From the TIA President: Growing the Game Through Unified Efforts

The first half of 2012 has been very active, laying the groundwork for new developments aimed at creating a more sustainable future for all involved in tennis. As the not-for-profit trade association supporting the growth and economic vitality of tennis, the Tennis Industry Association remains focused on our key strategic platforms laid out in 2011. Our main goal is to grow the game through cohesive efforts across the industry.

TIA’s four key strategic platforms for sustainable industry growth include: 1) Growth of Tennis & the Tennis Economy, 2) remaining the #1 Source for Tennis Research, 3) increasing Awareness & Advocacy for our sport through communications and positioning, and 4) Unifying the Industry Under One Brand – TENNIS.

Growth of Tennis and the Tennis Economy

Frequent players, those playing 21+ times a year, remain key drivers of revenue and participation, and of long-term sustainability for tennis. They are the primary sources for the growth of tennis and the tennis economy. To help support frequent player growth, the TIA has worked closely with industry partners to further develop grassroots and technology programs and initiatives. Our goal is to reach 10 million frequent players by 2020. In 2011, for the first time since 2008, the number of frequent players held steady, and so far in 2012, we are seeing anecdotal evidence that frequent play is on the rise.

Playtennis.com was re-launched this month to consumers as a central portal for tennis players and non-players to connect to all things tennis and get them on the pathway to more frequent play. This industry-supported and brand-neutral site helps consumers find playing partners, programs, teaching pros, courts in their area, gear reviews, and more. The TIA continues to work closely with industry partners to develop and provide portions of the technology infrastructure, as well as marketing and advertising support. TennisIndustry.org/playtennis provides free access to marketing tools and resources to promote playtennis.com and, in turn, their businesses. In addition, the TIA has worked with manufacturers to secure messaging on 30 million ball cans, 1.5 million racquets, and other product packaging. To make it easier for tennis providers to get involved with all industry initiatives, TIA recently revamped its national database of facilities, retailers, and programs together with PTR and USPTA support for teaching pro listings at GrowTennis.com.

Youth Tennis: The TIA has been coordinating with manufacturers and retailers to develop a National Youth Tennis Retail Promotion that educates the tennis marketplace—consumers and retailers—on the new age-appropriate equipment standards for tennis. This effort will include placing over 1 million Youth Tennis hang-cards on racquets at retail locations across the U.S. In addition, the TIA is coordinating the USTA Community Tennis Equipment program, so eligible non-profit organizations can obtain discounted youth tennis equipment for their programs.

Tennis Research

To accurately measure the industry, the TIA is the primary source of tennis research and market intelligence through more than 70 research reports and surveys conducted annually. In May 2012, we released our second edition of the annual State of the Industry, which narrates the story of the industry across all segments. Our research shows positive signs as we move deeper into 2012. First-quarter wholesale shipment dollars from manufacturers were up in every category (racquets, balls, strings, and red/orange/green balls) from the same period in 2011. To provide the industry with more up-to-date information, the TIA released a new "Industry Dashboard" (at TennisIndustry.org/Dashboard) that includes key top-line research indicators.

Advocacy & Awareness

The TIA is increasing advocacy and awareness in several ways. On Aug. 24, the TIA will present "The Tennis Show 2012: Celebrating the Sport of Opportunity" at the Grand Hyatt New York. This one-day event provides an excellent networking opportunity and will include an exhibitor show as well as the TIA Tennis Forum and induction of coaching legend Nick Bollettieri into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame. Also, leading up to the US Open and during the USTA Tennis Teachers' Conference, the TIA will host various meetings in New York. Through our communications, the TIA each month distributes digital newsletters and media press releases geared toward 17,000-plus tennis industry providers and contacts, as well as the general media. In addition, we continue to increase our involvement with social media.

Cardio Tennis: Tennis is a healthy activity and this remains an important component of our industry messaging. We are continuing to grow the Cardio Tennis program, which is now being delivered at over 1,800 tennis facilities in the U.S. and in 30 countries. In 2011 alone, Cardio Tennis had 1.3 million participants, the third year in a row program participation surpassed the 1 million mark. Additionally, we have aligned Cardio Tennis with Total Health Interactive, a health and wellness business solutions company with more than 2 million people participating in their challenges annually, and placed Cardio Tennis on a new technology platform to allow providers to message members and fill their clinics. We’ve also developed key partnerships with national governing bodies in Australia, Canada, and Japan.

One Brand—TENNIS

One of the key factors for long-term success is unifying this sport under one brand—TENNIS. The TIA remains focused on bringing together various industry segments and serving as a unified "voice" to support a common goal of growing the game. We can achieve a great deal by working together, and the TIA continues to work to ensure we, as an industry, take the necessary steps to align our industry’s economic interests overall.

There will be more communication in the coming weeks and months, with updates on how you can get involved in various industry initiatives, events and programs. I look forward to seeing you at The Tennis Show on Aug. 24 in New York City.

As always, thank you for your continued support and for all your efforts to grow the game.

Jon Muir
TIA President