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Doug Krizner: The U.S. Open is underway in New York, and for the first time in many years there’s no Andre Agassi on the courts. In fact there’s no big-name male U.S. tennis star. Some commentators are worried a lack of star quality could mean a drop in interest, and that could translate into a financial hit. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.
Ashley Milne-Tyte: Champion Roger Federer is the biggest name at the U.S. Open.
Paul Swangard directs the Warsaw Center for Sports Marketing at the University of Oregon. He says the Swiss player doesn’t exert a strong pull on U.S. fans.
Paul Swangard: They’ve probably heard about him but may not be aware just how dominant a player he is, and personality-wise he’s not, for an American sport fan, interesting enough away from the sport to have them care about him.
Chris Widmaier is with the United States Tennis Association, which runs the U.S. Open. He admits a big American personality generates interest in the sport in the U.S. Still, he says . . .
Chris Widmaier: I can tell you right now that we are at record ticket sales for the 2007 U.S. Open. In fact, we might crack 700,000 attendees for the first time.
And, he says, more viewers were watching pre-Open tennis TV this year than last.
In New York, I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.
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