BY JAMES FARRELL
With over 750,000 spectators over a two-week period, the US Open, held every year at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, is the most attended annual sporting event in the world.
And with so much activity centered on Queens, the two-week-long event gives a predictable boost to the surrounding tourism industry each and every year.
“There’s no two weeks like that,” said Rob MacKay, director of Public Relations, Marketing and Tourism at the Queens Economic Development Corporation. “First of all, area hotels, they all are filled, pretty much the entire two weeks and a little bit before.”
The event draws a large number of out-of-towners, who may be planning long stays in the area or who at least may plan on spending the whole day—and some money—at the Open and the area’s local businesses and hotels.
Of the attendees, 40 percent come from out of the Tri-State Area, and another 16 percent are international, according to Danny Zausner, chief operating officer of the USTA, which hosts the event every year.
“We know that we gobble up every single hotel that we can get in Queens,” Zausner said.
“This is the highlight time of our year,” said Ed Staniszewski, general manager of the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, which is just two miles from the Open. He added that they are completely booked for this time of year by March. Saniszewski guessed that most hotels see their prices double for the open. A quick search on Booking.com showed that the Sheraton could see prices this time of year reaching between $400 and $500 a night.
“Shortly thereafter the US Open, we’ll already start getting busy for next year,” he added, saying that groups like supporting staff or travelers who frequently attend the Open will start to book early. “They know the sooner they get in, the better pricing they’re gonna get.”
Zausner added that economic impact studies have shown that the Open brings in over $750 million to the city of New York. How much of that directly benefits Queens is unclear, but Zausner said businesses likely thrive as tennis lovers plan their day, meals and leisure time around Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
“There’s so many people that make that tradition of making their day around Queens,” he said.
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.