U.S. Open ticket prices surge ahead of Serena Williams’ final tournament


Serena Williams reacts during a post-match ceremony after losing to Belinda Bencic of Switzerland on Day 5 of the National Bank Open, part of the Hologic WTA Tour, at Sobeys Stadium on August 10, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario.

Robert Prange | Getty Images

As Serena Williams prepares for her last U.S. Open before retirement, tickets to see the tennis legend play are in high demand.

The U.S. Tennis Association sold over 16,500 tickets alone on Aug. 9, when the tennis champion announced her upcoming retirement, according to the organization — more tickets sold than the previous seven days combined. The tournament kicks off Monday, Aug. 29.

“We are now basically sold out for Monday (Opening night), Tuesday and Wednesday nights,” a USTA spokesperson told CNBC.

The USTA would not disclose financial projections for the famed Queens tennis tournament, and Williams’ announcement came so close to the start of the tournament that it’s unlikely her retirement would have brought in additional sponsorships, which are usually set well in advance.

Secondary ticket reseller site Stubhub said daily average sales in dollars have more than doubled and the number of tickets sold per day has more than tripled. The popular ticket site said it has seen a 40% jump in sales since Williams’ announcement.

“U.S. Open demand continues to pick up as we approach one week out from the start of first-round action. We encourage fans to get tickets now if they want to go, since legends like Rafael Nadal or Serena Williams advancing in play can have a big effect on demand,” said Adam Budelli, a spokesperson for StubHub.

On ticketing website TicketIQ, US Open prices are up 34% since Williams’ retirement announcement. Prices for this year’s Women’s Final have also surged in recent days, with the average price jumping as high as $1,289.

“The $1,289 list price is also the most expensive Women’s Final we’ve ever tracked, 37% higher than the previous most expensive, the 2019 Final, which was also the last time Serena made the U.S. Open Final,” TicketIQ said.

“Despite odds makers putting Serena as just the 13th most likely woman to win the 2022 US Open, ticket sellers are pricing the finals as if she’ll be there,” TicketIQ CEO Jesse Lawrence told CNBC.

Williams has won the U.S. Open six times in her career, the most recent win coming in 2014. She’s coming off a tough loss to Britain’s Emma Raducanu in the opening round of the Western & Southern Open, a Women’s Tennis Association event in Mason, Ohio.

“I don’t know if I will be ready to win New York. But I’m going to try,” Williams wrote about the tournament in the Vogue magazine piece announcing her retirement.

The tennis icon turns 41 next month and says she’s ready to focus on growing her family after decades of focusing on tennis. She is married to Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian and has a 5-year-old daughter, Olympia.

During her prolific career, Williams has won 23 grand slam titles, the second most of all time, behind Margaret Cour, and over $94 million in career winnings, twice as much as any other female athlete. She’s also been instrumental in bringing African Americans and girls into the sport.

Forbes estimates the tennis star’s net worth at around $260 million.

“I started playing tennis with the goal of winning the U.S. Open. I didn’t think past that. And then I just kept winning,” she wrote in Vogue.

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