I attended the US Open tennis tournament on Tuesday with my daughter. Readers of this blog may recall my previous visits in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006. This was the first time my eight-year-old daughter attended and she loved it – especially the American Express Fan Experience complete with fan court and virtual reality. We attended the Tuesday night session and saw multiple matches including the main event between Andy Murray and Nick Kyrgios in Arthur Ashe stadium with its new, state of the art retractable roof. Murray won a great match in 4 sets. My photos can be found on Facebook.
As in the past, IBM is a major sponsor and provides the USOpen.org website, game scoring, statistics and court side radar guns. Mobile applications for Apple iOS and Google Android were back again this year as well which made it easy to view news, match data, player stats, live high-definition video, live radio and Twitter feeds from the U.S. Open and players. SlamTracker provides detailed statistics both for completed matches as well as matches in progress. As in the past, American Express distributed free headsets to follow the play-by-play while the center court match was in progress.
Fortune Magazine had a great article titled “Why IBM dominates the US Open” if you’re interesting learning more behind the technology behind the event. I’ll be following the matches both on TV and on my mobile devices leading up to the finals on September 23 and 24.
A few tips on attending the US Open in person:
- Bring a small backpack with a water bottle or two, a cell phone charger, and a plastic ticket holder to put around your neck. There are lots of water fountains around the grounds to fill up your water bottles.
- Make a dinner reservation at Aces or Champions. Doing so allows you to enter the grounds early – 5PM entry for a 7PM match. While the food is pricey, it isn’t much more expensive than the food village and you’re guaranteed an air-conditioned seat
- Before going to the restaurant, get your free photo taken at the Mercedes booth with the US Open trophy
- You should have just enough time after dinner to attend the American Express Fan Experience. Show your Amex card for free admittance to the members hospitality tent. Have your Amex card swiped to save $10 after $150 in purchases. Visit the Amex radio booth, show your Amex card and get a free headset radio to listen to the live play-by-play.
- Head back to Arthur Ashe for the 7PM match. The match typically doesn’t get started much before 7:30pm so no need to rush.
- Take a break from the match and wander the grounds. Be sure to check out some of the smaller courts where you’ll get a fantastic view of the match. There won’t be any big-name players but you’ll get up close and personal. Check out the sponsor booths for free giveaways.
- Looking for a souvenir? Save your money and buy one at home. The $45 big tennis balls can be found online for half price. Similarly, you can buy US Open tee shirts online for half price after the open finals. I am a fan, however, of the US Open souvenir soda cup and Honey Deuce souvenir glasses. I have a collection that goes back a decade.