By Ashley Marshall, USOpenSeries.com
The Citi Open will return to the US Open Series this summer for the first time since 2014, pending ATP Board approval, following a new deal to keep the tournament in Washington, D.C.
The announcement was made Tuesday at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center, with D.C.-based businessman Mark Ein acquiring the management rights to the event with an additional option to purchase the tournament within five years.
The tournament also announced it had extended its title sponsorship with Citi for 2019 and renewed its Tennis Channel broadcast deal for five years. In addition, there will be no increase in ticket prices for the 2019 installment of the event, which takes place July 27-Aug. 4.
The Citi Open, which is home to the only ATP 500 tournament in the U.S. and one of only 13 around the world, is one of only five events in the U.S. featuring players from both the ATP and WTA Tours competing simultaneously at the same tournament site. After 50 years, it is also the longest-running pro tennis event at the same site in the United States.
The US Open Series provides a centralized promotional platform for the sport in North America, showcasing the best players in the world as they compete throughout the U.S. and Canada. Other US Open Series cities for 2019 include Atlanta, San Jose, Toronto, Montreal, Cincinnati and Winston-Salem.
Ein purchased the rights to the Citi Open from the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF), a non-profit organization that provides free tennis and educational programs for children in underserved communities.
“I grew up with this tournament, and I know first-hand the profound impact it can have on individuals like myself and on our community more broadly, so I am thrilled that we were able to come to an agreement to keep this very special event here in Washington,” said Ein, who served as a ballperson at the tournament for many years in his youth. “This is an iconic tournament on the world stage that has been woven into the fabric of our local community across many generations.”
As part of the agreement, Ein made a significant financial contribution and future financial commitments that will enable the WTEF to build its endowment to further the charity’s mission and ensure its financial future as part of the agreement.
“No one is more passionate than Mark Ein for the sport of tennis and for his local community," said USTA CEO and Executive Director Gordon Smith. "These passions have combined to ensure the future of professional tennis will thrive in Washington, D.C. His leadership truly makes a difference, and of course we are thrilled to welcome the Citi Open back into the US Open Series.”
Ein, who served on the board of the USTA from 2012-18 (serving as a vice president from 2016-18), says the first priority will be to address much-needed facility updates for the half-century old stadium and grounds that are needed to secure the long-term future of the tournament at this site and for the city.
In the immediate future, Ein looks to enhance the overall fan experience, including significantly upgraded food and beverage offerings, improved grounds, new hospitality areas available to all fans, better parking and ride-sharing logistics and on-site entertainment.
Fans can watch and stream men’s and women’s action from first ball to last on Tennis Channel and TC Plus. Tennis Channel is expected to televise 160 hours of coverage from four courts at the Rock Creek Tennis Center.
Tickets for the 2019 Citi Open go on sale the week of May 6. For more information, visit www.citiopentennis.com.