT research and IT financing organization. The company creates solutions for client’s business problems and helps clients transform their businesses into on demand enterprises. For more information, visit ibm.com.

About USTA

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. It owns and operates the US Open, the largest annually attended sporting event in the world, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 94 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. A not-for-profit organization with more than 725,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com.

 

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