Hot seats a slow sell for U.S. Open

James Blake hits a ball during Arthur Ashe Kid's Day at the 2009 U.S. Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York -- August 29, 2009


Steve Chiotakis: The U.S. Open starts today in New York. If you're a tennis fan on a budget, you can get tickets for around $20. But a luxury box with in-suite catering? That typically takes a corporate budget. And with the economy still on the skids, it's been a slow selling season. Sally Herships reports.

Sally Herships: Typcially, the best seats at the U.S. Open -- you know, the ones in luxury boxes and courtside -- are long gone by July, snapped up by big corporate sponsors looking to entertain clients. Not so this year.

Chris Whidmaier works for the U.S. Tennis Association. He says:

Chris Whidmaier: We literally signed two last sponsorships in the last week leading into the U.S. Open.

Robert Tuchman plans events for Fortune 500 companies. He says there's still a lot of pressure on companies to avoid luxury.

Robert Tuchman: Unfortunately, because of the fear of being, you know, called out, they've held back from spending funds on these different events.

Those who are buying are buying less. JP Morgan Chase is one of the few Wall Street firms that is a sponsor. But it took a luxury box for one week this year, not two.

I'm Sally Herships for Marketplace.


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