June 8, 2020 / 9:32 PM / 2 months ago

USTA cuts 110 jobs due to COVID-19 fallout

(Reuters) - The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said on Monday it will eliminate 110 jobs and close its White Plains, New York office as part of belt-tightening measures brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The USTA said in a statement the measures were necessary to combat the negative long-reaching financial effects of the pandemic and ensure that it’s flagship tournament the U.S. Open will remain a world-class level event.

The novel coronavirus outbreak has left the professional tennis calendar in tatters.

Wimbledon has been cancelled and the French Open rescheduled while the U.S. Open has, for the moment, retained its place on the calendar and is scheduled to start on Aug. 24.

“We have an opportunity to re-imagine the structure of the organisation to better serve the tennis community in the United States,” said USTA Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Michael Dowse.

“This new structure allows the USTA to be more agile and more cost effective, while getting closer to tennis players at the local level.

“Unfortunately, today represents a challenging day for many of the USTA family who have been negatively affected by the downsizing of the organisation, and I would like to sincerely thank each USTA staff member for their dedication to the organisation.”

USTA identified more than $20 million in savings by instituting management salary reductions and furloughing approximately 100 employees.

USTA’s annual and semi-annual meetings have been cancelled, programmes in marketing, player development and operations eliminated and all non-essential capital projects deferred.

There will also be significant reductions in meeting and travel expenses for the years 2021-2023 with the USTA hosting only one live attended meeting each year for its volunteers and staff.

With the closing of the While Plains office any remaining staff will be re-located to a yet to be determined location in New York.

The USTA had in 2018 embarked on a project to restructure the organisation but the process has been accelerated by the pandemic.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Christian Radnedge

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