by Keith Barber


The inaugural Winston-Salem Open ATP tennis tournament being held at Wake Forest University this week will enjoy an international television audience and draw thousands of tennis fans to the Piedmont Triad, which equals a “great value” to the local economy, said Richard Geiger, president of Visit Winston-Salem. “There will be close to 2,000 hotel rooms used by out-of-town guests, and we know ticket sales are going well.”

Geiger said television coverage of the event is being broadcast to more than 160 countries on CBS, ESPN2 and Tennis Channel.

“There’s direct spending, which includes people staying in local hotels and eating in local restaurants, but having the name of the event — the Winston-Salem Open — is great branding for the city,” Geiger said.

Tournament chair Don Flow said when the ATP tournament in New Haven, Conn., became available last December, local business leaders worked closely with Wake Forest to acquire the tournament and put an outstanding first-year event.

“The tournament belongs to the community,” Flow said, adding that the tournament should have a significant positive impact on the local economy, and the 14 hours of tennis coverage on three networks will help raise the profile of the Twin City around the world.

“We have the best player pool of any tournament of our size in the United States this year,” Flow said. “All the major sponsors agreed that the Winston-Salem name will be up front and prominent and that will be broadcast all over the world.”