For the next three years, The Mobile Tennis Center will host the world’s largest tennis tournament, the Southern Sectional 18 & Over and 40 & Over Championships.
The tournament, which consists of eight days of play with 2,000 players, will have an estimated total economic impact in the Mobile area of $13.2 million a year or nearly $40 million for the three-year contract.
“It’s an honor to play host to this prestigious tournament,” Council President Gina Gregory said. “This would not have been possible without the amazing effort by Scott Novak and his team at the Tennis Center, the City and County, Visit Mobile, Mobile Sports Authority, and of course, the United States Tennis Association.”
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) awarded the bid for the three-year commitment to the Mobile Tennis Center as a result of a collaborative effort by the city, county and these other organizations. The USTA cited the team effort by the local organizations as a leading factor in awarding the contract.
“We are thrilled to be coming back to the City of Mobile and this beautiful facility,” Chris Walling, director of adult tennis and HR for USTA Southern Section. “Scott Novak and the City of Mobile do an amazing job for our players in providing an exemplary tournament experience, and Mobile has quickly become a player-favorite spot for our league championships. His team have proven to us many times in the past that they will take care of the details and create a great championship for the USTA Southern Section.”
The USTA Southern Section consists of players from nine states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.
“It is a privilege to host talented players from across the region at our Mobile Tennis Center, and a credit to our local team for bringing this outstanding event to our city,” Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “We are born to celebrate great tennis!”
The Mobile Tennis Center, which opened in 1958, has been home to countless USTA Southern and National tournaments. The Center’s facility includes 60 courts at the Mobile Tennis Center, 10 Courts at Medal of Honor Park, and 5 courts at Lyons Park. With 60 courts, the Mobile Tennis Center is still recognized as the World’s Largest Municipal Facility.
“Mobile County residents already appreciate the world-class tennis facilities we have at the Mobile Tennis Center, the Lyons Park Tennis Center and the Cottage Hill Tennis Center,” County Commissioner Connie Hudson said. “We are proud to share these great facilities and to welcome players from throughout the South.”
Economist Dr. Phil Forbus said, as part of the estimated overall economic impact of $13.2 million per year, the tournament is estimated to generate $722,636 in city tax revenue and $153,247 in county revenue. A full economic impact study is set to be released in March.
“Mobile is proud to host the Southern Sectional Tennis Tournament, Commissioner Merceria Ludgood said. “The hard work of the Mobile Sports Authority and the Tennis Center to bring the tournament to Mobile is a real ace for our county.”
Commissioner Jerry Carl added that “Mobile County is where it’s at for sports. The Dollar General Bowl, the Senior Bowl, this tennis tournament all go to show Mobile is the grand slam of locations for sports.”
The tournament this year is slated for July 21-30th and subsequent time periods in 2018 and 2019.