One of New York’s premiere sporting events, the US Open forces tennis fans to contend with massive corporate sponsors and deep-pocketed enthusiasts snapping up the best seats. But demand appears to be down and the 2014 Open has far more available tickets on the market than years past, says Arman Motiwalla, CEO of One Concierge event and travel services.
“It’s a good year for fans to hunt for tickets,” says Motiwalla.
The larger ticket inventory — from both TicketMaster and resellers— means few events will truly sell out, leading to a golden opportunity for tennis who aren’t afraid to sweat it out: Wait until the day of an event and watch online prices drop drastically.
Here’s more advice for every fan on any budget:
Sit in Arthur Ashe Stadium for $10
Yes, the grounds admission day pass is a great deal at $67. Available for the first eight days, the tournament’s lowest-price ticket gives you first-come-first-serve seating for all matches (usually 40 or more) outside of Arthur Ashe Stadium — that’s Louis Armstrong Stadium, the Grandstand, and 14 outer courts. However, you can usually find upper-level Arthur Ashe daytime session tickets for about $10 more (sometimes less). Now you’ve got a seat for early big-name matches plus the other courts to enjoy at your leisure.
Get the Most Match for Your Ticket
The opening week hits its peak at 80 matches of second-round play on Thursday the 28th. Part of the fun of the Open’s first week is the hunt for great matches. The main courts will still be filled with marquee stars winning straight sets, but the outer courts will be packed with competitive matches of mid-ranked pros fighting to move on.
The Undervalued Round: Quarterfinals
While the Labor Day weekend and finals tickets are the toughest to buy, the second week’s quarterfinals on Tuesday, Wednesday, and especially Thursday, are relatively easy to buy says, Tim Curry, USTA director of communications. What’s more, they might hold the best match of the tournament. Curry points to one of the Open’s most memorable matches of all time: 2001’s Agassi versus Sampras. The instant classic was played on a Wednesday evening.
Walk Up on Finals Sunday
The US Open will sell $25 grounds tickets at the gate on Sunday, September 7. You won’t have a seat for the day’s women’s final or men’s doubles final, but you can watch from big screens on the grounds and enjoy the rest of the festivities. The better part of this deal is general admission seats for the men’s and women’s junior finals — and maybe gaining I-saw-them-when bragging rights on a future star.
For Groups, Get a Room
If you’re searching for great seats in large numbers, the 20-person suites at Arthur Ashe Stadium might be your best option. The remaining suites are held by resellers and may cost $90,000 for the final days, but some early sessions have dipped as low as $5,000. They include two hosts to see to your needs and three VIP parking passes and optional catering.
Meet the Talent
Maybe the ultimate add-on for a ticket package, a service like Motiwalla’s One Concierge can arrange post-match meet-and-greet sessions with the athletes. For 30 minutes, a humble pro that enjoys their fans might charge $6,000, while a bigger name, like a Serena Williams, could run as high as $20,000 if they’re only padding their bank account.
Get Served or Keep it Simple
If you’re looking for VIP treatment over lunch, a ticket concierge service can also gain you access to hospitality buffets and food service to your seat (starts around $100). Otherwise, avoid the $10 US Open Club pass, which gains you access to eponymous restaurant — it offers nothing special beyond air conditioning — and stick to the no-entry-fee food.