NEW YORK -- He's hired! Donald Trump is helping the U.S.
Tennis Association promote participation in the sport.
Trump will appear in print ads in the official U.S. Open program
and in national publications in the fall. He also taped a promo
that will be shown on video screens during the American Grand Slam
tournament starting Aug. 30.
A regular at the U.S. Open for many years, Trump did the promos
as a favor to a friend who's a former USTA board member.
The spots tout the Web site TennisWelcomeCenter.com, which
promotes more than 4,000 facilities across the country where tennis
lessons are available.
It's all part of a campaign called "Tennis. Come Out Swinging"
launched in March by the USTA and the Tennis Industry Association,
which includes manufacturers and retailers.
In his filmed promo, Trump says: "If you don't go to
TennisWelcomeCenter.com, you're fired!" -- using the catch phrase
from his hit reality TV show "The Apprentice."
Trump's print ad shows him sitting behind a desk, with a gold
tennis racket. The copy reads: "Fire Away. After a long day of
handing out pink slips there is nothing more rewarding than
grabbing a racket and heading to the courts. It's a great way to
stay fit, keep sharp and relieve stress."
Earlier print ads featured NASCAR star Jeff Gordon, boxing
champion Roy Jones Jr. and Mike Wallace of "60 Minutes" as part
of the $3 million campaign. Last year, only about $150,000 was
spent on advertising to promote tennis participation, as opposed to
"Seeing that Donald is an avid tennis player and a big fan of
the U.S. Open, it was only natural for us to approach him to appear
in the campaign," USTA executive Kurt Kamperman said. "Everyone
knows who Donald Trump is and what he is about, and to have him
promoting the benefits of tennis is priceless."