Joseph Healy gathered a group of Fordham graduate business students around him on the Grandstand Court at the National Tennis Center and explained the value of the sport, beyond tournaments and worldwide recognition for its best players.
“I’d encourage you guys: Pick up a racket. Get in the game,” said Healy, EMBA ’14, corporate controller of the United States Tennis Association. “It’s a social event. It’s a place that you meet really good people. It’s a place that will probably connect you to people that you might not otherwise be connected and potentially could present other opportunities for you that you’re not even thinking of.”
Consider it tennis lesson No. 1 for the Three-Continent Master of Science in Global Management (3CMGM) students, and it was taught on one of the most historic courts in the United States. That was one of the valuable insights gathered by the students during a July visit to the Queens tennis center, the site of the sport’s U.S. Open major championship.
In addition to a tour of the facilities, the students were given an overview of how the U.S. Open is marketed to both the New York area and to the world. Shannon Womack, a marketing official with the USTA, explained how the Open, which takes place across two weeks in late August, is the subject of an intense campaign that consists of advertising and events in advance and an appeal to the casual fan during the competition, based on what is happening.
For more photos of the USTA visit, click here.
An added draw this year will be Serena Williams’ attempt to win a rare calendar-year Grand Slam at the Open. Williams has already won the Australian and French opens and Wimbledon in 2015.
The students also heard from Marty Weinstein, who works with the tennis programs at the center, about the USTA’s efforts to give back to the community through summer programs and youth events. The tennis center, which is undergoing a more than $500 million renovation, is open to the public throughout the year, and courts can be rented for use, he said.
That struck Matthias Pletinckx, a native of Belgium who will graduate from the program in a month, as important.
“This is a globally-oriented organization that doesn’t want to just make profit but also wants to give something back to community,” he said.
But the complexity of the marketing program was the biggest takeaway, Pletinckx said.
“[The Open is] watched all over the world, and I like how we got to know more about how they bring this event into New York City and how they bring the New York City customers back to this event in Queens,” he said.