Cincinnati tennis tournament growing with $10M expansion

The Western & Southern Financial Group Masters is already one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world, and the largest summer tennis tournament in the United States outside of the US Open grand slam event.  Tournament Director Bruce Flory says that the tournament is expected to draw more than 170,000 this year and grow to 220,000 next year.

With the size and growth of the two separate tournaments, officials have planned to combine the two into a two-week long event next year.  To compliment the combined draws, officials have announced a $10 million expansion and upgrade project designed by Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects that will start immediately following this year's Masters event, and will be completed and ready in time for next year's combined tournament.

The $10 million project will be funded by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), a majority partner in the tournament, and Cincinnati's Tennis for Charity. The upgrade will add an additional 890 stadium seats, 6 new luxury suites, major media facility upgrades, and player amenity improvements that will clear the way for the men's and women's tournaments to be held simultaneously.

The most prominent addition will be the new 52,000 square-foot West Building that will house the new luxury suites, seating capacity, player and media facilities. Tournament officials say that the new West Building will be twice as tall as the existing structure and rise some 97 feet above court level.

The new upgrades will further establish the stadium court as one of the top ten facilities in the world according to Flory who says, "it's more intimate than most and in my opinion the perfect size since tennis can be hard to watch in bigger stadiums."

This initial $10M project will be followed up with additional improvements down the road that will include 6 to 8 new tennis courts following the 2010 event.  From there Flory says that a larger food court, restrooms and support facilities will be needed.

Flory says that it is rewarding to have seen the tournament grow the way it has over the years, but says that "it will be fun to see the tournament continue to grow and bring more and more fans to Cincinnati.".  The Western & Southern Financial Group Masters event is happening now and runs through Sunday, August 23 in Mason at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.

Breakdown of the $10 million upgrades:
  • A 21,000 square-foot court-level (below grade) player area with two locker rooms (each accommodating more than 100 players), private training rooms, locker rooms for male and female coaches, and a 2,200 square-foot fitness area among other amenities;
  • an 8,000-square foot space on the ground floor which includes a 5,500 square-foot indoor player lounge and offices for the ATP World Tour and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour;
  • an 11,000 square-foot second floor for player dining, a warming kitchen and storage;
  • a 4,800 square-foot outdoor player lounge on the roof of the second floor;
  • a 6,300 square foot third floor for interview rooms, featuring a main interview room and three additional interview rooms;
  • a 4,800 square foot Media Center on the fourth floor with more than 100 stations for writers and photographers;
  • six new luxury suites overlooking Center Court;
  • 750 new covered loge-level seats; and
  • the addition of 140 seats in the northwest corner of Center Court.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
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