IMPACT OF PILOT PEN TENNIS SIGNIFICANT FOR NEW HAVEN
(8/28/2007) New Haven Parks & Recreation Tennis Programs Surpasses 1000 Participants
NEW HAVEN- Throughout last week, New Haven has been the central focus of tennis action on a global scale. However, the 2007 Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Schick didn’t just attract tennis stars and their fans to the Elm City for a week. The annual event made a lasting impact on the New Haven community via community outreach programs, economic impact and strengthening the profile of the City nationally and internationally.
“Pilot Pen Tennis has been and continues to be an asset to New Haven as it opens doors of possibilities to our youth by offering them free tennis lessons, great role models and exposure to a sport they might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn about,” said Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. “The economic impact, world-wide attention and excitement this event brings to our City make Pilot Pen Tennis a true success for New Haven every year.”
In the area of community outreach, an incredible milestone has been reached in a collaborative relationship that began five years ago between the City of New Haven Department of Parks & Recreation, Pilot Pen Tennis and USTA New England. Affordable tennis lessons were created to introduce New Haven youth to the game of
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tennis at Edgewood Park, East Shore Park and Wilbur Cross High School. With the
1000th participant stepping on the court just last month, the Department of Parks &
Recreation tennis program has grown from 15 participants in 2003 to 1100 participants in 2007. Jason Menes, a nine-year-old from New Haven, is being celebrated as the program’s 1000th participant.
“This program is a great example of how organizations working in partnership with the city can really make a difference in the lives of young people,” said DeStefano. “Positive programming like affordable tennis lessons and the support of physical education programs in our schools makes it so that everyone in the City benefits from Pilot Pen Tennis. Our relationship with the USTA and Pilot Pen is a terrific model that we hope to build upon and replicate.”
For the last four years, every May, 400 middle school children have been introduced to the sport of tennis through Pilot Pen Tennis Free Lessons. The goal of encouraging New Haven youth to play tennis is being fully embraced by New Haven Public Schools (NHPS). This fall, 80 physical education instructors throughout NHPS will be introduced to the USTA Schools program and will then teach tennis in their spring gym classes.
The Department of Parks and Recreation tennis programs have seen great success by adding more participants each year, but it also has developed some extremely talented players. The first New Haven Junior Team Tennis team was formed this year with 12 of New Haven’s area's high school players who participated in the 18 and under league. This team finished third in the state competition in their inaugural year.
“The New Haven Parks & Recreation tennis program is just one of the many ways that Pilot Pen Tennis uses the excitement of professional tennis to inspire kids to play tennis” said Anne Worcester, Pilot Pen Tennis tournament director. “Through the Pilot Pen Tennis Free Lesson for Middle School kids each May, a clinic for Parks & Rec summer camp youth each July and activities like Kids Day and Latino Day during the tournament, we are proud to offer New Haven youth access to the sport of tennis, which is all about fun, fitness and friendship”.
The Pilot Pen Tennis tournament’s contribution to the City of New Haven stretches beyond Community Outreach programs. Each year, tennis fans around the world turn their attention to the Elm City. The Pilot Pen places New Haven in a national and international limelight throughout 20 hours of national television coverage on ESPN2 and CBS Sports as well as on international coverage in 165 different countries. In addition, media coverage by local, regional, national and international journalists is significant in both print and electronic outlets worldwide.
In terms of economic impact, the estimated economic impact on the region is approximately $50 million. In 2007, the Pilot Pen drew 95,000 spectators from 30
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different states. Following are the top five ways in which Pilot Pen Tennis collaborates with various organizations in New Haven to ensure that the tournament maximizes tourism and economic activity:
1. Travel Packages – Pilot Pen Tennis tickets are packaged with overnight stays in downtown New Haven hotels to convert tennis spectators to downtown visitors and spenders. Guests traveled to New Haven from 30 different states.
2. Mayor’s Passport to Downtown Dining – Players (and their paying guests) are invited to dine in 25 of the finest restaurants in downtown New Haven while Pilot Pen Tennis promotes these restaurants as places where the public can “dine alongside the Pros”. This year, and thanks to an ongoing partnership with the Town Green District, players enjoyed 178 visits to New Haven’s award winning restaurants. The result is that the majority of restaurateurs saw increased traffic throughout the entire week of the Pilot Pen.
3. Trolleys – For the third year in a row, and thanks to the City of New Haven, a Trolley was provided by the City to transport tennis spectators to downtown and for downtown residents, employees and guests to travel to the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. Thanks to the help of Town Green District to help promote the trolley, over 1,800 trips were made throughout the week of the Tournament, an 18% increase from 2006.
4. INFO New Haven – Pilot Pen Tennis offers space for an INFO New Haven booth in a prominent location on-site to provide spectators with information on New Haven dining, culture and shopping. This year, INFO New Haven, led by Town Green District and staffed by the GNH Convention & Visitors Bureau and the GNH Chamber of Commerce recommended and placed reservations for more than 150 visitors to downtown New Haven restaurants. In addition, over 500 welcome packets were distributed to visitors intent on visiting downtown New Haven.
5. Special Events – new this year, Pilot Pen Tennis featured three special events at the Pilot Pen which all had a New Haven connection: The Ladies Day Luncheon and Fashion Show featured twelve downtown New Haven shops and boutiques; the Wolf Blass Wine and Jazz featured jazz from the Neighborhood Music School and the Lunch with Chef Rafael Palomino featured the head chef from downtown New Haven’s Pacifico restaurant.
With exposure and community outreach increasing every year, New Haven looks forward to the success of the 2008 Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Schick.
About Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Schick
The 2008 Pilot Pen presented by Schick (www.pilotpentennis.com), a US Open Series event on the ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, will be held August 15-23 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.
The Pilot Pen is a combined men’s and women’s summer tournament leading into the US Open. Some of the biggest names in men’s and women’s tennis played in the 2007 Pilot Pen such as ATP players James Blake (defending champion), Nikolay Davydenko, Tommy Robredo, and Mardy Fish and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour players Svetlana Kuznetsova (defending women’s champion), Lindsay Davenport, Elena Dementieva and
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Daniela Hantuchova. The 2007 Pilot Pen drew more than 94,000 spectators and was televised nationally for 20 hours on ESPN2 and CBS Sports and in more than 165 countries worldwide.
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