Wednesday, September 4, 2013

U.S. Open Notebook: Experiencing Flushing Meadows in Person

This past Friday I had the privilege of attending the US Open day session featuring Men's Second Round and Women's Third Round matches. I just want to share with you some of my thoughts and experiences of experiencing the open in person! 

Seven Must Do’s at the Open

1. Watch a match on the Grandstand from Louis Armstrong Stadium: This is one of my favorite things to do when visiting the open. For those of you who have never been, Louis Armstrong is the second biggest stadium and the Grandstand is connected to it on one side. The grandstand, the third biggest stadium is one of the coolest courts to watch a professional tennis match. However, if there are two matches of high quality being played at the same time, it is possible to see both from the top of Louis Armstrong Stadium. I highly suggest checking this out if you visit Flushing Meadows.

Grandstand Court with Louis Armstrong Stadium to the right.

2. Check out the Fan Experience Tent: The Fan Experience Tent is a nice place to head to cool off and experience a more interactive piece on the grounds. It is presented by American Express, and fans have the opportunity to play on the Wii, practice on a court, and receive swing lessons as well.

3. Watch a set from the first row on Court 17: I had the pleasure of watching a 5 set match which lasted over three hours on court 17. I boiled in the sun the whole match watching from the second row. This court is the perfect court to get a front row seat at if you arrive early. Privileges of being so close is seeing the players’ reactions and hearing them argue with the umpire and linesman. Sometimes, you can even hear them yelling at themselves!
4. Visit the new Heineken House: Another place to cool off during a long day, the Heineken House offers shelter, food, drinks, and even games such as corn hole. It is definitely a part of the grounds one would want to take a gander at.

5. Watch some of the top players on the Practice Courts: Watching the players practice is the best chance to get close to some of the top players and even get an autograph. I personally like watching the players practice to see what they are working on and then watch them during their next match and see if I can pick out if they are implementing what they do in practice. Some players focus a little more than others out on the practice courts!

6. Watch a Young American on an outer court: I had the opportunity to watch Tim Smycek advance to the third round winning a 5 set match on court 11. It is one of the best things to witness at the open, because it is great to see all the fans rally behind the underdog and help will him to victory. One can easily tell it was the best moment of Tim’s young career and he was not holding back any smiles when he won!

7. Try to catch a tennis ball: Obviously, this is not the easiest to do, but if you have the fortune of grabbing a tennis ball that bounced out of play, take advantage of it. Do your best to try to get a signature and then you will have a free souvenir to bring home with you!

Three Takeaways From Visiting Flushing Meadows

1. Activating Sponsorships: The US Open has multiple sponsors, however I was astounded at how well each of them were activated. As we all know, activation is the key to making a successful sponsorship and the US Open and their sponsors are nailing it. Heineken opened its new Heineken House this year. American Express presents their fan experience tents. Mercedes has multiple cars and contests on site for fans to enter to win. Time Warner Cable offers customers the chance to receive a free FanVision for the day. Finally, Ralph Lauren is plastered on every linesman and ball boys uniforms. Props to the US Open and their sponsors for really taking advantage of great opportunities!

2. Wear Sunscreen and Stay Hydrated: The latter, I was able to do because of the multiple water fountains on the grounds. However, as my arms and face can attest to, I happened to forget sunscreen. If you plan on visiting, make sure you wear sunscreen! Unfortunately I turned into a lobster for the weekend!

3. Make the Most of It: If you are going to go to the open, do it right! Make sure you get there early to walk around and experience all that is going on. Head to different courts, watch the players practice, check out a doubles match, buy a souvenir. My advice is really to do it all! There is so much to see and experience and it really does make for a great trip! I recommend attending the first Friday session so there are multiple matches being played!

Stay Tuned for a preview of the Men's and Women's Semi-Finals taking place this weekend!


Michael Proska is a freshman at Drexel University from Springfield, PA pursuing a Sport Management degree along with a minor in Statistics. Along with being a writer for the SMTSU blog, The Sports Complex, he has an internship with Drexel Athletics in the promotions and marketing department. Michael is a member of the Army ROTC at Drexel University.  Michael is the Secretary for the SMTSU.  Follow Michael on Twitter@mikeprosk.

Connect with Michael Proska on LinkedIn.

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