Thousands of fans set records, spend millions during tennis tour - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Thousands of fans set records, spend millions during tennis tournament

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

As the 2015 Western & Southern Open works toward crowning champions this weekend, this year has been unlike any other in the tournament’s history.
 
In fact, the event has become a can’t miss kind of thing every summer in Mason.

"My aunt came a few days.  My cousin was here today with us.  Friends, and my two sisters were here.  We come three, four or five nights and one or two days every year,” said Becky Allf of Cincinnati.

Others, like Allf’s sister, pack up and make the trek to Cincinnati to catch the action.

"This is my second year here.  Both years that I've been here have just been the highlight of my summer,” said Jenny Ashmore from Atlanta.
 
This year, the tournament has also been the highlight of the summer for numbers of people this tournament's never seen before.

"Our attendance has been through the roof.  We've set records a number of times throughout the week.  On Thursday, we had 26,000 fans here.  That's the first time ever we've drawn that many in a single day,” said Pete Holtermann, manager of the tournament’s
media center.

Maybe it's the big names, like Roger Federer, that are the big draw for fans. 

Maybe it’s the ability to get up close and personal with those athletes, or even the family atmosphere.  Either way, tournament officials say they've sold tickets this year to people in 30 countries and all 50 states.

"It's been a steady period of growth since we got out here in 1979,” said Holtermann.

Each year since 2012, Holtermann says that growth has climbed to an estimated $62.5 million regional economic impact.  That came from a study done by the University of Cincinnati. 

That's more than Major League Baseball's $60 million projection for this year's All-Star Game

"It's really been the last five or so years, since we got both the men
and women top tier events the same week, that we've seen this explosive growth of the tournament,” Holtermann said.
 
Holtermann also told FOX19 NOW that the tournament has made donations in the sum of $9.5 million to local charities.
 
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