The Serena premium: US Open ticket prices soar

Whether or not Serena Williams wins her "calendar Slam" next week, she has already made history. For what is believed to be the first time, ticket prices for the women's final of the U.S. Open are more expensive than the men's final.

Serena Williams of the United States returns a shot to Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands during their Women's Singles Second Round match on Day Three of the 2015 US Open.
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And, for the first time, the women's final has sold out before the men's.

According to TiqIQ, the average asking price for a ticket to the women's final of the U.S. Open on Sept. 12 is a whopping $956.37—more than double last year's $421.05. By comparison, the TiqIQ average for the men's final is $888.24.

Many of those fans are hoping to watch Williams accomplish what no female player has done since 1988—win all four grand slam tennis tournaments—the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open—in the same calendar year.

Serena Williams chases down a return to Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands during their second round match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York, September 2, 2015.
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And Williams is not just boosting prices for the finals—she is also helping to jack up prices throughout the U.S. Open. The average TiqIQ price for tickets at the U.S. Open is up 32 percent this year, to $385.26, according to the website.

"The fact that she is going for something that hasn't been done in 30 years is truly piquing demand for tickets," said Chris Matcovich, vice president of data and communications at TiqIQ.

Williams is just part of the reason for higher Open prices this year. Because of a schedule change, this year's U.S. Open has only 24 sessions compared with the usual 26, so there are fewer available seats. What's more, the U.S. Open has become one of the premier New York sporting events, attracting crowds from around the world.

Lew Sherr, chief revenue officer for the United States Tennis Association, said more than 700,000 people are expected to attend the Open this year "and we are on track for another record-breaking year."

Those totals make the Open the highest attended single, annual sporting event in the world—since it takes place over two weeks and since the Olympics and World Cup are not annual events.

Sherr cited a study that the total economic impact of the U.S. Open—counting direct and indirect spending on everything from hotels and restaurants to cabs and clothing—totals around $750 million.

"The U.S. Open has a massive effect," Sherr said. "Bigger than the Super Bowl even."

And this year, the "Serena Effect" has only made the event that much more lucrative.