Why Queens should support USTA expansion
by Seth Bornstein and Rob MacKay
Apr 11, 2013 | 13170 views | 0 0 comments | 522 522 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The U.S. Open and Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (NTC) in Flushing Meadows Corona Park are great economic catalysts for Queens and the City of New York.

The two-week U.S. Open generates over $750 million in economic impact for the city. The majority of this money is spent on hotel rooms, restaurants and other purchases by the more than 700,000 spectators who descend on the borough for the tournament each year.

In fact, in Queens alone, the U.S. Open accounts for over 2,600 hotel room nights during a time in late summer that would otherwise be slow if not for the tournament.

During the U.S. Open, we operate an information kiosk outside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Whether it’s a large group of friends asking for a nice local restaurant to dine at after the matches, a couple looking to switch their hotel room to a closer, more affordable one in Queens, or a family in search of some local shopping or a local cultural institution to attend, we are inundated with tournament-goers seeking great places to eat, stay, play and meet up in our borough.

The U.S. Open also means jobs. The tournament generates more than 6,000 seasonal jobs, 41 percent of which are filled by Queens residents and 85 percent of which hail from the city. Each year the USTA hosts a job fair at the NTC to ensure local residents have the first opportunity to apply for these jobs, which can last anywhere from three weeks to six months.

It should also be noted that the NTC has a great financial impact on the local hospitality industry during the rest of the year. That’s because it’s open to the general public for indoor and outdoor tennis eleven months of the year, and also hosts hundreds of annual community programs.

In addition, the NTC hosts countless tournaments that bring competing teams from all over the northeast and the country to Queens to patronize our businesses. The visiting teams and their families, who typically come for several days at a time, stay at Queens hotels and eat and shop locally.

We urge all our fellow Queens residents, as well as local elected officials, to support the USTA’s plan to improve the NTC because, among other things, the U.S. Open and NTC are great economic engines through visitor attraction and job creation.

Furthermore, there’s no better showcase for Queens than the U.S. Open, which draws fans from near and far and is broadcast around the world. You can’t put a price tag on that.

Seth Bornstein is executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation. Rob MacKay is the organization's director of tourism.
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