TIA Outlines Its Youth Tennis Plans Moving Forward

The Tennis Industry Association continues to work closely with manufacturers, in conjunction with the USTA, to create a National Youth Tennis Retail Promotion, which helps educate both consumers and retailers in all channels on age-appropriate youth tennis equipment that consumers should be purchasing for their young players.

According to the latest USTA/TIA Participation Study, there are 3.2 million tennis players ages 6-11 in the U.S. To help ensure young players are using the right equipment, more than a million racquet hang-cards displaying youth tennis messaging will appear on youth racquets at mass merchants, chain sporting goods, and tennis specialty stores throughout the U.S. beginning in 2013.

In addition, tennis retail kits continue to be shipped to tennis retailers who sign up at TennisRetailers.org to become an Authorized 10 and Under Tennis Equipment Dealer. TIA continues to support, maintain, and host the Online Retail Locator that is live on the 10andUnderTennis.com website.

Also, the TIA continues to support the USTA’s focus on promoting USTA Free Tennis Play Days at sites across the country, which are being marketed as part of and in conjunction with Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play to held on Oct. 6 in New York City. Tennis facilities across the country are encouraged to sign up at YouthTennis.com to host a Free Tennis Play Day any day from Sept. 1 to Oct. 6. These events are for all ages and skill levels, and even parents are encouraged to participate.

The TIA has worked closely with manufacturers and the USTA to host and program the order forms necessary for the USTA External Discount Community Tennis Equipment Program. The 2012-2013 program allows USTA Organizational Member schools, parks & rec., CTA's, NJTLs, etc. to purchase discounted youth tennis equipment at suggested pricing levels from one of seven participating manufacturers at Equipment.TennisIndustry.org.

TIA has been working with online tennis retailers to ensure product placement and messaging of 10 and Under Tennis products are consistent with new recommended age guidelines/categorizations for equipment.

Free marketing resources for youth tennis also are available at a new "partners" landing page (TennisIndustry.org/Partners) developed by the TIA that gives tennis industry providers marketing resources and tools they can download, such as logos, web banners, brand guidelines, and more.

Another key tool for growing youth tennis is the recently relaunched playtennis.com website, which is designed to help all types of players—whether current, new to the game, or returning to tennis—find everything they need to know about playing the “sport for a lifetime.” For tennis providers, the TIA redeveloped the portal GrowTennis.com, which is where providers input their data that will then appear in playtennis.com consumer searches. Tennis providers should go to GrowTennis.com to get listed and update/manage their data so consumers see the most current information.

To help keep the industry more informed about youth tennis, the TIA created a new 10 and Under Tennis bi-monthly newsletter, which is distributed to more than 18,000 tennis-industry-specific contacts.

Additionally, the TIA continues to monitor market trends for youth tennis through its various research reports.  The quarterly census reports measure the wholesale distribution of red, orange, and green tennis balls, as well as youth tennis racquets.  The Early and Late Season Court Activity Monitor measures facility invovlement with youth tennis (10 and Under Tennis programming) and whether or not participation in the programming is increasing or decreasing.  Youth tennis' impact on tennis retailers is also measured in "quick pulse" surveys that are distributed to speciality tennis retail outlets throughout the country.