ABOUT THIS ENTRY
Using the power of our sport to inspire change in others, the USTA launched “Be Open” to share the stories of people, communities and causes that exemplify the spirit of being open.
How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?
Whether inspiring change, or raising money to directly support relief efforts, ‘Be Open’ initiatives made an impact. It advocates that all of us reflect on the message and legacy of the exemplars of our sport and keep our minds open to different ideas and possibilities.
The excellence to move the industry forward started in the production phase. With only a couple months from conception to execution, partners, tennis stars and celebrities alike agreed to participate in ‘Be Open’ initiatives. An initiative with that much support proves that the campaign spoke to a wide audience. The reach proves that it was able to get to those audiences and what comes next will prove that it was effective. While direct change with a campaign like this isn’t going to happen overnight, ‘Be Open’ will continue to build, evolve and grow and make a greater impact in the world.
Objective: When the 2020 US Open was set to take place, after being upended by the COVID-19 crisis, and the country in the midst of a racial reckoning, the USTA felt it would be remiss to not address these external realities. The USTA created the new social responsibility and impact campaign with the unique goal of leveraging the global platform of the US Open to acknowledge the issues surrounding this year’s unprecedented event. This was a prime opportunity for the USTA to reaffirm its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, by shining a light on urgent societal issues such as racial injustice, gender equality and LGBTQ advocacy. With the spotlight of the sports and entertainment world on the 2020 US Open, the USTA sought to draw from a long legacy of tennis athletes like Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King that have used their platform to promote change and activism off the court.
Strategy & Execution: With sports fans more from the leagues and teams they follow to be good citizens, it was important for the USTA to proudly affirm its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion at its flagship event, the 2020 US Open. By leveraging the global spotlight of our event, the USTA’s “Be Open” campaign would shine a light on these issues, amplifying voices, and inspiring change in others. The campaign was supported by a host of activations, compelling video vignettes, and virtual panel discussions, in the spirit of “being open.” Campaign highlights include:
- Video vignettes narrated by Andra Day and Billy Porter focusing on stories that highlight themes of diversity such as gender equality, racial justice and LGBTQ advocacy
- Black Lives to the Front art exhibit, featuring original artwork from 18 BIPOC artists in the empty seats of Arthur Ashe Stadium, prominently showcased throughout the tournament broadcast
- Champion to Champion video series celebrating frontline healthcare workers throughout the pandemic by US Open champions like Roger Federer and Serena Williams through Zoom videos aired nightly prior to the US Open evening session.
- Virtual Panel discussions with star athletes on gender equality and racial justice
- Various initiatives supporting USTA Foundation fundraising efforts
The goal of the campaign was to inspire others to ‘Be Open’ and connect with fans all over the world to amplify voices that otherwise have gone unheard. The video content series along with the Champion to Champion healthcare tributes and Black Lives to the Front Art Exhibit were all featured prominently throughout the worldwide broadcast of the 2020 US Open, airing in more than 200+ countries and reaching a worldwide audience of 244 million fans across the globe. The Be Open garnered significant coverage of the USTA’s social impact efforts with more than 20 million media impressions. The content resonated with fans digitally, generating more than 2.6 million social video views and nearly 70,000 social interactions. There was a charitable component to many of the campaign activations seeking to raise funds in support of the USTA Foundation and the National Junior Tennis and Learning network of chapters helping under resourced communities through tennis and education programs. In total more than $260,000 was raised between auctioning off the art displayed in the stands and player aces and targets hit throughout the tournament in support of the fundraising campaign.
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