Tennis Industry magazine

 

An Investment That Counts

By Peter Francesconi

If you haven’t heard about it before, then when you turn to page 7 of this issue, you should be pleasantly surprised. The latest annual Tennis Participation Study shows an increase — by 1.1 million — in the number of people who play tennis in the U.S., to 24.7 million.

Along with this increase is also a rise in the number of frequent players, from 4.7 million in 2004 to 5.2 million in the 2005 survey. Combine these with increases in racquet sales, frequency of play, tournament attendance, and TV viewership, and it does indeed seem like the sport is rallying back. And these bright spots obviously bode well for your business, too.

It’s fair to say that the sport is benefiting from the combined efforts of many people and groups, including manufacturers, retailers, the teaching pro organizations, the pro tours, the TIA, and the USTA, to name a few.

Recreational tennis has been receiving a lot of attention lately, along with an infusion of money. In 2005, the USTA, under the direction of President Franklin Johnson, decided to operate at a planned deficit and dedicate an extra $10 million to getting more people to play tennis, including ramping up programs and renovations on public courts. While it might be too soon to say whether this extra spending is the actual reason for the increased play noted in the recent survey, if it isn’t, it certainly will make things look even better down the road.

But we need to look beyond the infusion of money, to the sport’s greatest assets—the men and women out there every day, who have stuck it out in good times and bad. These are the people who haven’t lost their enthusiasm for the sport, and who turn the investment in dollars into new players every day.

Peter Francesconi

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.

 

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