Information to help you run your business.
Cardio Tennis Set to Debut in Spring
The TIA and its industry partners have set an appropriately aggressive agenda for rollout of the Cardio Tennis program. Cardio Tennis is a new group activity that features drills to give players of all abilities a high-energy workout. Participants burn calories while playing tennis, although the focus is more on a great workout.
Field tests, research, consumer surveys etc., are taking place through February and the Cardio Tennis program itself will start to roll out at industry conventions during the month. By mid-March, a DVD will be ready, and the www.partners. cardiotennis.com web site will go live. Also, applications will be accepted at the web site for approved Cardio Tennis sites.
Cardio Tennis facility kits will start to ship around mid-May. The kit will include marketing tools such as a banner, a heart rate monitor map poster, counter cards, talking points for Cardio Tennis, special programs for Polar heart rate monitors, ad slicks, fliers, and more.
The plan is for the consumer web site, CardioTennis.com, to go live in mid-June, based on having at least 500 Cardio Tennis sites signed up. Consumer advertising will begin at this time, too. Then around Sept. 1, in conjunction with the US Open, there will be a major public relations effort (based on having 750 Cardio sites). Also down the road, the TIA is planning a kid’s version, called Cardio Tennis 4 Kids.
For more information, contact the TIA at 843-686-3036 or info@CardioTennis.com.
Record Attendance at Upbeat ASBA Tech Meeting
The 2004 Technical Meeting of the U.S. Tennis Court & Track Builders Association — now called the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) — drew a record 350 attendees to the Astor Crowne Plaza in New Orleans in early December.
It was the first time the Technical Meeting drew more than 300 attendees, according to the ASBA’s Cynthia Jordan. There were about 50 first-timers at the meeting in addition to a high number of international attendees, Jordan said.
The boost in attendance seemed to illustrate the upbeat assessment that many at the meeting and concurrent trade show expressed about the tennis industry. “We’ve had a lot more construction projects this year , and we’re optimistic for next year,” said Rob Righter of Nova Sports.
Drew Stewart of Bakko Bak Bords added, “We’re having a great year. We’ve seen different regions that typically haven’t been that strong” purchasing product.
Teri Wysocki of M. Putterman summed up the mood at the trade show part of the meeting: “Tennis is up. Business is good.”
Jordan said that 340 companies are now members of the ASBA, the most ever. At the Technical Meeting, nine court contractors and four track builders took the certification exams, which is the most ever, she said. The keynote speaker for the meeting was Ron Dibble, former major league pitcher and Cy Young Award winner.
The ASBA Winter Meeting will be Feb. 24 to 28 at the Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix. The 2005 Technical Meeting will be Dec. 2 to 7 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay in Florida. For more information, call 866-501-ASBA or visit sportsbuilders.org.
PTR Sets 2005 International Tennis Symposium
Nearly 900 people from 52 countries attended the PTR International Tennis Symposium and $25,000 Championships last year, and event organizers are expecting an equally impressive turnout for the 2005 Symposium, which will be held Feb. 19 to 25 on Hilton Head, S.C.
Courses will cover such diverse topics as speed training, strategy for doubles and singles, the tennis business, training junior players, fast-action drills, munchkin tennis, wheelchair tennis, sports psychology, coaching advanced players and much more.
The week also includes the PTR $25,000 Championships, which crowns winners in 29 divisions in men’s and women’s singles and doubles, and mixed doubles. Also, more than 40 tennis-related manufacturers and organizations are expected to exhibit at the Tennis Trade Show.
For more information or to register, visit ptrtennis.org or call 800-421-6289.
TIA Enhances TWC Program for 2005
The TIA is ramping up the industry’s Tennis Welcome Center program in 2005 with new programs, quality control enhancements and increased marketing support.
In the works is a “Get Connected for 2005” plan of benefits for TWCs that will include individual websites, hosting, e-mail, online registration, find-a-game features, and more, says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. Both the trade website (www.partners.TennisWelcomeCenter.com) and the consumer site (www.TennisWelcomeCenter.com) will also be enhanced. There also will be “generic” TWC programs available called “Learn to Play Fast” and “Learn to Play Doubles,” an improved marketing manual, and a Tennis Welcome Center Parties Program.
In terms of quality control, the TWC application and renewal process will now include specific criteria to determine eligibility, and there will be seminars and training workshops on customer service and local tennis marketing. In addition, the tennis teaching organizations will be adding educational certification and developing specialty courses. Better communication also is a key: The TIA plans to establish a TWC project manager position and to create 50 TWC ambassadors within the framework of the USTA sections.
Increased marketing support includes a projected commitment by the USTA of at least $2 million. Some of that money will go to fund marketing efforts including advertising in consumer magazines, newspapers, and TV. The plan also includes increased signage and other opportunities at pro tournaments, marketing to retailers to get them involved in their local communities, and a National Tennis Month (May) p.r. campaign.
TTC Launches on 42 Cable Systems
The Tennis Channel 24-hour cable television network devoted to tennis and other racquet sports launched on 42 cable systems in November and December, extending its reach in California, Texas, North Carolina, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut and other areas. The 42 markets are:
- Adelphia Communications — California: Oxnard, Carlsbad; Connecticut: Seymour, Norwich; Kentucky: Owensboro, Richmond; Massachusetts: Plymouth; Maine: Augusta; New Hampshire: Londonderry; New York: Buffalo; Vermont: Burlington.
- Cox Cable — Arkansas: Morrilton, Russellville, Jonesboro; Florida: Gainesville; North Carolina: Greeneville, Rocky Mount, New Bern, Kinston, Washington/Williamston; New Mexico: Clovis; Texas: Amarillo, Lubbock, Georgetown, Plainview, Midland, Andrews, Big Spring, San Angelo, Abilene, Sweetwater, Bryan; Virginia: Roanoke, Hampton Roads.
- Other — California: Sacramento (Sure West); Rocklin, Auburn (Starstream Communications); Florida: Pinellas Park (Knology); Kansas: Lawrence (Sunflower Broadband); Minnesota: Hutchinson (Hutchinson Telecom); New Hampshire: Keene (Time Warner); South Carolina: Aiken (G Force LLX).
Bud Nihiser Retires From HEAD Penn
After 42 years in the sporting goods industry, HEAD Penn Ohio-based District Sales Manager Bud Nihiser has retired. Nihiser spent more than 13 years with HEAD Penn, servicing clients in Indiana and Ohio.
“I feel truly blessed to have spent my entire career in this industry,” he says. “There are coworkers and customers dating back 40 years that I still stay in contact with.”
“Bud’s accounts love him for good reason,” says Greg Mason, HEAD Penn’s director of marketing and pro-specialty sales. “He consistently demonstrated highest integrity and truly cared about the business.”
Nihiser’s replacement in the Indiana/Ohio territory will be Steve Rothstein, who’s been in the tennis industry for 19 years.
USTA Names BJK to Chair High Performance Committee
The USTA has named Billie Jean King to chair the USA Tennis High Performance Committee. Also, Jack Kramer has agreed to join the committee as a special advisor. The committee will assist the USA Tennis High Performance professional staff, led by Paul Roetert and Eliot Teltscher, with its charge to facilitate the development of world-class American champions, providing promising players with access to the best coaching, training and conditioning.
“We are fortunate to have the incomparable Billie Jean King volunteer her expertise to take on this important responsibility,” says USTA President Franklin Johnson. “We are equally delighted to have one of the seminal figures in our sport, Jack Kramer, in an advisory role.”
King has worked with the USTA in a variety of capacities following her legendary playing career. She recently announced her retirement from the U.S. Fed Cup Team, which she helped coach this year, after 42 years of involvement with the team as a player, coach, and captain. Kramer was instrumental in forming the ATP in 1972 and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1968.
The USA Tennis High Performance program operates from two facilities — its headquarters in Key Biscayne, Fla., and a new training center in Carson, Calif.
Thorlo Unveils 2 New Tennis Socks
Thorlo brand has launched two new tennis socks, to give consumers a choice of protection: Tennis Thorlos Protection Level 1 and Tennis Thorlos Protection Level 2.
The new Level 1 sock is designed to provide protection for low intensity, less strenuous activities, for instance for occasional tennis players who prefer lightweight padding at the ball and heel and wear narrow-lasted shoes. CoolMax provides wicking to help keep feet dry, and the Level 1 sock will not change a player’s shoe size.
The new Level 2 sock, designed for medium intensity activities that are moderately strenuous, provides medium density padding along the heel, ball, and top of the toes. It combines CoolMax and Thorlon for wicking and padding.
Thorlo also offers a Level 3 sock for high-intensity activities. This product has high-density padding under the ball and heel and along the top of the toe.
Tennis Thorlos are available in crew, cuff top, mini crew, micro mini crew, and roll top styles and range in price from $11 to $13. For more information, visit thorlo.com.
HEAD Penn Announces Organization Changes for 2005
HEAD Penn Racquet Sports announces several strategic organizational changes, including restructured territories, a new regional sales manager and a new business manager for Penn.
Jennifer Parker, formerly the communications manager for HEAD Penn and the product manager for Penn accessories, is Penn’s new business manager. She is now responsible for managing all aspects of the Penn business including branding, packaging, point-of-sale and sales programs.
Also, longtime Dunlop/Slazenger tennis manager Kai Nitsche has joined HEAD Penn as the Southern regional sales manager. He brings his extensive marketing, sales, and product manager experience to managing the region stretching from North Carolina to Florida and west to Texas and the central Midwest.
In other sales territory moves, designed to best fit regional climates and retailer and consumer purchase patterns, former Eastern Regional Manager John Tranfaglia is now responsible for the newly formed Northern region. His territory will include his current Northeastern markets as well as markets south to Virginia and throughout the upper Midwest. Rich Neighbor will continue as Western Regional Manager with no market changes.
- The 2005 Community Tennis Development Workshop, presented by the USTA, will be Feb. 4 to 7 at Sandestin Resort in Destin, Fla. For more information, visit www.usta.com/community/tennis, call 914-696-7205, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Fischer Twin Tec 1250 FTI received the Editor’s Choice designation in the January/February issue of Tennis. The magazine praised the racquet’s “outstanding stability” and said, “Even bad strokes can produce good shots.” For more information, contact 800-333-0337 or fischertennisusa.com.
- The design-build firm ICA Sports of Olathe, Kan., recently won the Design-Build Institute of America’s Award of Excellence — Best Project Under $15 Million for its Athletic Complex completed for Solomon Schechter Day School of Long Island, N.Y. ICA designed and constructed a 10,570-square-foot, ADA-compliant, tournament-quality gymnasium for the school five weeks ahead of the six-month schedule.
- Southern California-based tennis apparel maker Bälle de Mätch has been named a preferred vendor for 2005 by ClubCorp, a world leader in premier golf, private club, and resort experiences. ClubCorp owns or operates nearly 200 golf course, country clubs, private business and sports clubs, and resorts. For more information on Bälle de Mätch, call 949-574-7300.
- Apparel and shoe manufacturer Diadora has a new address: Diadora America Inc., 6102 South 226th St., Kent, WA 98032. Phone is 253-520-8868. Web is diadoraamerica.com.
- Maria Sharapova claimed the WTA Championship title playing with a Prince Shark racquet.
- Dunlop Sports of Greenville, S.C., has chosen Luquire George Andrews of Charlotte, N.C., as agency of record to promote its lines of tennis and golf equipment.
- The USTA has launched www.highperformance.usta.com, a website dedicated to the USA Tennis High Performance program, which facilitates the development of world-class American champions by providing promising players with access to coaching, training, and conditioning.
- The U.S. Davis Cup team lost the 2004 final to Spain, 3-2, in early December. The team will begin its quest to return to the Davis Cup final when it hosts Croatia at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., March 4-6 in the first round of the 2005 competition.
- For reality-TV fans, Wilson’s nCode racquet made the small screen for an episode of “The Apprentice” on NBC. One of the teams won the chance to play tennis with John McEnroe and Anna Kournikova in Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA National Tennis Center. Team members were equipped with nSix-One Tour racquets.
Ashaway Introduces Line Of Multi-Polymer Monofilaments
Ashaway says its new line of multi-polymer monofilament tennis strings represents the first synthetic gut on the market to combine both resiliency and durability in a single string.
MonoGut was designed for power players who want a strong string while providing good feel and control, says the company. It’s available in 16- and 17-gauge versions, as well as a hybrid set. The 16L-gauge MonoGut provides maximum durability with a highly playable string, says Ashaway, and is the most popular monofilament construction for professional players. MonoGut 17 is recommended for hard-hitters and players who find hybrids too stiff.
New Crossfire MonoGut hybrid string sets combine 16L-gauge MonoGut mains and 16-gauge synthetic gut crosses for durability, playability, and tension holding. Ashaway says the sets are ideal for both hard-hitters who want a softer-playing string and power players looking for a more durable hybrid.
For more information, contact 800-556-7260 or visit ashawayusa.com.
Olympus, USTA Ink 4-Year Deal, Talk Fashion Show
Olympus Imaging America Inc. has signed a four-year worldwide marketing partnership to expand its association as the Official Camera of the US Open and its charter sponsorship of the US Open Series, the eight-week summer tennis season that links 10 tournaments to the US Open, the USTA announced in December.
The deal, for a reported $35 million, is believed to be the largest of its kind for any sport in the category of cameras, imaging, printers, and binoculars, other than the Eastman Kodak deal for the Olympics, reports the publication SportsBusiness Journal.
Olympus will be designated as the “Official Camera” of the US Open and the US Open Series and will be named the “Official Binocular” and “Official Photo Image Storage and Image Printing” sponsor of the US Open.
The USTA and Olympus apparently are discussing the possibility of staging a fashion show, the business publication reported. Olympus sponsors Fashion Week in New York, which occurs around the time of the US Open, and both organizations appear to be looking for crossover promotion opportunities.
New ‘TennisMind’ CD
Sport psychology consultant and tennis teaching pro Dr. Robert Heller has released “TennisMind,” which combines visual and auditory technology to address 20 key areas to help your competitive athletes perform at their best. The two-volume mental conditioning CD/software program, written by Heller in conjunction with Subconscious Training Corp., contains lessons for developing confidence, managing mistakes, controlling anxiety, taming anger and 16 additional topics designed to help players build “emotional muscle.” TennisMind is $49.95 from The Winning Edge (TheWinningEdge.usptapro.com).
- Völkl’s Territory Manager of the Year award has been presented to Chuck Heyde, who oversees New York State and Fairfield County, Conn. Also, Völkl has hired Chris Avery to handle sales for the Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky areas.
- Bälle de Mätch has hired Wolfgang Jaeger to handle sales in Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. For more on the apparel company, call 800-356-1021.
- Squash player Thierry Lincou won the World Open 2004 in Qatar in December, his fourth tourney win of the year, playing with a Tecnifibre Carboflex 150 racquet with TF305 strings. On the women’s side, Vanessa Atkinsson also won in Qatar then won the world championship in Kuala Lumpur in December playing the Tecnifibre Carboflex 130 with TF305 strings.
- Former pro player Zina Garrison will continue as captain of the U.S. Fed Cup team through 2005, the USTA announced. The U.S. will host Belgium in April in the 2005 first round.
- Dani La Grace joins Bollé and Serengeti as the senior product manager for eyewear, overseeing product development, product launches, and strategic partnerships.
- The International Tennis Hall of Fame has announced the promotion of Marguerite A. Jones to manager of tournaments and special events and the appointment of Daniel J. Medeiros as special events manager.
- Timothy Neilly, 17, of Tampa, defeated Atlanta’s Donald Young to become the first African-American to win the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships Boys’ 18s singles title in the event’s 58-year history. Jessica Kirkland, 17, of Dayton, Ohio, defeated Russia’s Alla Kudryavtseva in the girls’ final to become the first American to win the Orange Bowl girls’ title since Luanne Spadea 15 years ago. It was the first time since 1974 that Americans took both the boys’ and girls’ singles titles at the Orange Bowl.
‘Got Milk?’ Scholarships Available For Student-Athletes
Do you know of or coach a high school scholar-athlete who’s looking to get money for college? The National Milk Mustache “got milk?” Campaign has teamed up with USA Today for the eighth annual Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year (SAMMY) Awards.
The SAMMY’s grant 25 college scholarships to stand-out high school seniors nationwide who have made milk their beverage of choice, excelled in the classroom and are at the top of their game. In addition to a $7,500 scholarship, each winner will attend a special awards ceremony at Disney’s Wide World of Sports and grace the pages of USA Today with their own milk mustache ad that will run in June 2005.
A celebrity panel of athletes, including Andy Roddick, Michelle Kwan, Jason Kidd, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, and Brad Johnson, will select the SAMMY winners based on academic performance, athletic excellence, leadership skills, and community service.
High school seniors can visit www.whymilk.com to complete and submit an online application, where they’ll be required to describe in 75 words or less how drinking milk is part of their everyday life and training regimen. Entries must be submitted by March 4. Finalists will be named by June.