Last year the U.S. Open drew record crowds to the U.S.T.A. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Some came for the tennis, others for the sponsor activations. They set a record opening day attendance of 68,059 people and through Labor Day 2019, the event drew 540,333, which was the tournament’s highest-ever attendance for its first eight days. This year is well, a bit different.
There's a pandemic.
While New Yorkers and visitors took the 7 train out to Flushing, Queens, last year to see matches such as Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova and star players like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, they also were drawn by onsite brand experiences. Longtime tournament sponsors such as American Express, I.B.M., and J.P.Morgan Chase evolved their fan experiences to deliver a mix of high-tech and low-tech activations and lounges, while other brands such as first-time sponsor InterContinental Hotels Group and Fila held adjacent pop-ups around the city to interact with tennis fans.
Here’s a look back at some of the most engaging event ideas from sponsors and brands at last year’s U.S. Open to inspire you for your future events.