While I’m personally excited about the Fed Cup, I’m not sure how the USTA gets cities to host a Fed Cup tie. If you’ve ever looked at a Request for Proposal for these events, municipalities have to donate an entire arena, over 150 luxury hotel room nights, 300 free downtown parking spaces and other resources for the privilege of hosting an event that had often been scheduled during and badly overshadowed by the Superbowl here in the United States. One of the worst scheduling nightmares occurred two years ago, when Worcester, Massachusetts hosted the US vs. Belarus and finished the last rubber just minutes before the local fans’ beloved New England Patriots won the coin toss in Superbowl XLVI.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently reported that Cleveland officials say “the two-day event will generate a minimum of $600,000 in economic activity to the region.”
Sounds good, right?
It does until you learn that the NFL’s Cleveland Browns average the City of Cleveland $6.3 million per home game in economic activity based on a 2007 study by that city’s tourism bureau, Positively Cleveland.
So the Fed Cup weekend brings in 10 cents on the dollar compared to a lackluster Browns-Jaguars matchup. And probably only 5 cents on the dollar for a Browns-Steelers game.
You don’t have to be Warren Buffett to realize this isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime economic investment opportunity.
It’s more about the lobbying power of one TV commentator/Fed Cup Captain who happens to live in Cleveland.
And who can put a price on that?
So it is that Cleveland, Ohio will get its Tennis Makeover for one weekend in February. The photo below shows the entrance to the Cleveland Public Auditorium. Other cities hosting Fed Cup ties in February have names like Aegon Arena, Stade Pierre de Coubertin and Centro de Tenis Blas Infante. So not only does it look like a place where you would walk in and receive five years probation from a Federal Judge, even the name sounds like a penal institution. Public Auditorium reminds me of Public Sanitarium.
Don’t despair, Cleveland! You’re do in makeup in five minutes.
And throw a little lipstick around the inside, too. This ticket booth looks so much more elegant now that the beautiful ceiling is obscured.
The USTA claims they want to showcase the host cities of these events. So why do their contractors feel the need to hide the downtown skyline from the players as they enjoy a meal in the dining room?
Stickers can only do so much for you when you play dress-up. So I will be very impressed if the USTA’s henchmen are able to pull off the hospitality suite makeover, as they plan to do here, complete with a gravity-defying tennis ball statue. Double time, boys!
And the designer who had the creative vision to put the ball in the middle of the floor, I applaud you. I see a beautiful tile floor. You see a ball in that floor.
Now that we’re down on court, all I can say is, “Welcome to the Bar Mitzvah!”.
This looks like a place where Morrissey would play, if only Morrissey WOULD play here. (In fairness, Elvis and the Beatles did post at the Public Sanitarium.)
Nothing the shrink-wrap crew can’t disguise. Here’s the original and here’s a little powder on that:
So, American municipalities, shining cities on a hill, empty your coffers and step up to Celebrity Makeover, where for one weekend a decade you can play Tennis Town Beauty Queen!
Aside from the Public Auditorium, Cleveland is a wonderful city and an attractive one, too.
I hope it translates through the corporate girdle.
(All photos from Corporate Communications, Inc.)