The final Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year kicks off at the end of the month in Flushing, NY. Tennis fans will encounter a transformed Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at this year’s U.S. Open. More seating, more room to move around and expanded food courts are the latest updates from the four-year, $500 million renovation, which won’t be completed until 2018. But the most visible feature of the renovation is a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, which is the world’s largest tennis stadium.
In an agreement to be announced this week, the Chasename and logo will adorn the roof on both the north and south sides of the building. Fans will see the Chase logo from the highway, as well as the subway approaching the grounds. Chase will be the only brand to have its name on the roof of a major sports venue in the New York City area. JPMorgan ChaseJPM -0.27% wouldn’t comment on financial terms of the deal.
A retractable roof has been added to Arthur Ashe Stadium for the 2016 U.S. Open.
“The roof is the feature element of the transformation and is something we felt strongly about putting our brand behind because of our long-standing partnership with the U.S. Open,” says Frank Nakano, head of Sports and Entertainment for JPMorgan Chase.
Chase has been a sponsor of the Open for 35 years. Advertising for the $2.4 trillion-in-assets bank, which is the biggest in the U.S., runs throughout the Tennis Center.
There is also an onsite lounge for Chase customers, and Chase partners with ESPNfor a live-streaming channel that allows fans to view multiple camera angles of matches.
Chase added Serena Williams to its endorsement roster last year as part of the bank’s Mastery campaign. Williams'WMB -6.01% pursuit to break the modern-era record for Grand Slam singles titles will be one of the major storylines of this year’s U.S. Open. Williams is currently tied with Steffi Graf at 22 Slam championships (she also has 16 doubles crowns). Chase is the presenting sponsor of the women’s final.
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The Open is the largest annually attended sporting event in the world with more than 700,000 fans making the trip to Flushing Meadow. The demographics of the fan base make the Open a hot ticket for sponsors. The median income of fans at the Open is roughly $160,000 with a large international flavor.
The roof over the main stadium at the Tennis Center became a necessity with weather delays wreaking havoc on the tournament draws in recent years. The men’s final was pushed back to Monday every year from 2008 to 2012. Monday finishes typically lead to lower TV ratings and inconvenienced fans. The highly anticipated final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer last year was delayed for more than three hours for rain. “We weren’t necessarily looking to just put a logo on the roof, but it provided real functionality and a real benefit to fans and players,” says Nakano.
Adding the Chase name to the roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium is the second big venue announcement for the bank this year. In January, Chase revealed a 20-year agreement to brand the Golden State Warriors’ new arena Chase Center. It is the largest arena naming rights deal ever for what will be the first indoor multi-purpose entertainment venue in San Francisco. Naming rights are not part of the agreement, but JPMorgan Chase is also the marquee sponsor of Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers. “We love being part of events that people are passionate about,” says Nakano.