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IBM and USTA Serve Up a Fan's-Eye-View on the 'Net for 1998 U.S. Open Tennis Championships


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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y - 19 Aug 1998: -- The official Web site of the 1998 U.S. Open, powered by IBM and now live at www.usopen.org, provides millions of tennis fans around the world with the hottest ticket in town -- a front row seat to the U.S. Open tennis championships. Whether they're seeking the latest scores, searching for a tournament souvenir, news or views, tennis fans can hit the 'Net at www.usopen.org for the most comprehensive 1998 U.S. Open information on the Web.

This year, http://www.usopen.org will feature added and enhanced interactive components to bring fans closer to the action. These include: chat sessions and forums; a player postcard section; an enhanced Java scoreboard, daily United States Tennis Association (USTA) NetPolls and a user-controlled "OpenCam" Web camera.

For the fourth consecutive year, the USTA and IBM are collaborating to produce the official U.S. Open Web site. This site is expected to be more popular than the recent IBM powered official 1998 Wimbledon Web site, which recorded over 224 million server hits and over 106 million page views in June this year and set a record for Grand Slam tennis Web sites.

U.S. Open action begins on the official Web site Wednesday, August 26, at 10:30 A.M. (EDT) when tennis fans from around the world will be able to follow a real-time Webcast of the 1998 U.S. Open Draw Ceremony from the USTA National Tennis Center. Fans will be able to log-on to the official site to view a live video feed and join live chat sessions which will run from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The official draw will be posted on http://www.usopen.org immediately following the placement of all seeds.

www.usopen.org highlights include:

"The U.S. Open is one of the most exciting annual sporting events in the world and our technology partner, IBM, plays a vital role in enhancing the fans' experience both at the USTA National Tennis Center and on a global basis," said USTA Director of Sales and Marketing Pierce O'Neil. "The official U.S. Open Web site will provide fans everywhere with a dynamic, interactive way to immerse themselves in the action at the tournament."

"The U.S. Open Web site has quickly evolved into the interactive realm where fans can not only see real-time results and statistics but also choose what they want to see, when they want to see it and purchase merchandise," said Tom Burke, sports marketing manager at IBM.
"Our partnership with the USTA is a perfect example of how IBM's e-business solutions are helping a client service the needs of key customers -- in their case, tennis enthusiasts worldwide."

The official 1998 U.S. Open Web site was designed, hosted and powered by IBM for the USTA. www.usopen.org was designed and developed by IBM's interactive media center in Atlanta in conjunction with the USTA Communication and Marketing departments. Hosted on the IBM Global Network, the site runs on IBM RS/6000 SPs using Lotus Notes client and Lotus Domino server software, the same winning combination that powered the official Web site of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games to world records for a sporting event on the Internet.

Editors note:

Founded in 1881, the United States Tennis Association is a not-for-profit volunteer organization with 500,000 individual members and more than 6,000 organizational members. As the official governing body for tennis in America, the USTA uses its $155 million annual budget to train and encourage tennis players of all ages and skill levels. The USTA presents the U.S. Open and sponsors teams for Davis Cup, Fed Cup and the Olympic Games.

IBM, as official information technology and Internet supplier of the 1998 U.S. Open, provides the equipment and services for results and statistics collection; supplies information and graphics to television broadcasters and media; and distributes tournament data through information stations located around the USTA National Tennis Center. As an extension of this information processing system, IBM has installed the programming interface, equipment and networking infrastructure which allows this and other information to be transferred to the official 1998 U.S. Open Web server, thus making it accessible to the world through the Internet.

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* IBM, IBM Global Network and RS/6000 are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation.

** Lotus, Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino are registered trademarks of Lotus Development Corporation.

** Java is a registered trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries.

** The OpenCam feature of the official US Open Web site used Interactive Telepresence software, developed by Perceptual Robotics, Inc.

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