York’s profile high at Rogers Cup tennis tournament

From York Day to the York U50 logos visible on international TV screens, York University had a high profile at the just-completed Rogers Cup tennis tournament.

The York flag flew atop the Rexall Centre at York University, where on Tuesday evening, Aug. 18, York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri received a replica of the Rogers Cup trophy as part of Tennis Canada ceremonies honouring York’s 50th anniversary. He was also given a tennis racket with “50” emblazoned on the strings. 

Above: Tennis Canada Chief Operating Officer Derek Strang (left), York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri and Tennis Canada Chairman Tony Eames at Rogers Cup ceremony honouring York’s 50th anniversary. Photo: Ron Turenne – Getty Images

Stadium announcer Don Goodwin noted that Tennis Canada first brought the annual tournament to York in 1976, at a stadium in the northeast corner of the Keele campus. Five years ago, the tournament moved to the new Rexall Centre, a top-class facility modelled on other major facilities that host the world men’s and women’s tennis tours. The men’s and women’s Rogers Cup tournaments swap between Toronto and Montreal each year, forming what was long known as the Canadian Open, the world’s third oldest tournament after Wimbledon and the US Open.

“We are proud to call York University our home,” Goodwin told the crowd at Tuesday’s ceremony.

Tennis star Kim Clijsters of Belgium, a former world No. 1, signed three tennis balls carrying long streamers in honour of York’s 50th anniversary and whacked them into the crowd. Those catching them won prizes.

Tuesday was also York Alumni Night, for which over 500 alumni turned out, enjoying discounted tickets and, for those who wished, a special pre-match barbecue at the Rexall Centre’s Coronaville Patio. This year’s surprise celebrity guests were rising tennis sisters Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine. Earlier in the day, Kateryna had sent home world No. 3 Venus Williams.

Right: View from the patio on Alumni Night

For the duration of the tournament, York’s U50 logo was visible in two spots across the top line of the stadium and at two more at player level, where they could be seen during play on the TV feed that went to CBC and TSN in Canada along with their French-language counterparts, plus ESPN and the Tennis Channel in the US and the Eurosport satellite and cable network, available in 59 countries. Television commentators also commonly referred to York while covering the tournament.

In addition, Canadian television ran 30-second video spots promoting York during their broadcasts. The stadium video board and the Rexall Centre closed-circuit TV system also ran 30-second spots promoting York.

                  York’s 30-second video spot, produced by students in association with
                  OMNI television

More York signage was dotted through the Rexall Centre complex. There were also York ads in the Rogers Cup program, as well as an adapted reprint of Shoukri’s Leading Edge column from the February 2009 special 50th-anniversary issue of YorkU magazine and a story on York’s Spring Convocation in June, held at the Centre of Excellence within the complex.

"Tennis Canada really excelled themselves this year in helping York promote its 50th anniversary,” said York Chief Marketing Officer Richard Fisher. “We are very appreciative of their continuing support of York."