Bewteen August 30 and September 12, keep an eye out on those taxi tops. You just might catch the live score from the US Open 2004. The only problem is that there will be only about a hundred such cabs in New York City for the duration of the Open.
Speaking at the draw ceremony, held at the UN August 25, Arlen Kantarian, Chief Executive of the USTA, unveiled the new marketing measures that the organization is making this year to draw even more attention to the Open - New York City's biggest annual sporting event - and to make it to the top five sporting events of the calendar years.
Last year, the Open attracted over 650,000 visitors and had an economic impact estimated at almost $420 million.
This year, besides, the innovation cab scores, the USTA is replicating last year's Rockefeller Center jumbotrons - basically mammoth viewing screens - in Harlem over Labor Day weekend to popularize the sport in those communities.
Over 300 buses in NYC and suburban areas will have US Open ads while the NYC Subway, MTA Metro North and Long Island Railroad will sport 2,500 posters as part of the new campaign.
The total purse this year will touch $17.7 million, and thanks to the bonus scoring points accumulated by players from the US Open Series tournaments earlier this year, the winner of the men's and women's singles stand to take home more than the regular purse.
For example, Andy Roddick, who leads the bonus points standings with 155 points will take home $1.5 million while Lindsay Davenport will pocket the same amount if she wins the women's singles title, instead of the $1 million purse under normal circumstances (Trivia: The US Open has offered equal prize money to the men's and women's champions for the past 32 years). The qualifying purse money along totals almost $1 million.
The opening night this year will also feature all the US Olympic medallists who will be back from Athens by then. And in addition, four tennis greats - two from the open era and two from before, or the Golden Era, as the USTA calls it - will be inducted into the US Open Court of Champions: John McEnroe, Steffi Graf, Jack Kramer and Margaret Court. The honor, which was launched last year, seeks to recognize all time greats who have won at least one singles title at the US Open or US Championships, with an individual permanent monument.
Also, the 660 players who will play 900 matches at this year's Open will include 20 Grand Slam winners and will be watched by an estimated 600,000-pus audience.
A Numbers Game:
72,000: The number of balls that will be in play this year.
250: Number of ball people last year.
4: Number of inductees into the US Open Court of Champions this year.
4: Number of days it took Francesca Schavione to beat Ai Sugiyama due to rain delays in 2003.
22: Age defending champion Andy Roddick will turn August 30.
32: Number of years the US Open has offered equal prize money to mens and womens singles winners.
55: Number of nations represented at the 2003 Open.
50: Number of states from where fans came last year.
143: Miles per hour of the fastest serve ever recorded at the Open, by Greg Rusedski
2: Number of times Rusedski sent down those rockets, in 1997 and 1999.
23,157: Number of seats in Arthur Ashe stadium, the largest in the world.
704: Number of umbrellas sold at last year's rain-lashed Open.
1: Rank of the US Open among annually-attended international sporting events.