Storming Times Square: Tennis Stars Janko Tipsarevic and Sam Stosur Meet Massive Oakley Store Crowd and Media for US Open Celebration
Armageddon was descending upon New York City. Or so it seemed.
In the midst of sprawling metropolis’ first major shutdown of the entire public transit system (MTA) – in anticipation of Hurricane Irene – the city was in an eerie state of calm. But peering into Times Square, the cameras of the nationally prominent Dateline NBC program were curiously zoomed in at one location. One slammed location – filled with people.
Tennis fans from across the globe, in town for the start of the US Open scheduled to start just a couple days later, packed the impressively placed Oakley Store for the scheduled “Hang with the Pros” event – set to feature ATP (Men’s) World Top 20 Ranked Janko Tipsarevic, WTA (Women’s) World No. 9 Sam Stosur and ATP World Doubles No. 1 Duo, the Bryan Brothers. And the media took notice.
The fan-centered gathering, originally designed as a full presentation – complete with an MC from the Tennis Media, a DJ and a full run-of-show – was nearly cancelled, as NYC was supposed to be a ghost town with the evacuations, lack of transportation and the coming storm.
But the global prominence of the sport was displayed all throughout the day, as fans consistently inquired about the athlete appearance and the likelihood that it would go on. And although it was downgraded to an athlete signing and media interview gathering, it went on…big time.
6 p.m. hit Times Square – and the athletes arrived to a shockingly vibrant atmosphere. Entering the store to the sound of clicking fan cameras and visible excitement from admirers, the global stars began signing autographs and taking pictures for a crowd filled with sports fans of all ages and from countries far and wide.
ATP World Tour executives/staff and WTA personalities filed in shortly after, collecting video content for league TV broadcasts and enjoying the scenery of some of their top players stirring a buzz in Times Square. So much of buzz, in fact, that the mainstream media couldn’t help but notice.
With Tennis-focused magazines on hand to cover the event and interview athletes, the NBC cameras took a more broad view of the scene – weaving in the fact that the Oakley store was likely the liveliest location in the city at a time of emergency with the “Hurricane” approaching.
With refreshments being served, Oakley backpacks filled with tennis and Oakley gear being handed out to fans that answered athlete trivia questions correctly – and a consistent flow of people flooding the store – it was truly an unbelievable site in the middle of a town that was effectively in slumber.
Just as the rain began to fall more heavily as the outer rings of the storm began to touch down on NYC, the event ended with mobs of fans, athletes, tennis industry personalities and Oakley folks all stoked on one heck of a kick off for the US Open.