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USTA cuts jobs, closes New York office amid pandemic
3:51 PM ET

  • Peter BodoESPN.com Staff Writer
The United States Tennis Association, facing the same bleak financial landscape as fellow Grand Slam organizers, announced Monday a comprehensive reorganization program that eliminated 110 jobs -- reducing the national staff by about 20% -- and will result in the closure of the organization's office in White Plains, New York.

At the same time, the USTA is trying to ensure that its flagship event, the US Open (scheduled to start Aug. 24), will be played, albeit without spectators and under strict protocols demanded by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, the USTA called the restructuring a "transformational plan" that better serves the not-for-profit organization's mission to promote the growth of tennis, as well as protects the association from the long-range negative effects of the pandemic.
"We have an opportunity to reimagine the structure of the organization to better serve the tennis community in the United States," Michael Dowse, USTA chief executive officer and executive director, said in a statement. "This new structure allows the USTA to be more agile and more cost effective."

The USTA staff in White Plains and at the national campus in Orlando, Florida, were informed of the reorganization in a video call Monday morning. But about a week ago, the USTA sent offers of "voluntary departure" packages to scores of employees 50 years of age or older who had put in 15 years or more with the organization. According to sources at the USTA, those employees were offered 40 weeks of severance pay and health insurance over that period. Those who turned down the offer were not guaranteed that their positions would remain.

The reorganization had been in the works since 2018, when the USTA board of directors launched a process that ultimately produced a "strategic plan" that, according to Patrick Galbraith, USTA chairman of the board and president, was "designed to bolster the organization's mission and provide continuity of planning through 2026." However, the implementation of that plan was sped up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dowse was brought in to succeed Gordon Smith as the USTA CEO specifically to oversee this transition. The organization's commitment to a $20 million relief package to help grassroots and tennis facility operators, along with anticipated losses from a COVID-compromised US Open, fueled the urgency of the shake-up.

The USTA identified more than $20 million in savings to be had by, among other things, reducing salaries at the management level, furloughing employees and canceling the USTA annual and semi-annual meetings. The association also is eliminating select programs in marketing, player development and operations, and deferring all non-essential capital projects.

The USTA also said that while streaming costs and helping stakeholders navigate the challenges created by the pandemic were top-of-the-list items, its commitment to the US Open and other USTA-produced events will remain at "a world-class level."

The downsizing calls for a phased closing of the White Plains office, with the remaining staff relocating to a still-undetermined location in New York. Some programs that will be reduced but not eliminated, such as the player development unit that oversees the training of blue-chip prospects, will be folded into an expanded community tennis division that was hit hard by the layoffs.

"Unfortunately, today represents a challenging day for many of the USTA family who have been negatively affected by the downsizing of the organization," Dowse said.
 

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Thanks Joe H.

Unfortunately US Tennis is probably #15 in popularity in the US and probably barely making it by in the grand scope of all sports.

One thing other people have to understand that USTA is also funded the US Public. As in people pay fees and costs , etc. to play in local leagues and tournaments. USTA has basically shut down since 03/2020 or something like that and is really hurting with all the revenue , income, sponsorship , etc.

I'm sure that disaster insurance would come in real handy for USTA , but that's not going to happen.
 

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If I were USTA, i’d seriously consider the “flagship” USO b held in CA or FLA where it not only may b safer (even permitting certain % of fan attendance) but more appreciated as well.
 

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This pandemic or plannedemic is inflicting severe and possibly irreparable damage to the sport of tennis. Will tennis fans be able to afford tickets to live events, to continue to consume tennis attire and gear, to pay club membership dues? Will sponsors continue to spend money on supporting ATP and WTA events? How many pro tournaments will bite the dust? Worrying times for the sport. Players may need to endure massive prize money cuts.
 

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This pandemic or plannedemic is inflicting severe and possibly irreparable damage to the sport of tennis. Will tennis fans be able to afford tickets to live events, to continue to consume tennis attire and gear, to pay club membership dues? Will sponsors continue to spend money on supporting ATP and WTA events? How many pro tournaments will bite the dust? Worrying times for the sport. Players may need to endure massive prize money cuts.
Good observation which is missing on MTF. Just hoping all sports fans have put away enough discretionary income to support their respective sport.
 
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