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TIA Sets Plans for Major Tennis ‘Event’ At Super Show; Scraps Show at U.S. Open

The Tennis Industry Association announced that it is planning to launch an industry-wide “event” in conjunction with the 2005 Super Show in Orlando, Fla., in January. The event, which will combine a number of aspects, including seminars, a tennis forum, awards presentations and a trade show, will serve as a rallying point for the industry, the TIA says.

A specific name for the event had not been finalized at press time, but it will be held Jan. 17 to 19, 2005, at the Super Show, which moved to Orlando from Las Vegas in 2004. The trade show part of the event will be at the Super Show’s venue, the Orange County Convention Center. However, the TIA says there will be many activities for the tennis event that will be outside of the trade show.

“The TIA and many of its largest members want to have an event that rallies our industry and provides an opportunity to learn and to do business in an efficient way,” says Jim Baugh, president of the TIA. “We’ve studied many venues and concluded we can make the TIA event in Orlando a winner.”

Baugh initially made public the plan to hold an industry event during the Super Show at the TIA’s March board meeting, held during the USTA’s Annual Meeting in Puerto Rico. Many in the industry had expressed dismay at the low attendance and other difficulties encountered at August’s Tennis Show at the U.S. Open. “A New York or U.S. Open show is not going to work,” Baugh concluded, adding that other sites, such as during pro tournaments at Indian Wells, Calif., or Key Biscayne, Fla., had been considered.

Some at the TIA meeting questioned the need for a tennis trade show at all, but most agreed that the industry needed, as Baugh puts it, “a rallying event,” similar to the large gatherings that would assemble each February in the mid-1990s to attend the Tennis Forum at the Super Show when it was held in Atlanta.

Dave Haggerty Among the problems that The Tennis Show at the U.S. Open faced was the difficulty in getting soft-goods manufacturers to exhibit there. However, Baugh says the Super Show in Orlando already has a “good soft-goods foundation.”

“Now, major racquet and other hard-goods companies have committed to be part of this event,” says Baugh. “We have preliminary event plans which will be announced at a later date, but we are excited to be able to launch programs, products, and other plans…at one time — at this event.”

Reportedly, Baugh and the TIA have been in talks with Super Show management to try to work out deals to make it easier for manufacturers to exhibit in Orlando.

“Our sport has to have a venue to be together,” says TIA Chairman Dave Haggerty, CEO of Head USA. “We are seeing the benefits of this with our Tennis Welcome Center campaign. Plus, we are planning other initiatives. The TIA event in Orlando will allow us to come together, roll out plans, learn from each other, and sell some products.”

Longtime industry watchdog Gene Scott, publisher of Tennis Week magazine, says that he can see the value of having such an industry event. “When I visited the Super Show in Orlando this past year, I said, ‘The tennis industry can build on this…and make it so much more,’” he says. “Recent problems with the Show have been lack of visitors and expense. I believe there is a way to deal with both issues, and our sport would be crazy not to help make this work.”

Adds Baugh: “My goals are to make this industry bigger [and] stronger. It will not happen with a fragmented approach. The TIA will make this event work. Plus, we will continue to have smaller meetings, such as a TIA Forum at the U.S. Open. We learned from our experiences in New York, and while we will not have a show at the U.S. Open, we know what works and what doesn’t.”

HEAD Penn Announces Elite Retailer for 2003

HEAD Penn Elite Retailer for 2003 HEAD Penn Racquet Sports has awarded Westwood Sporting Goods in Los Angeles with its 2003 Elite Retailer of the Year award. Westwood owner Rick Hartman (at left) was presented with the award at HEAD Penn headquarters in Phoenix in March.

Hartman supports the Southern California Tennis Association by donating pre-owned frames, string, grips and bags to the organization. The racquets are restrung and reconditioned before they are used by underprivileged children who otherwise might not get the opportunity to learn and play tennis.

“I appreciate the recognition from HEAD Penn that is allowing me to further support my community,” Hartman said.

The Elite Retailer of the Year award is one component of HEAD Penn’s Elite Retailer Program. Introduced in January 2002, the program was created to reward the strongest professional and specialty tennis retailers in the U.S. as they focus on growing the sport.

The award is presented to the retailer judged to be the strongest in the country by virtue of retail excellence, passion for tennis and commitment to supporting their tennis community during a calendar year. The recipient receives a $10,000 check to be donated to the grassroots tennis program of the retailer’s choice. Hartman has chosen to donate the money to the Southern California Tennis Association.

“It is important that we recognize the hard work Rick and his team do to support the tennis community and the HEAD Penn brand,” said Kevin Kempin, Head’s vice president of sales and marketing.

Lejay Debuts ‘White Out’ Line

New from Lejay is the White Out collection, made with Meryl nylon, a high-performance branded yarn “known for its beautiful hand and silky texture,” says Trish Levin, vice president of merchandising for Lejay Inc.

The lightweight fabric is a white-on-white dotted texture, which provides surface interest. In addition to its quick-drying properties, the fabric also has high UV protection, says Levin. Lejay chose 12 of its most popular silhouettes for the White Out collection.

The collection is shipping in May. For more information, visit www.lejay.com or call 800-932-7535.

U.S. Open Series of Pro Events Looking Likely for This Year

It appears that the U.S. Open Series, a breakthrough proposal to bring together summer hard-court tennis tournaments under the U.S. Open umbrella, will become a reality this year. The Series, which will begin in July right after Wimbledon and lead into the U.S. Open at the end of August, will be made up of at least eight North American hard-court tournaments.

Key to this series of men’s and women’s pro events will be a consistent television schedule, and reports indicate that CBS Sports and ESPN have committed to possibly more than 100 hours of live coverage of the action at the U.S. Open Series tournaments. It is hoped that having regularly scheduled telecasts of pro tennis events will help to elevate the stature and exposure of the sport in the U.S.

The U.S. Open Series has been promoted by Arlen Kantarian, the USTA’s chief executive of Professional Tennis. At the USTA’s Annual Meeting in March in Puerto Rico, Kantarian laid out plans for the Series to a large and enthusiastic crowd. The Series would represent an unprecedented collaboration among television networks, the two pro tours, tournament owners, and the USTA and its other business partners.

Final plans for the Series were expected to be officially announced at the end of April. At press time in early April, sources indicated that the eight tournaments that will comprise the Series for this year will be:

The U.S. Open begins on Aug. 30 and runs through Sept. 12.

New USTA Tools To Help You Promote Your Programs

USTA Tools To help in the continuing effort to grow the sport, the USTA has come out with a couple of nifty new tools that provide all you need to help you market your programs.

The 2004 Marketing Creative Kit contains customizable flyers, ad slicks and posters that are designed to attract new players to your local program. The materials are perfect for Tennis Welcome Centers looking to attract new players to the game. All executions are available on an easy-to-use CD.

The 2004 Workplace & Residential Tool Kit will help you create, market and promote a tennis program for corporations, business and residential neighborhoods. This kit also includes customizable flyers, ad slicks and posters, all on a CD.

Both marketing kits are $20 each and available through NetKnacks at 800-374-6153 or at www.tennisawards.com.

Schwartz ‘Comes Out Swinging’

At the USTA Annual Meeting USTA President Alan Schwartz says it’s time to “come out swinging” when it comes to promoting the sport of tennis.

Speaking at the opening session of the 2004 USTA Annual Meeting in March, held at the Westin Rio Mar Resort in Puerto Rico, Schwartz said that the USTA and the other entities involved in tennis are “ready to adopt a marketing mentality” for the good of the sport.

Alan Schwartz

He added that the marketing campaign that is now getting under way for tennis is the “biggest and boldest initiative in which this organization and its affiliated partners have ever been involved. We are ready to grow the game without focusing on who gets the credit.

“What is the state of our association?” Schwartz asked. “Simple — we are strong and we are ready.”

He ran down a list of some of the key changes to the USTA over the past 15 months, covering three areas: financial, strategic and emotional. Financially, the USTA in 2003 had a record operating surplus of more than $12 million. The organization realized a $5 million bump from the U.S. Open, and Schwartz said the USTA’s investment portfolio earned $21 million, outperforming the benchmark by 26 percent vs. 21 percent.

Strategically, Schwartz praised the “talented national staff” that has been assembled, along with the support of key partners, key media support and alliances, and what he called “fusion marketing,” such as partnerships with the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and the National Institutes of Health.

On the emotional side, trust was at the top of the list. “As an association, we’ve made great strides” in this area, said Schwartz. He also praised the USTA’s efforts in multiculturalism and diversity, and in the organization’s ability to be flexible. He said the group is making a clear commitment to “accepting responsibility and making changes.”

Schwartz, whose term as USTA president ends at the end of this year, said that the current Tennis Welcome Center campaign and the new U.S. Open Series of pro tournaments will help the sport with players and fans alike. “Each becomes a catalyst for the other,” he said. “Both initiatives are industry-wide, and industry-wise.”

As people registered for the Annual Meeting, they each were given a racquet donated by manufacturers. But, said Schwartz, the racquet came “with strings attached.” The catch was that each person had to help build the sport by giving the racquet to someone else who is not yet involved in tennis, then shepherding that person to a beginner program.

‘Minus Ion’ Rings, Wristbands

Minus Ion Are your members looking for something to help relieve pain in the hand, wrist, arm, back or shoulders? Have them try “Minus Ion” wristbands, bracelets, necklaces and finger rings. Importer/distributor Titan Rules says Minus Ion products “help the body achieve enhanced ion balance” by attracting negative (or “beneficial”) ions.

The result of “advanced Japanese technology,” Minus Ion products are made of specially processed titanium, tourmaline and silicone rubber and come in a variety of colors for men and women. “The scientific community has been actively pursuing negative ion benefits,” says Titan Rules President Troy David. “Published reports indicate that negative ions are helpful to us all.” Suggested retail price for the Minus Ion wristband is $15.95. For more information, contact www.titanrules.com.

Baugh Says TIA in ‘Good Shape’ Financially, Has $1.2M Reserve

Jim Baugh The Tennis Industry Association has a reserve of approximately $1.2 million, TIA President Jim Baugh reported at the organization’s board meeting held in March in Puerto Rico during the USTA Annual Meeting.

The TIA reported total income from 1995 through 2003 was about $19.4 million, while total expenses for the same nine-year period were about $18.2 million. Nearly 56 percent of the income was derived from assessments on members, while 32 percent were from contributions to the TIA.

Just over 77 percent of the expenses in that time period went to grassroots programs, while nearly 16 percent was for administrative costs. For 2003, the TIA took in about $1.04 million, with expenses of about $1.15 million.

“We’re in good shape financially,” Baugh told the board, adding that the $1.2 million reserve represents a year’s worth of operating expenses.

Baugh said the TIA is trying to “capture new categories, such as facilities and dealers, to be a part of this organization. We have to provide services and resources for the rest of our members to be involved.”

He added, “Overall, I think we have a plan that’s aggressive and achievable.”

The meeting in Puerto Rico also included key findings from the 2003 USA Participation Study (see page 30), commissioned by the TIA and the USTA, along with plans for new research; an update on the Tennis Welcome Center initiative, which as of late March had more than 3,300 facilities signed up and was averaging about 100 additions a week; and updates on the TIA business site, TennisWire.org, and possible plans for a trade show/tennis industry event (see page 7).

Able-Bodied, Wheelchair Juniors Share Camp

he USTA held the first official USA Tennis High Performance Training Camp to combine both able-bodied and wheelchair players at the same time. The camp was held March 27 and 28 in Charlotte, N.C., and included some of the top junior able-bodied and wheelchair tennis players in the USTA Southern Section. All past camps had been conducted separately for wheelchair and able-bodied players.

The camp, held at the Providence Day School, was directed by North Carolina native and former touring pro Tim Wilkison, assisted by a staff that included Dan James, the USTA paralympic coach and product manager of USA Tennis High Performance Wheelchair. Also on the faculty was David Hatsek, 2003 USTA Southern wheelchair player of the year, along with USTA national and Southern Section staff. The camp featured 16 able-bodied and four wheelchair players.

“Having both able-bodied and wheelchair players at the same camp brings a new level of respect for both groups,” says Hartsek. “As a wheelchair player, I’ve found that working closely with able-bodied coaches has been invaluable.”

Synergy Sports Adds Kenas

Synergy Sports, an Ocean, N.J., event marketing and promotions management agency, has hired Jennifer Kenas as its account operations director. Kenas, a graduate of Cornell University, previously worked for HEAD Penn Racquet Sports and The Tennis Channel, and in 2000 was named one of Tennis Industry magazine’s “40 Under 40,” recognizing the most influential professionals in the tennis business.

Kuerten, Srichaphan Among Players Honored With 2003 ATP Awards

Paradorn Srichaphan Gustavo Kuerten Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten was recognized for his humanitarian efforts while Paradorn Srichaphan earned his second consecutive Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award when the ATP announced the winners of the 2003 ATP Awards Presented by Waterford Crystal recently at the NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Fla., the 2003 ATP Masters Series Tournament of the Year.

Kuerten, the popular Brazilian, was named Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year for his work on behalf of the needy. Underprivileged children are among the 8,500 people who have benefited from the efforts of the Guga Kuerten Institute.

Thailand’s Paradorn Srichaphan (far right) was acknowledged for his outstanding sportsmanship by his fellow players, who voted on the ATP Awards at their annual ATP Player Meeting in Melbourne, Australia, in January.

The winners of the 2003 ATP Awards Presented by Waterford Crystal will be featured in an upcoming episode of the ATP Television Show (check ATPtennis.com for broadcasters and times). Additionally, The Tennis Channel is producing a special series of vignettes honoring each of the recipients and acknowledging their accomplishments. Other ATP award winners are:

The ATP Awards Presented by Waterford Crystal also acknowledged milestones achieved by players in 2003:

John McEnroe Joins CNBC With Primetime Talk Show

John McEnroe Beginning Wednesday, July 7, John McEnroe will join the CNBC primetime lineup in a new talk show, bringing his passion for news, music, entertainment and sports to viewers weeknights at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The talk show, titled “McEnroe,” will air original installments Monday through Thursday, with repeats on Fridays.

McEnroe will be joined by an ensemble cast of contributors that will serve up insight and information about the stories and headlines of the day, in all areas of news, sports and entertainment. Joining McEnroe will be John Fugelsang, most recently of the broadcast series “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” which he co-hosted for two seasons with Daisy Fuentes. In addition, Fugelsang had been a recurring guest on “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher,” and has hosted a variety of specials for music network VH1.

“John McEnroe is a rebel and he’s sharp, both on and off the court,” says Pamela Thomas-Graham, president and CEO of CNBC. “Throughout his career, as a player, broadcaster and author, John has been known for his unique perspective, outspokenness, blunt honesty and unpredictability. His dynamic and bold personality makes him the perfect fit for CNBC’s new primetime lineup.”

Said McEnroe: “I’m very excited about my new show with CNBC. We’ve designed it to be the antidote to the typical primetime talk show. We’ll be thoughtful and insightful when it is appropriate, and wreak havoc when necessary. Above all, we’ll be unpredictable, and fun to watch.”

McEnroe will continue as an analyst on NBC Sports’ tennis telecasts, including Roland Garros and Wimbledon, as well as an analyst for CBS and USA Network’s coverage of the U.S. Open.

Freer Wins ClubCorp’s ‘Star of Stars’ Award

ClubCorp has named Billy Freer, the director of tennis at Brookhaven Country Club near Dallas, as the recipient of its 2003 Star of Stars Award. The award is the company’s most prestigious employee recognition and this year has been given to only one of ClubCorp’s nearly 23,000 employees.

Freer played a major role in Brookhaven Racquet Club being named by the USTA as the 2003 USTA Member Organization of the Year. In addition to the national honor for the club, it was also named 2003 Member Organization of the Year by the USTA Texas Section.

“It is through Billy’s superb leadership, year after year, that Brookhaven tennis has become such a recognized facility in the tennis industry,” said ClubCorp Chairman and CEO Bob Dedman. “His dedication, exceptional work ethic, and initiative to achieve top-level standards make him a vital part of Brookhaven and the company.”

Heller Named Samuel Hardy Award Winner

Mervin Heller The International Tennis Hall of Fame announced that former USTA President Mervin A. Heller Jr. of Wyomissing, Pa., is the recipient of the 2003 Samuel Hardy Award, which is given annually to a USTA volunteer in recognition of long and outstanding service to the sport. The award was presented at a special luncheon held during the USTA Annual Meeting at the Westin Rio Mar Resort in Puerto Rico in March.

Heller is the immediate past-president of the USTA, having completed his two-year term in December 2002. Heller’s affiliation with the USTA began in 1974 as president of the Lehigh Valley District Tennis Association. He was first elected to the USTA board of directors in 1991, serving as its secretary/treasurer in 1993-1994. In 1999, he became first vice president.

During his tenure, Heller has served on numerous USTA committees, and he remains a USTA board member and serves on the Multicultural Participation Committee and the board’s Audit Committee. He is currently vice president of the International Tennis Federation, is a member of the board of directors for the International Tennis Hall of Fame and is a member of the USA Tennis Foundation. Heller, a former president of the USTA Middle States section, was inducted into that section’s Hall of Fame in 1998.

A graduate of East Stroudsburg State University, where he went undefeated in all conference matches all four years, Heller held the school record for career wins in singles and doubles. He went on to receive his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh and currently is partner in the law firm of Leisawitz Heller Abramowitch Phillips, P.C.

Three Win Hall of Fame 2003 Tennis Educational Merit Awards

Kirk Anderson of New Fairfield, Conn., Pam Austin of Industry, Calif., and Bob Greene of Rangeley, Maine, are the recipients of the 2003 Tennis Educational Merit Awards, which are presented annually by the International Tennis Hall of Fame to individuals who have made notable contributions in the tennis education field at the national level.

Award winners have repeatedly demonstrated leadership and creative skills in tennis instruction, writing, organization and promotion of the game. Anderson, Austin and Greene were honored at a luncheon held during the USTA Annual Meeting in Puerto Rico.

DecoSystems to Provide First DecoTurf Courts in Australia

ecoSystems of Andover, Mass., recently announced that an agreement with the Hampton Tennis Club in Melbourne, Australia, means the company will provide four Pro DecoTurf full cushioned courts, the first Deco courts in Australia.

“This is great for Hampton Tennis Club,” says the club’s coach, Frank Tamboriello. “I will be able to coach on the best courts for junior development available in the country and our court maintenance costs will go down, allowing us to put more into our training programs. Our members are also very excited at not having to sweep the courts anymore.”

All Deco surfaces have been classified by the International Tennis Federation in each of three speed categories, slow, medium and fast. DecoTurf, which is the court surface of the U.S. Open, has also been selected as the surface for the 2004 Olympic Games tennis competition, to be played in August in Athens, Greece.

For more information, visit www.decoturf.com or call 800-DECO-1ST.

Prince Launches NFS Freak Performance Shoe

Prince NFS Freak Prince Tennis recently launched its latest performance tennis shoe, the NFS Freak, which hit retailers in early March. Built on Natural Foot Shape (NFS) technology and featuring a black and electric blue color scheme, the NFS Freak was designed for the player seeking comfort and style, says Stacey Walstrum, Prince’s director of footwear.

“In developing the NFS Freak, we wanted to create a shoe featuring our Natural Foot Shape fit that also had an eye-catching design,” says Walstrum. “As a result, we’ve created a great fitting shoe that will certainly turn heads. More importantly, the NFS Freak will give players a tennis shoe offering increased traction, comfort and responsiveness.”

Prince says the shoe is made for all-around players and features a dual-density endurance plus outsole for stability and responsiveness, as well as a PU midsole with ShockEraser2 heel insert for increased support. The molded midfoot shank provides contoured support while the removable PU sockliner adds cushioning, the company says.

The black/electric blue NFS Freak is available in men’s models and has a suggested retail price of $65. For more information visit www.princetennis.com or call 800-283-6647.

Short Sets

Roddick Signs With Rolex

World No. 2 pro Andy Roddick has signed a multi-year agreement to endorse Rolex watches, Roddick’s management company, SFX Sports Group, announced recently. Roddick will participate in media campaigns worldwide on behalf of the brand, and will exclusively wear Rolex watches. Financial terms were not released.

“We are extremely pleased to have Andy Roddick join an exceptional group of Rolex athletes who represent the best in their various fields,” said Walter Fischer, president and CEO of Rolex Watch USA.

“I am honored to be affiliated with such a quality company that has a strong history within the tennis community,” said Roddick.

Tennis Magazine Designates Frames, Shoes as ‘Editor’s Choice’

Among the products in Tennis magazine’s Spring Racquet Guide (April issue) and Spring Shoe Guide (May) are three frames and two tennis shoes that the magazine’s testers chose for the “Editor’s Choice” designation. For racquets, the picks are:

Also, the magazine listed the Wilson H Cosmo as an honorable mention for a racquet that is “powerful and light, yet stable.”

For shoes, Tennis magazine chose:

Technology Expands USPTA Continuing Ed Opportunities

USPTA technology USPTA-certified pros can now earn continuing education credit by reviewing seminars presented on DVDs, the organization announced recently. While USPTA members have always been able to earn credits by attending seminars and courses at conferences and other events, this distance-learning option allows members to review the material anywhere, at any time.

The USPTA has encoded DVDs of some of the best seminars and courses given during the USPTA World Conference on Tennis. The encoding allows those who want to earn credit for reviewing the course to follow a special menu, ensuring that the course is reviewed completely. Then, members follow up with USPTA’s Career Development Department.

Education credit is available for those who review seminars and four-hour specialty courses. Members may apply their credits toward achieving a specialist degree, Master Professional rating or other membership incentives.

“The World Conference has always been the premier event for tennis-teaching education,” says USPTA President David T. Porter. “When members can’t attend the conference, or want to experience the courses they missed there, they can still attain the education they want with this new technology.

“We also believe that members who take advantage of this opportunity will recognize the high quality of the seminars offered at the World Conference and USPTA division events and be inspired to attend more often.”

DVDs are available by calling the USPTA at 800-877-8248 or online at www.usprotennisshop.com.

USPTA members receive education credit for attending the World Conference on Tennis (this year scheduled for Sept. 18 to 25 at the La Quinta Resort & Spa), and workshops and conventions organized by USPTA’s 17 domestic regional divisions. Members may also receive credit for a variety of other educational events, such as those offered by groups including the Club Managers Association of America, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association and the USTA.

Almost 100 audiotapes and outlines of World Conference seminars are available free, but not for credit, in the “Education” section of uspta.com. Also online is information about USPTA specialist degrees and other membership benefits.

 

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