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Olympus US Open Series Launches

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The USTA announced today that the seventh season of the Olympus US Open Series, the six-week North American summer tennis season that links 10 ATP World Tour and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour summer tournaments to the US Open, launches today with the Atlanta Tennis Championships. Since its inception in 2004, the six-week Olympus US Open Series has more than doubled television viewership and increased event attendance, while generating new corporate partnerships for the sport. The full summer TV schedule is attached.

Throughout the summer, the Series will feature more than 200 national television hours on ESPN2, Tennis Channel and CBS Sports, highlighted by back-to-back men’s and women’s finals on Sundays on ESPN2 and select finals on CBS Sports. The Olympus US Open Series premieres Friday, July 23, with two hours on Tennis Channel, followed by four hours on ESPN2. An additional seven hours of coverage on both networks will follow over the weekend, with the finals airing live on Sunday on ESPN2 beginning at 3 p.m. ET. In addition, Tennis Channel will telecast the final of the US Open National Playoffs - Men’s Championship on July 25 at the Atlanta Athletic Club (during the Atlanta Tennis Championships).

More than 200 of the game’s top players will compete during the Series for $40 million in prize money. Additionally, through the Olympus US Open Series Bonus Challenge, the USTA will offer up to an additional $2.6 million in bonus prize money at the US Open to the top three men’s and top three women’s singles finishers in the Olympus US Open Series. The Olympus US Open Series Bonus Challenge has resulted in the largest paychecks in tennis history for men (2007 - Roger Federer, $2.4 million) and women (2005 - Kim Clijsters, $2.2 million). For 2010, both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will earn a record $1.7 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total $2.7 million potential payout) based on their performances in the Olympus US Open Series.

”Coming off Wimbledon, I’m looking to take full advantage of the steady schedule that the Olympus US Open Series offers,” said John Isner, who advanced to the 2007 singles final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C., his first career tour-level hard court event. “These events are consistently becoming a vital part of my preparation heading right into the US Open.”

The Olympus US Open Series season will be supported again by a multi-million dollar national marketing campaign, the OlympusUSOpenSeries.com website, and sponsor activation on both the national and local level. Olympus, the Series’ inaugural sponsor, is entering its third year as the title sponsor of the Series. The Olympus US Open Series is also supported by sponsors American Express, Evian and recent newcomers Grand Marnier Liqueur and SPDR Gold Shares.

National Broadcasts

More than 200 hours of tennis action will be televised during the six weeks of the Olympus US Open Series, with ESPN2 remaining the lead broadcaster, and additional national coverage from Tennis Channel and CBS Sports. The Olympus US Open Series, with the US Open, provides tennis with more live national television coverage during its eight weeks than any other summer sport over the same time period. Series broadcasts reached nearly 47 million viewers last year, more than doubling viewership numbers of these events prior to the launch of the Series in 2004.

The impressive roster of television talent covering the 2010 Olympus US Open Series season includes: ESPN2 - Chris Fowler, Mary Carillo, Patrick McEnroe, Mary Joe Fernandez, Darren Cahill, Pam Shriver, Cliff Drysdale and Brad Gilbert; Tennis Channel — Ted Robinson, Lindsay Davenport, Leif Shiras, Corina Morariu, Justin Gimelstob and Ashley Fisher; and CBS Sports - Ian Eagle, Mary Carillo, Bill Macatee and Mary Joe Fernandez.

Instant replays and official reviews on television broadcasts will continue to be branded the “Chase Review,” and players will once again have three challenges per set plus one additional during a tiebreaker.

New for this season, Olympus US Open Series Radio powered by RadioTennis.com will provide weekly live-audio play-by-play via the Internet from select tournaments throughout the summer.

National Marketing Campaign

For the second consecutive year, the Olympus US Open Series and the US Open are being marketed under the same campaign, entitled, “It Must Be Love.” This year’s multi-million dollar marketing and advertising campaign features some of the games biggest stars and is a multimedia effort that includes national television, radio, print, digital media and customized local executions in Olympus US Open Series tournament markets. More than a dozen top players, including Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters, Melanie Oudin and Mike and Bob Bryan were filmed for the campaign.

In all, 11 30-second TV ads will comprise the television campaign, which will air nationally in and outside of tennis programming on CBS Sports, ESPN2, NBC, ABC, and Tennis Channel. Print executions will appear throughout the summer in The New York Times, TENNIS magazine and other top metropolitan markets and an accompanying radio campaign — which includes over 50,000 spots — will air in markets around the country to drive television tune-in. In addition, a robust online campaign including Google search and display advertising on a host of news and sports sites will further enhance the plan to drive weekend tune-in on ESPN2, Tennis Channel and CBS Sports.

 

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