The U.S. Tennis Association has reduced its staff by 20% and closed its New York office. The cuts are being framed as a “transformational plan” as the organization works to ensure the U.S. Open is held this year while navigating the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. Open’s $400 million in revenue accounts for more than 80% of the USTA’s annual revenue. Last year the tournament attracted more than 738,000 fans, making up most of the organization’s $161 million in ticket revenue. While it has been held at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City since 1978, recent rumors suggest it might be moved to Florida or California to mitigate any additional impact from the coronavirus pandemic.
Regardless, a full field of international players is unlikely, and fan attendance is up in the air. The importance for the tournament, however, doesn’t stop at fan-driven revenue. The USTA generates revenue from an 11-year, $825 million media rights deal with ESPN, which is centered around airing the U.S. Open. The USTA did not buy cancellation insurance, adding additional pressure on the organization.