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USTA faces accusations over US Open site rent

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer has said that the United States Tennis Association (USTA) owes the city more than $311,000 (£253,000/€280,000) in back rent for use of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the host venue for the US Open.

Stringer’s office said the USTA has under-reported at least $31m in revenue generated by the venue between 2014 and 2017.

A percentage of the gross revenues generated by the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center must be included in the USTA’s rent to New York City’s Parks Department, and Stringer believes the city is owed $311,000.

“Any corporate entity leasing land from the city must pay its fair share of rent – no ifs, ands or buts about it,” Stringer said, according to the Associated Press news agency.

The USTA stated that it has already paid 40 per cent of the figure claimed, but disputed the remaining 60 per cent. The National Tennis Center’s chief operating officer Danny Zausner said: “We just don’t agree with their findings on the other 60 per cent.”

Zausner also pointed to the US Open’s impact on the local economy as a major positive for New York. “We generate more in impact on an annual basis from our three-week event than all the other sports properties in the city do combined.”

The AP added that Stringer is pushing to renegotiate the current lease agreement with the USTA so the city can assess what it is owed. The USTA feels it does not need to renegotiate the lease.

Last year saw the official opening of the new-look, 14,069-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium (pictured), with the venue representing the final part of a decade-long overhaul of facilities at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The 2019 US Open got underway yesterday (Monday) and runs until September 8.

Image: Rossetti