For the first half of 2013 the TIA has been focused on industry efforts to grow the game and the business of tennis. Under the direction of TIA President Greg Mason—whose two-year term commenced at the beginning of 2013—and our board of directors, we continue to focus our efforts on our key strategic platforms.
The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and the USTA have joined forces to make the Emirates Airline US Open Series available to the USPTA and its members. The partnership is modeled after other successful agreements already in place in Stanford, New Haven and Cincinnati. The goal is to develop partnerships in the other Emirates Airline US Open Series cities and use the Series to promote tennis and the USPTA.
The USTA has entered into a comprehensive media partnership with ESPN for the television and digital presentation of the US Open and the Emirates Airline US Open Series. The 11-year agreement will begin in 2015 and extend through the 2025 US Open and provide professional tennis with more than 200 hours of live coverage each summer. Current domestic television agreements for the US Open conclude following the 2014 US Open.
In the most recent USTA/TIA tennis participation study, the age demographic that saw the greatest percentage increase in 2012 was young players 6 to 11, which increased 13% from 2011. Clearly, messages about 10 and Under Tennis are reaching kids, their parents, and tennis providers—and all of that is having a positive influence in other industry segments, too.
Tennis director and former club owner Rick Vetter says it’s not rocket science: Fewer Courts + More Players = More Income. How do you put this formula into practice at your tennis facility? One of the most reliable answers is with 10 and Under Tennis, which brings more kids onto the court at one time. But there’s a bonus, adds Vetter: 10 and Under Tennis also helps you build your base of players for the future.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced the return of its SmashZone Mobile Tour, which will hit the road for a 22-city tour to introduce youth tennis to kids and parents across the country. SmashZone began as the premier fan interactive attraction at the US Open before being showcased across the country. Since its inception in 2011, SmashZone has attracted more than 2 million people to its tennis courts.
The USTA celebrated the refurbishment and creation of 10,000 youth-sized tennis courts in the U.S. as part of USTA’s commitment to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. A celebratory event, Court 10K, was held on March 19 at the Tamiami Tennis Center in Miami to commemorate the milestone.
The 2013 U.S. Open will provide the richest purse in tournament history as the total prize money available is set to increase 28% over 2012 to $33.6 million. This increase in prize money comes on the heels of an agreement with the ATP World Tour and WTA that "ensures the vitality and competitiveness of the US Open as a world class, premier event for many years to come."
Beginning in early 2012 the Tennis Industry Association worked closely with the USTA and tennis industry manufacturers to develop a National Youth Tennis Retail Initiative plan. The focus of this plan was to develop consistent messaging that would help educate consumers and retailers on the proper equipment for youth tennis as well as drive them to the website, youthtennis.com, where they could find play opportunities quickly and easily. As a result, the TIA coordinated the printing of over 1 million tennis racquet hang-cards to be placed on youth racquets at the various retail channels throughout the United States. In addiiton, the TIA worked closely with the USTA to develop POP signage for retailers to utilize in their stores.
In March, the Tennis Industry Association organized meetings in both New York and Florida to discuss efforts to promote retail and to grow the game and the "business of tennis."