Saturday, October 1, 2022

US Open ticket sales skyrocket after Serena Williams retirement announcement

Tennis legend Serena Williams announced on Tuesday that she intends to retire and that the US Open could be her last competition, making those tickets a hot item. The 2022 US Open is taking place in New York City from Aug. 29 through Sept. 11 and even though the draw for the tournament won’t be revealed until the Thursday before competition begins, fans are already rushing to buy tickets.  

According to StubHub, the first 24-hour sale day after Williams’ announcement saw eight times more ticket sales than the daily average, and 11% of the total number of tickets were sold during that period. 

“We typically see demand spike on StubHub when a player announces their retirement, and this is especially the case when it’s Serena Williams, arguably one of the greatest players to set foot on the tennis court,” StubHub spokesperson Adam Budelli said in a statement.

As of Thursday, there were no tickets under $80 for the first round at Arthur Ashe Stadium — the main stadium for the US Open — on StubHub. That price is not an outlier. On Ticketmaster, the lowest price for a single ticket for the first round at Arthur Ashe Stadium is $76. Billboard reported that data compiled by Vivid Seats showed the median price for the first four sessions shot up as much as 138%.

The US Open is certainly a special tournament for Williams, as that is where she earned was her first-ever Grand Slam title in 1999 at the age of 17. She has 102 match victories, which is the record for the most US Open wins in history. 

The 23-time grand slam winner was competing in the National Bank Open this week. Williams played  — and eventually lost to — Belinda Bencic on Wednesday, the day after her decision became public. Karl Hale, the tournament director, told the New York Times that since taking his role in 2006, he had never seen anything like the 24 hours after the retirement announcement. According to him, the Williams-Bencic match had a bigger draw than the entire 2017 women’s tournament.

“We heard it yesterday morning, and immediately ticket sales picked up,” Hale said. “In the players’ lounge, you heard the chatter. It’s the first time I’ve seen so many players watch a practice. She practiced at 9 a.m., and everybody was out there watching her.”

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