Western and Southern Open names new director

What: Western & Southern Open

When: August 13-21

Where: Lindner Family Tennis Center, Mason

CINCINNATI — For the last 13 years, Vince Cicero has attended the Western & Southern Masters and Women’s Open as a fan.

For this year’s event, Cicero will have one of the best seats in the house.

Cicero, 46, was named the new Tournament Director of the Western & Southern Open last Thursday and will begin his position on May 31.

“It’s very exciting to come into a spot where I get to work with a world-class event,” Cicero said. “An event that’s so visible not only in our community, but also from a national and international perspective. The best of the sport comes into Cincinnati, and it’s unique for everybody involved. That’s something to be excited about.”

Cicero has spent the last 13 years working for the Cincinnati Bengals as the Director of Corporate Sales and Marketing. Prior to that, he worked for the Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette University.

“Vince’s breadth of experience at his former position pairs nicely with our goals here at the tournament,” CEO Elaine Bruening said in a release. “The parallels are hard to deny — whether it’s launching a new world-class facility or promoting an event to a passionate and international fanbase, Vince’s knowledge will allow him to contribute immediately.”

Cicero becomes the seventh Western & Southern Open tournament director since the Open Era began in 1968. He replaces Bruce Flory, who is now a consultant for the tournament.

The 2011 event in August marks a watershed year for the tournament, the first time it will host top-tier men’s and women’s events simultaneously during the same week.

“Between last year, this year and next year, there are $20 million in capital improvements going into the event,” Cicero said. “We want to maximize the event for everybody involved, from the fans attending, to the audience watching, to the sponsors and for the players themselves. We want to keep it growing and keep enhancing it.”

Cicero will be charged with guiding many of the tournament-related operations for the event, including relations with professional tennis governing bodies, the ATP World Tour and WTA. He will oversee marketing and corporate sponsorship sales, and assist with broadcast and volunteer management.

“It was fun to come out here as a spectator,” Cicero said. “Being in the business, I’d always see how an event operates and how it all comes together. I’ve always walked away impressed here with the facility, the people, the operations. It’s an extremely well-run event.

“I’m really looking forward to finding ways to enhance a pretty spectacular event all the way around. I’m fortunate to come into a great situation.”

Cicero resides in Mason with his wife, Lisa, and their two daughters, Mary Faye and Anna.

Contact this reporter at (513) 755-5113 or smatthews@coxohio.com.

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