More than 2,300 tennis events in 32 states were registered as part of official Play Tennis Month activities during the month of May. All the events were searchable on PlayTennis.com so current, new and returning tennis players could easily find local places and times to play.
This was the inaugural year for Play Tennis Month, an industry-wide campaign that involved hundreds of tennis providers and showcased the sport and all its health benefits. Play Tennis Month also helped raise awareness and support for PHIT America, and included fund-raisers to benefit PHIT America GO! Grants, which provide funds for physical education in schools, including supporting equipment and curriculum for the new Net Generation youth tennis initiative.
The lead-up to Play Tennis Month included a 200-person Cardio Tennis session held in late April at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. Participants burned nearly half a million calories at the National Campus that day. (Watch the video here.)
In May, many locations focused on Cardio Tennis, a group fitness session with an instructor on a tennis court in which participants often burn an average of 600 calories an hour. For instance, the Midtown Athletic Clubs in Chicago offered the “World’s Largest Cardio Tennis Party” on May 5, involving all four of its clubs in the Chicago area on at least 20 total courts.
For Play Tennis Month, tennis providers were encouraged to offer adult programs that were fun, social and encouraged players to come back (multi-sessions to help with retention). The tennis provider website RallyTheIndustry.org has suggested program formats that emphasize fitness and how fun and social tennis is. Among suggested formats are Cardio Tennis sessions, Try Tennis Free and PlayTennisFast programming, and POP Tennis on shorter, 60-foot courts. More importantly, marketing resources were made available to help facilities promote at their location and in their community and can continue to be accessed at PlayTennisMonth.com.
“We received great support from many industry partners, including the USPTA, which used this month-long initiative to set goals for each of their sections and provided added video content for the campaign,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “The Tennis Channel ran segments with pro player soundbites, and the PTR helped kick off the campaign to their members during their annual PTR Symposium. Numerous webinars and presentations around the country were held to ‘Rally the Industry,’ including during the TOM Conference in April.”
While the effort was focused around awareness, getting people moving and off the couch, it was primarily a social media campaign in support of PHIT America and working with industry veteran, Jim Baugh, founder of PHIT America.
“It’s important that we keep collaborating on ways to help ‘jumpstart’ the industry, and Play Tennis Month was an effort designed to involve the partners to help promote the sport and the many programs and events specific to local communities—all designed to get more people playing tennis more often, and realizing the great health and fitness benefits of this sport,” de Boer adds.