50th Anniversary of Equal Prize Money at the US Open | 6th Hashtag Sports Awards

50th Anniversary of Equal Prize Money at the US Open


The 6th Annual Awards

Winner trophy-icon-silver
  • Best Integrated Campaign


In 1973, the US Open made history by providing equal prize money to both male and female competitors. This year marked the 50th anniversary of this milestone, celebrated through a comprehensive campaign honoring a half-century of equity at America's Grand Slam. The campaign spotlighted Billie Jean King, the iconic champion who led the charge for a level playing field. Launched on March 14th (Equal Pay Day in the US), the campaign spanned nine months, coinciding with the 2023 US Open and beyond. It featured significant events and a multimedia campaign across linear, digital, and social media. The 2023 US Open theme art, created by Brazilian artist Camila Pinheiro, offered a contemporary spin on King's image, embodying the power and excitement of the tournament. This artwork was integrated into various promotional aspects, including broadcasts, merchandise, advertising, and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center grounds.


How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

The 50th anniversary campaign celebrating equal prize money at the US Open exemplified excellence in engagement by establishing pioneering benchmarks for fan interaction. The campaign set new standards by seamlessly blending historical significance with contemporary storytelling, creating a dynamic narrative that transcended traditional boundaries. By fostering inclusivity and authenticity, the campaign not only celebrated the past but also inspired a forward-thinking vision for the industry. It encourages a shift toward more meaningful, inclusive, and innovative approaches to fan engagement, establishing a benchmark that challenges the industry to embrace dynamic narratives and drive positive change. The campaign's success lies in its ability to not just commemorate history but to actively engage and inspire fans toward a more equitable and inclusive future in sports.


The first objective was to generate awareness around the importance of pay equity and the US Open’s leadership in this space while driving engagement for fans and sponsors. The campaign also aimed to convene a movement through telling the story of the past and galvanizing voices of the future and to make an impact, igniting lasting change and progress. Lastly, the US Open took the lead in driving the effort to rightfully honor Billie Jean King with the well-deserved Congressional Gold Medal, which would mark a historic milestone in sports equality through her being the first female athlete to receive.

Strategy & Execution

The USTA orchestrated an innovative nine-month campaign, marking the 50th anniversary of equal prize money at the US Open. Launched on National Equal Pay Day, the campaign celebrated five decades of equity, paying homage to Billie Jean King. The 2023 US Open theme art, a vibrant symbol of the campaign, came to life on opening night, engaging fans. Collaborating with the Women’s Sports Foundation, the USTA supported King's pursuit of the congressional gold medal. From compelling video releases to impactful Champions of Equality events honoring future trailblazers, each facet unfolded layers of significance. An insightful essay series and the impactful Equality Spot enriched the narrative, while the 'Equal Play' podcast fostered meaningful discussions. Notably, the Open seamlessly integrated the 50th-anniversary campaign, weaving a compelling story of equity and recognition throughout its entirety, creating a memorable journey of celebration and progress.


  • USTA
  • Boomshot Productions
  • Overland Productions
  • VanWagner


Nicole Kankam
Managing Director of Pro Tennis Marketing & Foundation
United States Tennis Association

Nicole Munroe
Director of Pro Tennis Marketing & Content
United States Tennis Association

Carrie Ehorn
Sr. Manager Pro Tennis Marketing
United States Tennis Association

Celebrate in NYC

Join us for the 6th Annual Hashtag Sports Awards™ on the evening of June 6, 2024 as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.