USOPEN.ORG Becomes Technologically Sophisticated Website
FLUSHING, N.Y. — The USTA and IBM announced today 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 one of the most technologically sophisticated websites in all of sports.
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. For 2009, the website has added a number of new enhancements that will make USOpen.org and the US Open accessible from virtually anywhere on the planet.
USOpen.org will stream all matches within the ESPN and Tennis Channel broadcast windows, giving users within the United States the ability to watch over 150 matches on their computer during the course of the two-week event.
In addition to USOpen.org’s mobile site, the USTA and IBM are introducing a new mobile application for the iPhone with special features sponsored by American Express. The iPhone App will feature live scores, video, news, venue information, and USOpen.org Radio with “Ask the Booth”, an enhancement from American Express, which allows users to submit questions that will be answered by tennis insiders throughout the tournament. American Express also provides an interactive grounds map and video content with pro players. Follow news and updates from every player in both the men’s and women’s draws with customizable SMS alerts. The US Open’s mobile offerings allow users to access USOpen.org’s extensive content without the use of a computer regardless of device or carrier.
Additionally, USOpen.org will feature an extensive focus on social media, with updates, links and promotions coming from pages such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
“Our continuous goal is to use new media to bring fans ever closer to the US Open and its participants,” 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 designed to allow our fans never-before-seen access to the world’s premier tennis event.”
“The USTA is dedicated to leading the way with regards to the digital media options we offer to tennis enthusiasts,” said Phil Green, Senior Director, Advanced Media, USTA. “By leveraging all of the interactive tools at our disposal, we allow our fans to access the US Open where ever they are, whenever they want and on whatever device they prefer.”
“It’s incredible to see how the internet continues to evolve on a daily basis,” said Rick Singer, Vice President, Client Executive Marketing, IBM. “Given the ongoing change, we’re constantly challenged to stay ahead of the changing needs of US Open fans around the world. 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 41 million visits during last year’s US Open, which represents a 37% increase from the record visits in 2007.
New features for 2009 include:
- Live Streaming: US Open will offer the most extensive live streaming in the history of the event through it’s new “US Open Live” product, airing all matches within the ESPN and Tennis Channel broadcast television windows in high definition. Streaming up to five matches simultaneously, ”US Open Live” will make more than 150 matches available for free within the United States. Live streaming also will integrate live match stats updates, fan commenting and picture-in-picture capabilities.
- iPhone Application: The USTA and IBM, with special features sponsored by American Express are offering the official US Open iPhone Application that includes live scoring, the Interactive Draw, on-demand video clips including match highlights, live streaming of USOpen.org Radio - a feature from American Express, photos, an interactive venue map and more.
- US Open Bracket Challenge: For the first time, USOpen.org will house and operate the official US Open Bracket Challenge, allowing fans to fill out the US Open brackets online to win prizes. With separate competitions for the men’s and women’s singles draws, the participants compiling the most bracket points in each draw by the end of the tournament will win a trip to the 2010 US Open. The challenge will go live following the US Open draw unveiling ceremony, aired live on ESPNews on Thursday, August 27.
- New Spanish Widget: As an enhancement to the US Open Widget that debuted in 2008, USOpen.org now offers a Spanish version of the widget. The widget will contain scores, headlines, and photos; users will easily be able to post the widget to their blogs, websites and Facebook pages.
- Mobile Features: in addition to the iPhone Application, official US Open mobile content will include a dedicated mobile site (m.usopen.org), and options for nearly 50 different types of alerts, including individual player updates, TV Tune-in information, Ticket availability, and updates as to the latest events at SmashZone and around the grounds.
- Live Scoring: As in years past, USOpen.org is the exclusive destination for all US Open point-by-point live scoring. Fans can stay apprised of all the live action, through the site’s “SlamTracker” application. Additionally, they can follow the draw as it unfolds using SlamTracker’s Interactive Draws feature.
- US Open All-Access: Fans will enjoy unprecedented multimedia access to the US Open. In addition to “US Open Live”, an enhanced embedded video player will allow users to watch exclusive video highlights, player interviews, classic matches, junior reports and more. USOpen.org will also feature an “Around the Grounds” section, highlighting the daily off-court activities at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
- USOpen.org Seat viewer: USOpen.org will feature an interactive application allowingfans to check out the view from their seat from anywhere in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The application also allows fans to plot “door-to-Stadium” directions from their homes, whether they walk, take mass transportation or drive
- FanZone: Tennis fans will have the opportunity to be part of a US Open online community where they can enter comments, caption photos and gain access to the latest tournament happenings. Building on the success of the 2008 US Open FanBook, which allowed users to create a running commentary throughout the US Open by posting their thoughts on USOpen.org, FanZone has added: “As It Happens”, in which a USOpen.org writer will provide timely updates to users around the globe, while letting the users submit comments or ask questions from first ball to last; “Caption It”, an opportunity for online users to create their own captions for one of the day’s best photographs from around the grounds of the Open; and Twitter and Facebook - links to and from the official US Open Twitter Channel and Facebook Fan page.
- Remembering Pancho: USOpen.org will have an area with archival video footage, classic photos and articles dedicated to former US National Champion Pancho Gonzales, whose life and legacy will be honored in an on-court ceremony on Saturday, September 5.
- Updated Green Initiatives: USOpen.org will feature the USTA’s extensive green initiatives which are in place to minimize the environmental impact of the world’s largest annually attended sporting event. The website will provide tips that fans can use at home to be more environmentally conscious, and will offer a “Green Game,” designed to test fans’ environmental awareness.
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