History of the TIA

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Formerly the American Tennis Industry Federation, the TIA traces its history to 1974 and is an affiliated organization with the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. 

At the first Tennis Industry Association Forum held at the Super Show in February of 1993, the leadership of the TIA began to campaign for a unified industry-wide effort to build tennis participation. During the spring and summer of 1994, working together with the USTA, pilot programs geared at attracting new players were held in four U.S. cities. The pilot programs showed that by offering non-players a free tennis lesson followed by the USTA's ongoing introductory program called Play Tennis America (renamed USA Tennis 1-2-3 in 1998), new players could successfully be brought into our sport. During this same time research was conducted to poll attitudes about tennis, particularly with kids and young adults. The research indicated the need to change the way youth perceives our sport. 

On September 3, 1994, at a TIA Board Meeting held during the US Open, representatives from most of the major tennis companies and organizations pledged to launch the "Initiative to Grow the Game." The focus of this initiative was two-fold: (1) increase tennis participation by introducing new players to tennis through free tennis lessons and Play Tennis America and (2) change the way tennis is perceived, particularly with youth, through an image campaign. 

In the Spring of 1995, the TIA's Free Lesson Blitz program began in 25 cities. That same summer, our Image Campaign kicked off in 4 communities. Funding for these activities came from the major racquet, ball and string companies through an assessment program on their product sales. In addition TIA received contributions from the USTA, SGMA and other tennis companies and organizations. Since 1995, these participating partners have invested over $17 million dollars in theTIA's grow the game activities. 

The TIA's Initiative to Grow the Game served as a catalyst for the USTA to focus more on increasing tennis participation. In September of 1997, the USTA announced their plans for the USA Tennis Plan for Growth. This comprehensive 5 year plan to build the player base includes an additional investment from the USTA of over $31 million dollars between 1998-2002. The TIA is a partner with the USTA on the USA Tennis Plan for Growth. A key component of the Plan for Growth is the USA Tennis Pathway. This pathway was developed to provide new tennis players with local opportunities to: Try-Learn-Play and Compete.

In the fall of 2003, the TIA, USTA and industry leaders join together in a groundbreaking campaign to increase tennis participation through an image campaign and the website - tenniswelcomecenter.com where people can enter their zip codes, find a Tennis Welcome Center location near them and learn how to "play tennis fast". More than 3800 Tennis Welcome Centers have signed-up to offer introductory programs to new players with a focus on making committed players.

2003 (Fall) Recognizing the increasing demand for technology, the TIA embarked on a focused mission to provide online services including GrowingTennis.com launched to tie industry initiatives together and provide a single stop for facilities and providers to use technology to reach consumers about their programs and events.  The TIA also introduced TennisConnect to provide an online business tool for facilities and retailers.

2004 (Fall) with obesity on the rise in the U.S. Cardio Tennis was launched as a new, fun, group activity, featuring drills to give players of all abilities an ultimate high-energy workout that beats going to the gym.  Taught by a teaching professional, CardioTennis includes warm-up, cardio workout, and cool-down phases.  Participants consistently elevate their heart rates into their aerobic training zone.

2006 Cardio Tennis received a major marketing push in the U.S. when Tracy Austin took up the call and started her tour of tennis hotspots in the U.S., showing consumers how fun, healthy and active a Cardio tennis workout is.

2006 The Tennis Service Representative program is launched providing a “sales force for tennis.” The national network of TSRs, which are part of the USTA section staff, travel the country and visit thousands of tennis clubs, facilities, parks and schools, helping local tennis providers with programming and ideas to boost participation.

2007 The “36/60” project is developed, and it later becomes the QuickStart Tennis format for bringing kids into the game on smaller courts (36 and 60 feet long) with age-appropriate equipment.

2007 Better Your Business Workshops (now called TWC Business and Technology Workshops) are developed and offered in key markets, with the aim to help facilities and retailers boost their business by using key technology and resources offered by the TIA and other partner groups.

2007 The new Tennis Health Index compiles data from a number of key surveys and studies that together give an accurate measure on an annual basis of the state of tennis in the U.S., including the Court Activity Monitor, which is a monthly indicator of playing trends.

2007 (August) The first TIA Tennis Forum at the USTA Tennis Teachers Conference in New York City was held during the US Open.

2007 (Fall) To encourage kids to begin playing tennis at a younger age, as they do in many other sports, QuickStart Tennis was developed. This exciting new play format for learning tennis-designed to bring kids into the game by utilizing specialized equipment, shorter court dimensions and modified scoring, all tailored to age and size—is divided into two levels, ages 8 and under and ages 10 and under.

2008 (Spring) Jameks Blake joined Maria Sharapova on promotional materials for Tennis Welcome Centers and Cardio Tennis. This was the first time since 1999 that participation topped 25 million players. TIA and ASBA expanded their partnership to bring more benefits, services, and research to the court construction segment of the industry. TIA also expanded its partnership with Racquet Sports Industry magazine to include a new RSS feed for company press releases and news. TennisConnect signed up its 100,000 user. The TIA expanded its insurance offerings with TIA TennisInsure.

2008 (June) The monthly GrowingTennis Newsletter debuted, designed to facilitate in delivering news, stories, and tips for all the GrowingTennis initiatives. The newsletter is sent to more than 13,000 people in the tennis industry and includes monthly features such as Cardio Tennis Player of the Month and Tennis Welcome Center of the Month.

2008 (August) To recognize those individuals who have had a significant impact on our sport the TIA created the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame to nominate inventors, founders, innovators and contributors from the 1960s to the present. At the USTA Tennis teacher’s Conference in New York City, Dennis Van der Meer and Howard Head were inducted into the inaugural class.

2008 (Fall) The official Tennis Industry news website was created as a one-stop search for tennis industry news and information. Consumers can find the latest newsfeeds from RSI magazine featuring TIA member news plus an official tennis industry calendar, TIA features from past RSI issues, GrowingTennis newsletters and archives, quick links to industry partners, industry newsletters, and a tennis media and manufacturer search.

2009 (Winter) A new industry-wide initiative was created to attract more young talent into tennis industry positions and to create more financially lucrative and stable job opportunities, particularly for teaching professionals. Careers in Tennis strategies include informing young adults with a passion for tennis, from high school to their late 20s, of opportunities within the tennis industry and promoting the positive aspects of working in tennis, such as the lifestyle, helping others, health benefits, and financial opportunities.

2010 (Spring) The TIA officially launched its online career development portal, CareersInTennis.com, to help generate more interest among a younger generation of the viable career paths available in the industry. A new monthly TIA newsletter was developed to replace the GrowingTennis Newsletter to provide those in the industry a more comprehensive package of information regarding news in the industry, including the latest research, technology, grow the game initiatives, and tools and resources available.

2010 (Summer) The ITF (International Tennis Federation) and the USTA announced a major rule change for 10 and Under Tennis which is greatly expected to impact the future of the sport and the industry. The new rules require that 10-and-under tournaments be played using slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls, on smaller courts, nets and utilizing shorter, lighter racquets. TennisConnect, the TIA’s premier tennis software product, added plug-in component features. Three separate panels were created to help the TIA stay better in touch with different needs, issues, and concerns in the industry: the Facility Panel, Retail Panel, and Technology Panel.

2010 (September) At the USTA’s 40th Annual Tennis Teachers Conference the 4th Annual TIA Tennis Forum was held where new goals were conveyed to the industry: creating more frequent players, defining the economic impact and worth of tennis and the industry, and a communications and public relations campaign to promote the reasons for people to get involved in the game. Billie Jean King was inducted as the fourth member into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame during the forum. The TIA also launched its newly redesigned website, TennisIndustry.org, as a central hub for the industry. TennisConnect debuts a new Mobile component for consumers using smart phones.

2010 (Fall) Current TIA President Jon Muir is confirmed by the Board of Directors for a second two year term. The first ever TIA Economic Index is released and values the tennis industry at just over $5.6 Billion. A new awareness campaign to combat the proliferation of counterfeit racquets in the tennis market was also launched by the Tennis Industry Association and its partnering companies. Cardio Tennis, one of the TIA's key grow the game initiatives also was utilized as a health/fitness activity on NBC's hit TV Show, "The Biggest Loser." Tennis star Anna Kournikova also signed on as to be the Cardio Tennis spokesperson. The TIA's premier software product package, TennisConnect, introduced a new leagues and ladders component to help facilities manage tournaments and leagues. A "PTR Edition" of TennisConnect was also developed and rolled out to help PTR members grow their businesses via technology. The TIA also launches a new webinar series platform to help further educate tennis industry professionals on new development affecting tennis businesses.

2011 (Spring) New research data indicated that tennis was the fast growing sport in the first decade of the new millennium, up 46% from 2000-2010, outpacing any other sport in growth by more than 40%. The TIA takes the lead on the Retail Effort to help tennis retailers grow their business, especially with the introduction of 10 and Under Tennis into the marketplace. The TIA coordinated the release of the retail locator that is used for tennis consumers to find 10 and Under Tennis retailers on the 10andUnderTennis.com website. In the ongoing effort to provide tennis retailers with the most valuable resources the TIA launched the web-page, tennisretailers.org, a compilation of the various resources available from the TIA and the industry for tennis retailers to grow their business. The TIA also announced it would be developing plans for the "Tennis Show" at the 2011 USTA Tennis Teachers Conference in New York City. Careers In Tennis, the TIA's initiative to create awareness about career paths in the tennis industry, reached over 20,000 views of jobs and over 1000 tennis specific jobs listed on the CareersInTennis.com website. Cardio Tennis is launched in Australia as a key platform for player growth by the country's national governing body for tennis, Tennis Australia.