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UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION MEDIA CONFERENCE


August 15, 2013


Dave Haggerty

Matt Rossetti

Gordon Smith

Danny Zausner


CHRIS WIDMAIER:テつ Good afternoon.テつ Today we will be unveiling an announcement for the betterment of the USTA, the US Open and of course American tennis.テつ Without further ado, I'm going to introduce the chairman of the board and president of the USTA, Dave Haggerty.
DAVE HAGGERTY:テつ Welcome on behalf of the USTA.テつ We're going to talk about our vision for the transformation of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.テつ In order to really give it a perspective, I think it's important we go back a few years and look at 1978 when we moved from Forest Hills to Flushing Meadows.テつ We sent a message.テつ The message was that tennis wasn't for the country club, it was for the country.
After that point in time, we have seen some dramatic growth with the US Open.テつ It has been fantastic.テつ In order to continue to make sure that the Open is one of the leading events, annually we have over 700,000 fans that come from New York and around the world, it's the most attended sporting event in the world, we have to make sure that the jewel is polished and the best that it can be.テつ We're going to talk to you today about that.テつ We're excited about the transformation.
In order to have spectacular facilities, we want to make sure we have the excitement and the energy that New York deserves and the world comes to see.
Our strategic vision that you'll see today when completed will have a couple of new stadiums, it will have a better fan experience.テつ We'll have wider walkways so that people can get around.テつ And, yes, as you've heard, there will be a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium.テつ In addition, Louis Armstrong will have a roof, as well.
With that I'd like to turn it over to Gordon Smith and talk about the transformation.テつ One last thing, the US Open is critical to the USTA.テつ It funds what we do, our mission, which is to grow tennis around the country in every community that we can.テつ That's why we've got to make sure that what we're doing here is just spectacular.
I'd like to turn the program over to Gordon Smith, our executive director and CEO, who will go over more of the details for our exciting plans.
GORDON SMITH:テつ Thank you, Dave.
Obviously, we've been working on this vision for several years.テつ Before it could be realized, there were some significant hurdles we had to overcome.テつ How do you tear down two aging stadiums and build two larger stadiums on the same site with a minimal amount of additional land.テつ How do you put a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium, the largest in the world.テつ It wasn't built for a roof, and the land conditions around it on the site are abysmal.テつ How are you going to eliminate crowd congestion, elevate the fan experience, and at the same time invite 10,000 more people a day to your tournament.テつ How are you going to ensure at the end of this transformation that you have built a future ready state‑of‑the‑art facility that is deserving of hosting a world class event in the most world class of cities.
Speaking of New York, we are in perhaps the most competitive local sports market in the world.テつ Every professional sports team in New York is playing in either a new or renovated arena or stadium.テつ We not only have to deal with the local market.テつ Tennis is the most international of all sports.テつ We have our Grand Slam partners to compete with, and they raise the bar every year on facilities and fan experience.
So let's talk about what the problems are.
Here we are today at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.テつ What do we have?テつ Two 50‑year‑old stadiums that are at our front door.テつ The last thing you want is two stadiums right at your front door.テつ Our main stadium, Arthur Ashe, is not that far away either.テつ It results in significant crowding, very limited area in which to handle 30,000 fans, insufficient area for facilities, food and beverage, merchandise.テつ Notice the passageway for our competitive courts.テつ Very difficult for our fans to get to those courts.テつ Again, not satisfactory for a world class venue.
Our practice courts, no one gets to watch our players practice.テつ It's a hugely popular thing in many other venues.テつ We don't have the facilities to let that happen.
What are we going to do to remedy all of those?テつ We're going to transform the National Tennis Center.テつ Here is what it's going to look like.
What have we done?テつ Grandstand is gone.テつ Grandstand is now a beautiful sunken 12,000‑seat stadium on the southwest corner of the facility.テつ We have more area for food, all the amenities that will make this a better fan experience.テつ We now have three beautiful pocket competition courts here with seating on four sides.
We have seating right here, seating for our practice courts for the first time.テつ It's going to be hugely popular.テつ You can also see we've created very wide esplanades so that people can easily traverse from Grandstand to Court 17 to all of our venues like never before.テつ It's nothing less than a transformation and centered with the new movable roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium.テつ You'll hear more about that later.
The design for Louis Armstrong is an artist's concept at this point.テつ It will be the last project to be done.テつ It will be designed with a roof.テつ It may or may not look exactly like this.
A few more views of what this is going to look like.テつ We'll take some views from the southwest corner from the new Grandstand looking towards Arthur Ashe Stadium, a ground view looking down the esplanade from the Grandstand to Court 17.テつ It's going to be a remarkably new place and new feel, you won't even recognize it.
So it's been a really long process to get this design done and get it right.テつ We're almost through with the political process.テつ We have to thank Mayor Bloomberg, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, the Public Design Commission, both houses of the New York legislature passed a bill supporting this.テつ We have to acknowledge the support of all the government entities that helped us along.
We're really proud to be a good neighbor of the park, a good neighbor of Queens, and a good neighbor of the City of New York.テつ We're proud to bring over 700,000 people a year to the turnstiles, we are proud to inject over three‑quarters of a billion dollars into the economy of New York every year.
Just to sum it up, this is great.テつ It's great for everybody involved.テつ It's great for the US Open.テつ It's great for the City of New York.テつ But to us, it's great for tennis.
Why is it great for tennis?テつ Because having done all of these things, we still have to do the primary thing we exist for, and that's to promote and develop the growth of tennis in the United States.
Before I turn it over to Danny Zausner, the CEO of the National Tennis Center, and Matt Rossetti of the Rossetti Firm who will talk more in detail, before we do that, let's all take a minute and take a look.

テつテつテつテつテつテつテつテつテつテつテつ (Video Shown.)

DAVE HAGGERTY:テつ I'm Danny Zausner.テつ I've had the great opportunity to work with the people that have worked on this for the last four years, and the roof project for the last 10 years.テつ I have to say wow, sometimes we're too close to it and can't take it in.テつ Kudos to our marketing department.
We really have to start talking about the noise because I feel like I'll be a white noise if I talk about other things first.
Everybody knows how difficult it is to build something that large.テつ It's four times larger than what a traditional arena would be.テつ Three to four times the size of Wimbledon's new roof.テつ So for over 10 years, it's been all about what could be structurally feasible, what could be actually palatable from a financial perspective for the organization, what would work.テつ We need the thing to work obviously, have it be aesthetically pleasing.
The price tags were well in excess of $200 million each time, wouldn't guarantee it would work.テつ We were looking at 32 columns around the stadium, impacting our practice courts.テつ So each time we put our pencils down with the design teams we were working with.
It's important to mention that we worked with every architect that had been involved in the design of a roof in North America.テつ We did not work with one team, we went out and sought every single architect who could bring a point of expertise to a rather complicated process.
Keep in mind you'd be hard‑pressed to find a stadium in North America that added a roof after the fact, except for BC Place Stadium.テつ Geiger Engineering was the structural engineer of record for that project, and they are involved in our project.テつ At this point we have a strong team in place.
If you go back to 2009, the last time we did an RFP to find a design team, we did not select Rossetti.テつ They had a strong presentation, but we went with another firm.テつ Matt and his team, along with Ahmed Rahimian took it rather personally.テつ They were the original architect and structural engineer when Arthur Ashe Stadium was built.テつ Behind the scenes they worked on the project for free for a year to try to come up with a concept that no one else thought of.
They came to us a year later.テつ We were intrigued.テつ The design was much more developed than we had seen and we engaged them.テつ We went to contract and talked about how this was a huge initiative for the organization, we wanted to make this roof happen.テつ Needless to say, three years we've been working on this roof sidebyside with the entire strategic vision.
I mentioned four main initiatives for the organization.テつ Chris Widmaier has been at the podium talking about those four things:テつ structural integrity, financial viability, being able to operate, and be aesthetically pleasing.テつ Behind the scenes, Matt and his team have been working on hundreds of issues that are underneath the surface beyond those four issues.
I want to give Matt an opportunity to talk to you about many of those issues.
MATT ROSSETTI:テつ Good morning.テつ I'll be talking about some of the details.
Danny mentioned four iteratives.テつ Each of those had a dozen variations to them so there are probably four dozen in all that we took a look at.テつ Each of them had a varying degree of risk and complexity to them.テつ What you see today realized is the solution that mitigates the bulk of the risk and complications and at the same time creates an elegant structure that is not in keeping with the architectural language of Arthur Ashe, but sets a strong vision for future structures on campus.
The journey began actually with an initial study of the existing structure.テつ Could we build a roof just utilizing the existing structure.テつ We literally analyzed every column and footing on the existing Ashe to find out if we could do that.テつ It turned out to be feasibly impossible to do.テつ Then we had the abysmal soils condition.テつ We had to find out how to support 5,000 tons of steel on soil that is mush.
Each of these columns lands on a massive platform of concrete, each of those that are supported about 20 piles driven to 150 to 200 feet deep.テつ It's very extensive.テつ Those become the base for the six‑foot diameter concrete bases that you can see below the tree structure.テつ We continue the allegorical relationship to the tree branches with the tree branches that reach up and support the upper crown.テつ The crown consists mostly of four large catenary trusses about 40 feet deep that each rest on one of these tree branches and go down to the footings.
The need for that depth is due to the fact that we wanted to have the largest opening of any Grand Slam, and we are at about 250 feet by 250 feet.テつ That was very important because not only for the players but the fans so there would be a continuance of feeling like you were playing and watching tennis outdoors as opposed to being in an enclosed stadium.
When the bi‑parting roof panels, approximately 400 tons apiece, bi‑part east and west on glides, when in the closed position, the surface area is about 200,000 square feet.テつ The material is a PTFE fabric, which is a fancy way of saying it's a Teflon coating, which is genius.テつ It allows the roof fabric to have a minimum of 30‑year lifespan.テつ It keeps it cooler underneath.テつ At the same time it allows a diffuse amount of light to come in, providing a lot of light in the stadium without having any shadowing on the court.
However, the slippery nature of it also creates a great watershed.テつ If you can imagine that's the equivalency of four football fields, an enormous amount of water spilling off the sides of the stadiums.テつ We have a gutter system that surrounds the perimeter, 24 feet wide by 6 feet deep, enormous.テつ Inside of it we're housing the mechanical units, HVAC units, so we can have equal distribution of air‑conditioning when we need it when the roof is in the closed position.
However, we're thinking optimistically that we'll be using this mostly in the open position, so we still need to maximize the ventilation and airflow.テつ What we've done is lifted the structure 15 feet up above the highest seats so we can allow natural ventilation to flow in and out the major opening.
In addition, kind of finally, there is an integrated catwalk system that ties together with the structure.テつ It allows the event lighting to take place, sound system, as well as the ability to maintain the mechanization system.
With that, that pretty much covers it.
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ I want to mention, if we go back to structural integrity.テつ We're down to eight columns manageable, close to the building, not significantly impacting anything going on in the eight areas of the site.テつ We're working through that right now before we begin instruction.テつ We're hoping to keep this in the $100 million range.テつ Does it work?テつ It does work absolutely.テつ We're working with Matt's team.テつ This roof will open and close in five to seven minutes.テつ It's night and day from any designs you might have seen from us in the past.
This will not impact our ability to grow this event.テつ This can only help our event 24/7 during the US Open.テつ This roof will be closed in the off‑season, something we weren't able to do with the other roofs we looked at.テつ This roof can support the weight.テつ This will help us maintain this building, which at this point is only 16 years old.テつ No reason it shouldn't be for the next 25 plus years.
Looking at the rest of the site, if you look at it as a U, Gordon mentioned earlier about our practice courts.テつ We'll have three new tournament courts replacing the two tournament courts.テつ The old tournament courts four and five had a combined capacity of 1500.テつ These three will be in excess of 3,000 seats capacity, including the viewing platform.テつ That's a nice increase for us.
Grandstand court, which will hopefully start construction after the 2014 US Open.テつ There's an existing roadway in the park located right in the middle of where the Grandstand will go.テつ We'll get that relocated.テつ We hope to finish the construction of the practice courts and the three new tournament courts in time for the 2014 US Open.テつ Grandstand court would hopefully be in 2015 or possibly 2016, along with the shifting of the seven courts and rebuilding of the south plaza areas.
Currently it's on two levels.テつ When we're done, it will be on one level, making it that much more inviting.
After those projects, we turn all our attention to the new Louis Armstrong Stadium, which will be built with the design for a roof.テつ That would hope to be completed by 2018 by the absolute latest.テつ The roof will take us two plus US Open periods.テつ We'll do the work in between each US Open.テつ It will not have an impact on our ability to host the US Open.テつ Louis Armstrong will also take us two years.テつ We'll stop construction before the US Open, utilize the new Louis Armstrong baseplate, bring in temporary seating for the stadium itself, after the Open take out the seating, finish the construction, it will get done in two years.
All the other projects will take place in between one US Open period.
CHRIS WIDMAIER:テつ Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it.テつ We will do a total transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and truly redefine spectacular with this project.
Just some quick housekeeping for the media.テつ We will be loading onto an FTP site, everybody will get that information via email, much of the imagery, the press release and other facts regarding this overall construction period and this transformation of the tennis center.
At this point in time what we are going to do is open it up to a Q&A to the floor.テつ We have been webcasting this around the world.テつ We'll see if there's any questions coming in via the webcast as well, integrate that into this Q&A portion.テつ Following the Q&A, we will have all the principals here for one‑on‑ones if needed.テつ Of course, it wouldn't be a press conference if lunch didn't follow.
I'll open it up to the floor now.

Q.テつ What is the total cost for the project and how will it be financed?
DAVE HAGGERTY:テつ Total cost will be somewhere around $550 million.テつ The USTA has had a number of projects over the years.テつ We've done self‑funding.テつ There will be a combination of bond funding and also through some revenue generation that we will achieve it.

Q.テつ Will this have an impact on ticket prices?テつ Gordon talked about 10,000 more people a day there.テつ Is that how you see funding this?
GORDON SMITH:テつ I think we've made it clear on every occasion, we're not going to pay for this on the backs of our ticketholders.テつ That's not one of the funding mechanisms that we're looking at.

Q.テつ Last summer it seemed to be rather pessimistic talk whether this could get done or not.テつ What has changed, if anything, in the last year to accelerate the process of getting this done?
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ I don't think it was as much pessimistic as frustrated.テつ We've been at this for so long.テつ Matt's team came to us with a concept in 2010 which we worked on more than a year before we got to a place that we started to realize that none of our previous studies included climate control.
We now had a look at adding this whole now cross layer of climate control, which took another six months of review.テつ Were we going to eliminate the entire upper bowl seating or doing an eight‑post system?テつ They spent more than a year eliminating the upper bowl system.
Again, not pessimism as much as frustration that the process was long.テつ But as many of us have learned to develop that, it needed to be long before we could have an announcement today that we could actually build this thing.

Q.テつ When will construction start and when will the final phase be completed?
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ It's great we could show these pictures.テつ There is a layered process of approval in the City of New York.テつ We are on public parkland, as you know.テつ It has to go through the Department of Parks and Recreation.テつ They have a three‑stage approval process.テつ From there it has to go to the Department of Buildings before we can get permits.
The early projects, like the practice courts, three new tournament courts, could begin as early as this October.テつ If we can get all of our ducks in a row, there is a potential we could start doing some of the preliminary work on the roof as early as the spring of 2014 or at the latest the spring of 2015.
The entire project, according to our schedule, should be able to be completed by the 2018 US Open.

Q.テつ At Wimbledon Centre Court, it has a beautiful design, works well.テつ The sound can get really loud.テつ How do you work with that for this new project?
MATT ROSSETTI:テつ The sound system?

Q.テつ It gets very loud.
MATT ROSSETTI:テつ Given the materials within the stadium, it's a very tough thing to mitigate.テつ One of the things we have going with the new system is because the structure will be overhead, we'll be able to distribute the sound system a little bit better so instead of having four clusters of large sound system speakers, we'll have them distributed all along the trusses that I was talking about.テつ You'll have smaller volume coming out of more speakers.
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ Existing now we have a video screen on the north and south side.テつ We'll now have four video screens.テつ Our lights raised 50, 60 feet up in the air will now be built into the roof truss system.
We had a sound system in the north video board pushing the sound, and now it will be 360.テつ So significant upgrades.

Q.テつ Based on Wimbledon, how often do you expect to close the roof every tournament?
GORDON SMITH:テつ We want this to be an outdoor tournament.テつ We're only going to close it if it will rain or is raining.テつ President Haggerty, I, David Brewer, our tournament referee, will all be involved in creating a policy for when the roof will be closed.テつ In the end, Brian Earley will decide when the roof will be closed.
The policy will be written that if at all possible this will be an outdoor tournament that will test the players.

Q.テつ What will the construction impacts be to Corona Park?
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ We've been working on that as part of our environmental impact study.テつ We know our project for the most part is self‑contained within our 40 plus acres of the site.テつ We have some land that's within our lease outside the footprint of our site that will be doing a lot of staging.
Ironically enough, we were going to have a new parking lot A outside the stadium, but we put that on hold a couple years because we want to keep as much of the construction inside our footprint and we'll be doing a lot of the staging.
GORDON SMITH:テつ There's been some press about the fact that we've been granted .68 acres of additional parkland, which is at the southern strip of our facility.テつ However, we did have some additional land that was part of our leasehold.
We actually returned more than an acre of parkland to the city.テつ So the net amount of parkland that is leased to the USTA will be less after this construction than it was before the construction.

Q.テつ I just checked my debit card.テつ The roof has an uncanny resemblance to the JP Morgan Chase logo.テつ Happenstance?
GORDON SMITH:テつ We've noticed the similarity, as well.

Q.テつ Danny or Matt, given some of the concerns/criticisms that the size of Ashe Stadium has received over the course of its life, was there any consideration to chop off the top level and putting the roof on top of a smaller stadium?
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ The top level is about 17,000 seats.テつ That was clearly something we weren't going to look at.
I will tell you in each of the studies we always charge the architects with coming back with how many seats could we take off in order to support a roof.テつ The bottom line was unless we remove the entire upper bowl, we weren't going to be able to fit a roof on the existing structure.
When we looked at two, three, five rows of seats, that was palatable, but didn't get us a roof on the building.
We are going to move some seats down.テつ Not only will we have more shade but better seat locations for people sitting higher up in the bowl.
But there was never an opportunity for us to eliminate rows of seats.
GORDON SMITH:テつ I think it's also fair to point out we sell 95% to all the tickets of that stadium.テつ If people want to come to the US Open, it doesn't seem much sense to me to be taking seats out.

Q.テつ Obviously the roof is going to be very beneficial for the players and some fans.テつ Can you talk about the plan as a whole, how this is going to benefit fans coming to the US Open in really every way.
DAVE HAGGERTY:テつ The exciting thing is there's so much depth and breadth to the project we're talking about.テつ By being able to have more fans on the site, making it a better experience where fans will have more space to be able to see the players close up, it will be better for the players as well.テつ There are a number of things.
The roof is a big story, no doubt about it.テつ To me a lot of the other elements we talk about bring an opportunity for people to get closer.
Another 10,000 fans over the period we're talking about each day.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Danny, can you expand on what will surround the new Grandstand?
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ Louis Armstrong and Grandstand are phenomenal places to watch tennis, but they're 50‑year‑old structures.テつ But the lack any form of creature comforts for our fans.テつ We've spend millions of dollars to make upgrades consistently.テつ But these are going to be brand new stadiums.テつ Grandstand going from 6,000 to 8,000, Louis Armstrong going from 10,000 to 15,000.テつ Both of them being lower to the ground means lower sight lines.テつ All of these things help.
Having an expanse from east to west, from 17 to Grandstand, which is currently 10 feet deep, now becoming 45 deep, just means flow, circulation improvements.テつ With all of that means new retail locations, sponsor activations, mini food court over by the Grandstand.テつ All of these are fan enhancements and will go a long way making a much better experience for our fans.

Q.テつ Previously it had been mentioned that the ground around Arthur Ashe Stadium was unable to support a roof.テつ What changed with this design to allow this to happen?
MATT ROSSETTI:テつ First of all, the overall structural weight of the superstructure is considerably less than some of the other previous designs which allowed us to have a different level of bearing capacity.テつ Talked about these pile caps, the pylons below them.テつ We've also been able to come up with kind of an ingenious way of tying the pile caps together.
Typically you connect pile caps with grade beams.テつ The grade beams complicate all of the infrastructure and utilities that emanating out of Ashe.テつ We were able to not do that and instead buttress these pile caps.
A little bit of engineering and technology that's changed in terms of how we're able to support it.
THE MODERATOR:テつ I didn't understand a word of that (laughter).

Q.テつ A question about the schedule of the tournament when the complex is finish.テつ Will that affect the number of days the tournament is scheduled for, given that you can guarantee when it finishes.
GORDON SMITH:テつ We have stated that starting in 2015, we will have a Sunday afternoon men's final, a Saturday women's final, and hopefully starting as early as 2016, we will never have to postpone that again.

Q.テつ In another stadium where you have closing roof, athletes have talked about changes to the playing environment.テつ Is it possible to simulate these environmental changes in planning something like this to have a chance for how change will be changed if at all?
MATT ROSSETTI:テつ Danny mentioned the extensive study we'd done, what it means to condition the air.テつ Frankly, we struggled with that for almost a year.テつ We probably brought in a dozen Ph.D.'s from half a dozen different companies to understand not only the airflow but model what the conditions would be like throughout the stadium.テつ The conditions down at the players' level will be significantly different than sitting at the top of the bowl.
I talked about the distributed air‑conditioning units sitting up at the top, that will take care of probably the top one‑third, two‑thirds of the bowl.テつ The lower portion of the bowl we'll have to supplement with air‑conditioning that will take care of the lower one‑third as well as the court surface so we don't have that condition.テつ That's typically where it's most affected, where the humidity and heat builds up, is down on the surface.
One thing we have going for us, as opposed to Wimbledon, we don't have the grass, the moisture of the grass surface emanating more humidity.テつ The hard court will help us considerably in that realm.
The distribution of the conditioned air is really the key.
GORDON SMITH:テつ We were at a meeting.テつ We were talking about the variable conditions.テつ You could have a thunderstorm immediately followed by really hot sun with the roof closed.テつ We were informed it could result in rain inside with the roof closed.テつ We said, That's a design parameter we can't accept.
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ That was number five (laughter).

Q.テつ Could you elaborate on the experience as it relates to the practice courts.
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ Right now, much like our whole southern tier of the sites, the area between the practice courts and the two existing tournament courts is about 10 feet.テつ There's no place for fans to watch.
Any fan who wants to watch the players practice, maybe 50 to 100 people can come up and watch the activity going down the expanse of all five practice courts.
Now with a two‑story viewing gallery, we can get a couple thousand people in that same general area.テつ They can actually choose which one of the five practice courts they want to watch.
On the opposite side of that, those fans can also be watching tournament matches that have seating on all four sides.

Q.テつ What, if any, impact did five consecutive Monday finishes and the impact on revenue and expenses add to any urgency to get this done sooner than later?
DAVE HAGGERTY:テつ I think last year we said we wanted to have a roof as soon as we could figure out how to do it.テつ The law of averages seemed to be with us, that we may not have rain this year.テつ But the law of averages haven't proved that in the past.
I think it certainly is a factor, but it wasn't the driving factor.テつ We already determined we wanted to do it as soon as we could technologically accomplish that.

Q.テつ Will access to Grandstand be the way that it was with a grounds ticket or a separate ticket?
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ It's anticipated it will the same as to how we're doing 17 and have access to all patrons of the event.

Q.テつ Back to the playing conditions on the court.テつ If you talk to the players on Arthur Ashe, they say there's a definite advantage from one side to the other with the wind.テつ With the roof structure, can you determine what the airflow will be at the court level with the roof structure as it would be when it's closed?
MATT ROSSETTI:テつ So when we took a look at the airflows from the computer simulations, essentially because there's a lid that sits 15 feet off the upper level, it's going to mitigate the bulk of the flow.テつ It will significantly level out that advantage from side to side.テつ It will be more even throughout the playing surface.

Q.テつ How long had the USTA been considering putting a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium and when will construction begin?
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ Let me start by saying in 2002 we had some rain during the US Open.テつ I was directed to get an architect onboard.テつ At the same time I went back and looked at the statistical data for 100 years which showed us the week before and after Labor Day was one of the driest times of the year.
If you look back at the amount of sessions that were canceled over the last 50 years, you can count them on two hands at best.テつ When you go 2008 through 2012, obviously that has changed and we can't rely on statistical data anymore.

Q.テつ How much more income does the USTA expect to generate from expanded retail and food court options and does that factor into any of the revenue generating spoken before earlier?
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ I would start out by saying that we view that as much of a fan enhancement as revenue generation.テつ It does not make up a significant portion of our revenues from the event.テつ It's nice to have.テつ It's nothing that's driving the construction or the desire to do this.
We feel like we're underserving our fans having to work with facilities that are over 50 years old.テつ We have a wonderful opportunity to add more of what our fans want, which is experience in and around the tennis matches.

Q.テつ How much thought has been given to covering the third show court, considering the arms race you're in with the other majors?
GORDON SMITH:テつ You really had to ask that question (smiling)?
It's being thought about.テつ I'll simply say it's not part of the plan between now and 2018 for this project.テつ Is it being considered?テつ Yes, it's being considered.

Q.テつ When do you expect the first matches to be played under the Ashe roof?
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ The earliest would be for the 2016 US Open, and most likely the 2017.
DAVE HAGGERTY:テつ The answer is we would like to never have to play one with the roof closed.

Q.テつ Last year Rafael Nadal was a little surprised how long it took for him to go back to court and play.テつ You said it's going to close in five to seven minutes.テつ Do you have an idea when the courts could be ready to play?
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ I agree it will take longer than the five to seven minutes to close the roof.テつ That will be at the discretion of the tournament referee when they take the players off the court and bring them back.テつ After we dry the courts now, it takes time to get the players to warm up and reset the court.テつ That will definitely help speed up the process.

Q.テつ Matt, what is the weight of this Teflon coated roof substance and how much lighter is it than what you explored earlier?
MATT ROSSETTI:テつ The fabric itself doesn't weigh much at all.テつ It's the steel that holds up the fabric.テつ The nice thing about this fabric over some of the others we explored, it has a much longer shelf life if you will.テつ We're talking about a minimum of 30 years before it has to be replaced whereas the other products that you see in a lot of other venues that fold up, like Wimbledon for example, typically have about a 10‑year shelf life.テつ We really like the reflectivity of this product.テつ We like the way it transmits lights, diffuses life underneath, cuts down the solar game.

Q.テつ Relating to the Grandstand, when the project is completed, do you anticipate the pricing structure will stay the same, or given that Louis Armstrong will seat 15,000, if you have a ticket to Ashe, will you still be able to get into Louis Armstrong?
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ Louis Armstrong already is 50% reserved, the other part is general admission.テつ That's the project furthest down the road.テつ That would be the hardest one for us to answer.
We want to follow the model of 17, all general admission, and Grandstand having an extra 2,000 seats is an opportunity for that to be general admission as well.
THE MODERATOR:テつ One clarification.テつ Gordon had said the Grandstand would hold 12,000.テつ That number is actually 8,000, with the projects new Louis Armstrong to hold 15,000.テつ The seating capacities of those stadiums currently is 6600 in the Grandstand and 10, 500 and 6,000.
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ Each of our field courts will have additional seating compared to what they have now.

Q.テつ How many more fans will the new US Open grounds be able to accommodate?
DANNY ZAUSNER:テつ We're anticipating of having capacity for an additional 10,000 people now.テつ We currently have 40,000 people so we can go upwards of 50,000 people for each of the day sessions.

Q.テつ How green is the project?
MATT ROSSETTI:テつ That's a great question because I forgot to mention it.
Throughout the three years of the master planning and design work we've been working on, it's been an integrated part of all the design.テつ There are some buildings that will be specifically lead certified, transportation building, Grandstand, parts of the south campus.テつ Then there are other venues that may not be certified.テつ But we are still going to take the same strategic approach from a sustainability perspective when we look at things like the mechanical systems, water management systems, not just the venues, but throughout the site.
When we look at things like permeable pavers, green walls and green roofs, along with the materials for the building enclosures, will incorporate that approach.
GORDON SMITH:テつ Without regard to the new construction, we work very hard to be green at the US Open.テつ We have a cross‑functional team.テつ Danny and his staff are very dedicated to making it as green as event as we can.

Q.テつ You obviously had unique limitations here on this project.テつ You talked about the roof that is in the marketplace.テつ Were there other projects in the sports world that helped inspire or instruct this project?
MATT ROSSETTI:テつ When Danny talks about the mechanism being in the marketplace, it's essentially the way it opens and closes.テつ There are probably a dozen different ways that these facilities have been done.テつ Some are the center hub, like in a lot of the European tennis venues.テつ Others have fabric that gets slid over cable netting.テつ Some open and close the long ways and have an exposure like a large cantilever on one end or the other.
This specific solution, I think I mentioned seven issues, but there's probably 27 issues we had to address.テつ The variety of the way it opens up equally doesn't overhang because of the gutter system, how much it can open, the fact that it goes east‑west versus north‑south.テつ There are an inordinate amount of decisions that went into it.
Yes, of course, we've taken a look and studied pretty much everything under the planet that's out there.

Q.テつ The residents in the area.テつ Are there plans underway to deal with future traffic issues and the noise that might come with the construction?
DANNY ZAUSNER: テつWe were actually obligated, we would have done it anyway as a good citizen, but as part of our expansion we were obligated with the final study we submitted to address all of those issues.テつ Everything from shadowing on the court, underground condition of the soils, to traffic and construction.テつ All those things were addressed in a 300‑plus page manual that I'm happy to share with everybody.
Specifically as it relates to construction, we're in a park.テつ I mentioned we're deferring our parking lot so we can use that as a staging area.テつ We're trying to do as much of the construction in our footprint.テつ I can assure you as a landlord, the Parks Department would not allow us to branch out into other areas.テつ Each of our projects have to address that.

Q.テつ With increased revenue from the US Open, will any of it go back into Corona Park?
GORDON SMITH:テつ Absolutely.テつ I said we were proud to be good neighbors in the park.テつ Part of this process has been for us to reconnect in a better way to the park and to the neighborhoods.テつ We have committed up front funding for some capital projects and on going funding to be part of a conservancy to be part of a better future for Flushing Meadows park.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll bring this to a conclusion.テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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