The US Open 2020 is all set to begin on Monday, August 31, after months of uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. Considering the unprecedented circumstances of 2020, New York City's Grand Slam will be the second major of the year after the Wimbledon was cancelled and the French Open was postponed to September. Defending champions Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu have both withdrawn from the tournament, while Roger Federer will also miss out due to knee surgery.
With the US Open 2020 schedule set to begin on Monday, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced a partnership with Zoom Video Communications Inc. to provide virtual experience for fans during the Grand Slam tournament. The entirety of the US Open 2020 schedule will be played behind closed doors amidst the COVID-19 crisis. With Zoom, the USTA plans to provide their viewers' with a unique fan experience.
The partnership with Zoom will have VIP experiences for their audience, which includes two VIP virtual hospitality events and a star-studded fundraiser for the USTA Foundation. The VIP events will be open to guests invited by Zoom, featuring Q&A sessions with the sport's legends, celebrity exchanges, tutorials for the iconic Honey Deuce cocktail and other classic US Open culinary offerings. The events serve as an innovative way of engaging with tennis fans and provide them with enduring memories of the US Open 2020.
The USTA will also pay a rich tribute to the local health care workers as part of their deal with Zoom amidst the global health crisis. A celebrity-hosted opening night fundraiser will be held on August 31 via Zoom and its proceeds will go to the USTA Foundation. Hollywood star Alec Baldwin will host this year's US Open opening night.
The partnership will also support the "Rally To Rebuild" campaign, which supports the National Junior Tennis Learning (NJTL) chapters across the US. The USTA will honour 14 ‘Healthcare Champions’ from around the world in a virtual interview series piloted on Zoom. Before the start of each US Open match, a former US Open Champion will recognize a healthcare worker who has worked tirelessly to save lives amidst the global health crisis, during the virtual coin toss.
Speaking of the partnership, Lew Sherr, Chief Revenue Officer of the USTA said that the COVID-19 pandemic compelled the US Open to look at innovative ways and Zoom provides the best in class that help them 're-imagine spectacular in a virtual environment'. Sherr said that he appreciates their support for the fundraising activities of the USTA Foundation and to celebrate healthcare champions across the globe.
Janine Pelosi, CMO of Zoom, added that it is exciting to partner with USTA as they share the 'innovative spirit'. Pelosi said that they are proud to be associated with USTA's support for the healthcare workers and added that they are always looking for new ways to provide their audience with robust virtual experiences.