Former US Open doubles champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands testing out the Snapchat Spectacles on her way to the 2017 tournament.

Published: August 24th, 2017

It’s no secret that tennis is a traditional, old-school sport, but in recent years, it’s made moves to adopt innovative technologies as a way of modernizing.

At the 2017 US Open, for example, which runs from Aug. 28 to Sept. 10 in New York, Snapchat Spectacles will be sold throughout the tournament via minion-looking vending machines called Snapbots.

Snapchat Spectacles are camera-enabled sunglasses that can capture HD pictures and video from an optical vantage point at the touch of a button (located on the side of the frame), which can then be instantly shared on Snapchat. They come in three colours (black, coral, and teal), and are UV protected. Retailing for $130 [USD], they sync with the Snapchat app on your phone, and like the app, only record 10-second videos at a time.

“Our objective with this campaign is to encourage fans to organically share their US Open experience,” Amy Choyne, chief marketing officer at the US Tennis Association (USTA), says in an Aug. 20 press release. “Spectacles give a one-of-a-kind vantage point because they capture your memories just the way you see them.”

The tournament is the first professional sporting event to sell the glasses, and it will be the first to have a special branded lens filter on the platform that fans can use to customize their Snapchat posts.

“We strive to surprise and delight visitors to the US Open, while reshaping and enhancing the way fans can share their on-site experience,” Qianna Smith-Bruneteau, USTA director of social media and strategy, adds. “Spectacles offers fans a new sense of discoverability of our grounds in a fresh content format.”

Former US Open doubles champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands accompanied the delivery of the first Snapbot vending machine to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in New York aboard a helicopter on Aug. 19, all while filming the ordeal on her Snapchat Spectacles.

Snapchat Spectacles were first launched in the US in 2016, but sold only through pop-up Snapbots that would appear in random locations around the US. They’ve since become available in other countries, such as the UK and Australia.

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