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Davis Cup brings fans, money, attention to the Beaverton area



TIMES PHOTO: MILES VANCE - The stadium built by the United States Tennis Association for the Davis Cup's first day in Beaverton at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center was nearly filled on Friday. The ball is tossed skyward.

The tennis racket sweeps forward at speed.

The ball is struck.

But what happens next? Is it an ace, a fault, a whiff or something in between?

Following the Davis Cup event at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, that same question is worth asking about Beaverton.

With the city hosting one of the highest-profile events in professional tennis for the first time, how did it go? Ace, fault, whiff or tweener?

According to all the parties that brought the event — officially known as the World Group Quarterfinal — to Beaverton, the result was the planning-and-execution equivalent of a 135-mph John Isner ace.

“It was a fabulously successful event,” said Drew Mahalic, chief executive officer of the Oregon Sports Authority, one of the groups that helped bring the Davis Cup to Beaverton. “The weather cooperated, the city of Beaverton and Tualatin Hills (Park & Recreation District) were terrific. … I couldn't be more ecstatic.”

“We consider it to be a major success,” said Bob Wayt, director of communications & outreach for THPRD. “We heard over and over again about the impressive facility and the friendly people of the community who made the spectators feel welcome.”

TIMES PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Fans of the United States team show their true colors at Tualatin Hills Tennis Center on the first day of the Davis Cup quarterfinals in Beaverton on Friday.

In the money

The Davis Cup wasn't just good for tennis fans — it was good for area businesses, too.

According to Carolyn McCormick, president and chief executive officer of the Washington County Visitors Association — which donated $12,500 to help make the event possible — at the very least, the Davis Cup was responsible for filling more than 100 area hotel rooms for each of the quarterfinal's three days.

"We probably packed at least 325 hotel rooms for sure and potentially a lot more than that," McCormick said.

"It was essentially a sellout all three days," added Oregon Sports Authority CEO Drew Mahalic. "Hotels in Washington County and Portland were filled."

Beyond just the hotel fees, local restaurants and shops also benefited from the influx of tennis fans, as did car rental businesses, taxi services and many others.

Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle agreed wholeheartedly.

“It was even better than we'd hoped for,” Doyle said. “There was a lot of recognition for the city and the park district … and the (United States Tennis Association) was really candid about how well they were treated.

Over the duration of the USTA's presence in Beaverton — with help from its various partners — it accomplished the following:

— It built a 5,000-seat temporary stadium around the Larry Hardin Stadium Court at Tualatin Hills in just over two weeks;

— It welcomed approximately 1,200 tennis enthusiasts to Tualatin Hills Tennis Center for the Family Fun Fair on July 11;

— It brought together two of the world's top eight Davis Cup teams for the quarterfinal competition (Croatia beat the United States team 3-2);

— It successfully managed traffic and parking at Tualatin Hills on a weekend that also included more than 200 youth soccer teams on site for the adidas Beaverton Cup tournament;

— It showed off Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, the Howard M. Terpenning Center, Beaverton and Northwest Oregon on the Tennis Channel, which is beamed into about 50 million homes around the world;

— According to Jeff Ryan, senior director, Team Events for the USTA, it also brought to Beaverton nearly 14,000 spectators, the tournament averaging 4,488 fans per day for each of its three days at Tualatin Hills.

Those various successes left the USTA extremely satisfied with the venture and venue, too.

U.S. Davis Cup Captain Jim Courier “came up to me (Sunday) evening after a tough loss and thanked me for providing exactly what he had asked for,” Ryan said. “From the captain on down, everyone was extremely happy.”

As great as it all turned out, there were certainly no guarantees that it would. Tualatin Hills General Manager Doug Menke helped lead construction of the stadium court back in 2005, planning even then for the eventuality of a Davis Cup event coming to town. But until last week, it was only a well-formed idea with a lot of support and planning behind it.

“It was obvious that a lot of people who built (the stadium court) … had the idea that we could host something like this,” said Mahalic. But “there were a lot of unknowns when we made this bid and (the USTA) chose Tualatin Hills. Then it became, could they build the stadium in time, parking was an issue and they had a major soccer tournament going on at the same time. But it was one of those events that just went off well.”

Thanks to planning and coordination between THPRD and Beaverton police, they were able to mitigate parking and traffic concerns at the site, opening up softball fields at the Terpenning Center for parking and working with Beaverton police and Washington County sheriff's deputies to control traffic along Walker Road and Southwest 157th Avenue.

“A lot of people walked, came in a lot of different ways, and the Washington County deputies and Beaverton police were great,” Doyle said. “There were no traffic snarls. They worked together like a great team.”

For all their efforts, Tualatin Hills, Oregon Sports Authority, the Washington County Visitors Association and the city of Beaverton got payback of the best kind — positive exposure and notice for the Beaverton area.

The tournament “also has an impact we couldn't ever pay for — this was aired on the Tennis Channel and we had a 30-second TV spot run throughout which really gave us some awareness,” said Carolyn McCormick, president and CEO of the Washington County Visitors Association. “The commentators stay in the area so they talk about the area and that helps build the brand.”

“This should showcase us and what we're about,” Doyle said. “We showed off the best of Oregon and tried to bring the country's attention to why this is such a good state.”

"The people who traveled to the Davis Cup saw all that Tualatin Hills has to offer," Mahalic said. "It was such a victory."

For Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation Department, the success of the event marked the culmination of years of planning and hope.

“It was exciting to host an event of this magnitude, one with millions of international TV viewers,” Wayt said. “It put Beaverton and THPRD on the sports world map.”

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