P&G, Kroger, and More: Unveiling How They Ensure the Success of Western & Southern Open

Cincinnati leaders from Warren County, Mason, and various organizations collaborated in a remarkable display of teamwork. Putting aside ego and territorial mindset, they developed a plan and persevered in the face of tremendous challenges. And their efforts paid off: the owner of the Western & Southern Open, a prestigious tennis tournament, decided to keep the event in Mason. A deal was struck between owner Ben Navarro and Warren County, ensuring that the Lindner Family Tennis Center will host the tournament for another 25 years.
This is a cause for celebration, as it represents a major victory over Charlotte, a competing city known for taking valuable assets from others. Just a few weeks ago, it seemed like the tournament was lost, but thanks to the tenacity of leaders like Warren County Commissioner Dave Young, the tables turned. Warren County, Mason, the state, Cincinnati Business Committee, REDI Cincinnati, and other stakeholders remained committed to the cause. The local and state government increased their financial pledge to upgrade the Lindner Family Tennis Center, from $50 million to potentially $130 million.
The corporate community, led by the Fortune 500 CEOs of the Cincinnati Business Committee, also contributed significantly. Companies such as Western & Southern, Procter & Gamble, American Financial Group, Kroger, and Fifth Third Bank committed a total of $10 million to sponsor the 2024 tournament. This unified front demonstrated to Navarro and the tennis community that Cincinnati was serious about preserving its 124-year-old event.
According to Young, the success of this endeavor was a true team effort. Any opposition from even one party could have derailed the entire project. An excellent example of this collaboration is Western & Southern CEO John Barrett’s decision to forego the exclusive naming rights to the tournament. This sacrifice was made to safeguard the event’s future. The new tournament name will soon be announced, with Western & Southern and the other sponsoring companies sharing in the title sponsorship.
Interestingly, Cincinnati also benefited from a fortunate turn of events. The cost of constructing a new tennis facility in Charlotte, estimated at $400 million, was deemed too expensive by Navarro and his company Beemok. Despite Beemok’s interest in building a facility in Charlotte, the escalating costs ultimately dissuaded them.
Local stakeholders had reason to believe that the tournament was destined for Charlotte as Navarro actively pursued the option after acquiring the Western & Southern Open. However, determined to save the event, Cincinnati leaders began formulating a plan in early spring. The Cincinnati Business Committee and REDI initiated joint meetings, bringing together all relevant parties. Prior to this, individual meetings had yielded no progress.
Through these collective efforts, obstacles such as the use of Sinclair Community College-owned land near the tennis center were resolved. Beemok had requested the land to build a new roadway, facilitating better access to the facility. This road was part of an original $150 million proposal to upgrade the center. Initially, there were concerns that Beemok was leaning towards Charlotte. However, thanks to the persistence of Young and other leaders, Beemok was convinced to reconsider the Cincinnati option.
A turning point was reached when Beemok witnessed the widespread support for the Western & Southern Open in August. The tournament attracted nearly 195,000 fans, a 9% increase from the previous year. Fans were impressed by the new fan zone and enhanced concessions. This, combined with the backing of Cincinnati’s corporate leaders, tipped the scales in favor of retaining the tournament.
The Western & Southern Open has always been a source of pride for John Barrett and Western & Southern. Thanks to Barrett’s efforts, fellow executives joined forces to support the cause. Losing such a world-class event, which many other cities envy, would have been a significant blow to Cincinnati’s reputation. Thankfully, these regional leaders proved their ability to rally and secure major projects and events.
In conclusion, the successful preservation of the Western & Southern Open in Mason illustrates the power of collaboration, determination, and community support. It serves as a blueprint for future endeavors, inspiring hope that Cincinnati will continue to achieve great things.
Contact columnist Jason Williams via email at [email protected].


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