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Industry News

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Tennis Sales Continue To Rise, Says SGMA

The latest sales data from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association shows that tennis equipment has continued its upward trend in sales, growing 10 percent in 2005.

According to the SGMA, tennis equipment sales reached $244 million last year, and is expected to reach $256 million in ‘06. Also SGMA surveys confirm what the most recent TIA/USTA Tennis Participation Study noted, that tennis participation has been strengthening in recent years.

These latest SGMA figures are part of a larger survey on sales of sporting goods equipment, sports apparel, and athletic footwear. The SGMA says wholesale numbers for all sporting goods were slightly stronger in 2005 than they were in 2004.

In ‘04, total sales were $52.2 billion. In ‘05, they rose to $55.7 billion — a 6.8 percent jump. Sales for 2006 are projected to reach $59.5 billion, about a 7 percent gain.

SGMA President Tom Cove says the renewed popularity in sports brands for both fashion and performance were largely responsible for the surge in sales last year. The sporting goods industry includes sports apparel, athletic footwear, and a wide range of equipment for sports, fitness, and outdoor activities.

Wholesale shipments of sports apparel rose by 9 percent to $26.1 billion in 2005. What’s significant is that consumers purchased more units of sports apparel and paid more for them.

Athletic footwear shipments were also up by nearly 9 percent to $10.9 billion. Fitness equipment experienced an increase of 6 percent to more than $4 billion. More information is at SGMA on-line.

USTA Offers Travel, Instruction Benefits

For the first time, the USTA is partnering with resorts and adult and junior camps to offer exclusive vacation and tennis instruction benefits to USTA members. The perks vary from property to property and may include benefits such as lodging and package discounts, complimentary restringing, free private lesson, and more.

“We’re excited about working with our new resort and camp partners to help us build tennis participation,” says Barrie D. Markowitz, the USTA’s senior director of membership. To receive special benefits at these sites, USTA members need to provide their membership number to the resort or camp at the time of booking.

As of early February, more than 20 resorts, adult camps, and junior camps in North America have agreed to provide special benefits for USTA members. For help in compiling venues for the program, the USTA approached noted tennis-travel expert Roger Cox, the editor of Tennis Resorts Online.

For details visit USTA on-line. The latest list of participating resorts and camps is below.

Fast-Stringing Championships Set for Las Vegas

When it comes to stringing racquets, are you unbeatable? Put your skills on the line at the Wilson World Fast-Stringing Championships, where cash and prizes for the fastest stringers total $10,000.

The competition will be March 3 to 5 in Las Vegas, during the 2006 Tennis Channel Open (held Feb. 25 to March 5). Online registration is $20; registration on-site is $30. For more information or to register, visit Tennis Channel Open on-line or call 888-826-8497.

80th National Public Parks Championships in June

The 80th Annual National Public Parks Tennis Championships will be June 19 to 25 at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

Entry deadline for all events is June 5 at 5 p.m. To register, visit usta.com/tennislink. For adults, the tournament ID is 100217106; for juniors, 100216906.

This year’s event is being held a month earlier than usual so that the USTA will have time to resurface the courts prior to the US Open at the end of August.

OLN, TTC to Show 2006 Davis Cup

OLN TTC

OLN and The Tennis Channel will be the domestic television broadcasters for all U.S. Davis Cup action in 2006, the USTA announced just before first-round action. The new agreement began Feb. 10 to 12, with live coverage of the 2006 first-round U.S. vs. Romania tie.

For future rounds this year, OLN will provide live coverage of U.S. Davis Cup home ties, to be followed by same-day replays on The Tennis Channel. Scheduling of away tie broadcasts will be contingent on the country of origin.

River City Athletics LLC Acquires Novagrass International

River City Athletics LLC of Chattanooga, Tenn., has acquired the assets of Novagrass International Inc. The purchase was completed December 31, 2005.

River City Athletics will operate this sports surfacing division as NGI Sports, a division of River City Athletics LLC. NGI Sports will market Nova’Pro Tennis, Novagrasse Golf and NovaTurf Field Sports surfacing systems to the industry.

NGI Sports, a division of River City Athletics, is located at 2807 Walker Rd., Chattanooga, Tenn.; phone 423-499-5546; fax 423-499-8882; toll free 800-835-0033. e-mail address is info@ngisports.com.

Cardio Tennis Applauded Down Under

As the new Cardio Tennis program continues to expand in the U.S., a presentation at the Australian Tennis Conference in Melbourne during the Australian Open drew rave reviews, says PTR Executive Director Dan Santorum, who conducted the on-court Cardio demonstration to more than 250 coaches.

Cardio Tennis

“I have presented at the Australian Tennis Conference many times, but this was by far the best reaction I have ever received on any topic,” Santorum says. “At least 40 coaches approached me afterward and wanted to know how they could implement the program. Representatives from New Zealand and South Africa also expressed great interest.”

Cardio Tennis was launched in the U.S. at the beginning of 2005, and now, more than 1,000 facilities have signed on to become official Cardio sites. In September, the Tennis Industry Association officially launched Cardio Tennis to consumers at the 2005 US Open.

For more information and the latest from a survey of 250 sites, visit Cardio Tennis on-line.

Lee Tennis Restructures Sales Force

Lee Tennis Products launched an Indoor Clay Court Forum through its website, hartru.com, to provide a place for current and prospective indoor clay court owners, managers, and maintenance personnel to share ideas and information.

“After two conferences on indoor clay, and multiple site visits, it became clear that people caring for indoor clay courts have unique challenges and want to be able to communicate with one another about those challenges,” says Pat Hanssen of Lee Tennis. The forum features discussion threads on surface compaction, irrigation, humidity, and tools and equipment.

UVA Picks DecoTurf for Indoor Stadium

DecoTurf has been chosen as the surface for the University of Virginia’s new Indoor Tennis Stadium at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va. DecoSystems, a division of California Products Corp., says the 12 new DecoTurf courts at the facility are the same type and color — US Open Blue — as are the courts at the USTA National Tennis Center.

Decoturf at UVA

The indoor stadium at the Boar’s Head Sports Club is the centerpiece of a $7.5 million expansion that was completed earlier this year by court builder Howard B. Jones & Sons of Lexington, S.C. DecoTurf also was recently selected for courts at the University of Alabama, the University of Connecticut, and St. John’s University.

For more information, visit DecoTurf on-line or call 800-DECO 1ST.

New Prince Frames Rank Highly in Sales Data

According to data by the Tennis Industry Association/Sports Marketing Surveys, Prince’s O3 Red and O3 Silver racquets ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in year-to-date dollar share and unit share for 2005. In addition, the O3 Tour and O3 Blue were in the No. 6 and 9 spots, according to the survey.

Prince O3 White

Of the 270-plus racquets included in the survey, the industry report ranks Prince’s O3 Red and O3 Silver as the No. 3 and No. 4 best-selling racquets overall in the pro/specialty market in terms of year-end dollars. Prince’s total racquet line accounted for 21.6 percent of all racquet dollar sales for the year, according to the TIA/SMS report. Prince’s O3 racquets accounted for more than a 10 percent share in the fourth quarter. Prince ranked No. 1 in price point dollar sales in the premium racquet segment (racquets retailing for over $200), with a 42 percent share.

USPTA Pros Raise $8.2 Million for Charity

USPTA

In 2005, USPTA teaching professionals raised $8,197,249 for charity through the association’s Lessons for Life program — the most ever raised in one year by Lessons for Life since its inception in 1999.

“Our goal was $3 million, so our members really worked the charity circuit hard this year,” said Paula Scheb, Lessons for Life chair, director of tennis and fitness at Bonita Bay Club in Bonita Springs, Fla., and a vice president of the USPTA’s national board. “I am just overwhelmed with pride.” A variety of charities benefit each year from the Lessons for Life program.

Lessons for Life became USPTA’s national charitable program in 1999. Through this program, the USPTA encourages its members to use tennis as a vehicle to help others through fund-raisers and other activities in their communities. Lessons for Life is officially celebrated in October, but events may be hosted any time during the year. For more information, visit USPTA on-line.

Wilson Gear Featured on Showtime Series

Wilson Racquet Sports is the tennis equipment provider for a featured character on the current season of the Showtime Networks series “The L Word.” The show chronicles the lives and careers of a group of friends living in Los Angeles.

Actress Erin Daniels plays professional tennis player Dana Fairbanks on the show, which kicked off its third season this month. Wilson outfitted the character with one of its nCode racquets, the nSix-One 95, and a Wilson Tour bag.

The equipment is used by Fairbanks in her tennis scenes, including during a special tournament episode. Wilson also supplied tennis balls and courtside signage and provided gear such as caps, visors, and shirts for the extras seated in the crowd.

“We were excited to participate with ‘The L Word’ and provide them with Wilson equipment,” says Jon Muir, Wilson’s director of U.S. sales and marketing. For more on Wilson, visit Wilson on-line or call 773-714-6400.

PTR Launches ‘Scholarship Scout’

PTR

The PTR has launched a service on its website that provides information about college scholarships.

Called “Scholarship Scout,” the free service will assist PTR members who are trying to help their students find spots on a college tennis team that offers partial or full tuition scholarships. In addition, college coaches, who regularly contact the PTR looking for players, can now recruit players for their teams by posting openings on Scholarship Scout.

“We are excited to introduce this new PTR member benefit to help this nation’s dedicated and hard-working high school and college coaches,” says PTR Executive Director Dan Santorum.

Scholarship Scout is posted on the PTR’s website with the NetWorks Jobs Bulletin. Visit PTR on-line for more information.

HEAD District Sales Managers Honored

Tom Kelley
Steve Rothstein

Tom Kelley (top), who manages Southern California, was named HEAD Penn’s District Sales Manager of the Year for 2005. The company lauded Kelley for going “above and beyond every goal” he had.

Also, the company honored Steve Rothstein (bottom) as HEAD Penn Rookie of the Year. Rothstein is the Midwest District sales manager.

PBI Presents Awards at Annual Meeting

Peter Burwash International recently celebrated its 30th anniversary at the company’s annual meeting at the Marriott Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

In addition to a week of intensive educational activities, both on and off the court, awards were presented, including a “Professional of the Decade, awarded every 10 years. The recipient this time was Rob Smith, the tennis director at The Aberdeen Marina Club in Hong Kong. Other awards were:

Peoplewatch

Prince Updates Shoe Line With New Scream 2

Prince Sports has updated the Scream tennis shoe and now introduces the Scream 2, the latest addition to the QT Series. The new shoe has an advanced performance cushioning system and a new low breathable upper, says the company. The Goodyear Max outsole comes with a six-month wear guarantee.

Prince Scream 2

“The Scream 2 was created with a breathable upper and limited molded pieces to keep the weight down to provide maximum fit and comfort,” says Gary Wakley, senior director of footwear and apparel at Prince. “The Scream 2 offers the best in a lighter weight, high-performance shoe, allowing the player to be quick and agile on any surface. Players who liked the original Scream will love the fit, functionality, and technology of the Scream 2.”

“Tennis Industry Association research confirms that Prince is creating shoes that make the sport more enjoyable and help propel us in the marketplace,” says Doug Fonte, president of Prince Sports USA. “Our engineers and designers are constantly working to improve the game of tennis for players of all levels.” Three Prince shoes ranked in the top 10 in 2005 year-end dollar share research: the T10, Scream Low, and Fast Court.

The Scream 2 offers a low-cut for both men and women and is available in white with light gray accents for women and white with navy or white with red and black accents for men. Suggested retail price is $85. Visit Prince Sports on-line.

Sharapova switches to Prince O3 White

Maria Sharapova switched to the new Prince O3 White racquet at the Australian Open in January. “It is much faster through the air and allows me to generate more spin and power without losing control,” Sharapova says. “It is a really stable racquet and I feel like I can go for every shot and hit more winners.” Visit Prince Tennis on-line or call 800-283-6647.

Ashaway Introduces 2 Badminton Strings

Ashaway badminton

Ashaway Racket Strings has announced two new strings for badminton players, PowerGut 65 and PowerGut 66. Both utilize Ashaway’s patented Power Filament Technology, or PFT, to create a unique filament surface layer that reduces string movement and increases durability, says the company. Combined with Ashaway’s microfilament core, PowerGut 65 and 66 are each optimized to enhance playability and control at all string tensions. They are available in 10 meter sets and 200 meter reels, and in power green and power orange as well as exciting new neon orange and neon green colors. For more information, visit Ashaway on-line or call 800-556-7260.

Conybear Wins Wilson Award

Joel Conybear the Wilson Racquet Sports territory manager for eastern New York and Long Island, won the company’s 2005 Jack Kramer Award, which recognizes the territory manager who has exhibited sales excellence and the core values of Wilson in the areas of grassroots and brand impact.

“Joel has been a driving force behind Wilson’s eastern New York sales and brand efforts for the past decade,” says Jon Muir, Wilson’s director of sales and marketing. Conybear is a resident of Cold Spring, N.Y.

Short Sets

New Tour Team Bag Line from HEAD

HEAD’s new Tour Team Bag Line, which offers MP3 holders, climate control technology, and new colors, is “the ultimate in function,” says the company. Pieces are available in backpack, combi, supercombi, tennis, and travel styles. Visit HEAD on-line.

TIA update

Cardio Tennis passes 1,000 official sites

More than 70 drills and new videos are on partners.cardiotennis.com, along with consumer research glowing with positive reports about Cardio. The 2006 Workshop schedule is being finalized, and marketing and media samples are available to Cardio sites and pros. Web-linked logos, e-mail blasts, and more are available to sites at no charge. TIA Staff and Cardio Tennis Speakers Teams have presented 25 workshops to nearly 700 tennis teachers. The four-hour training sessions include seminars and on-court demonstrations and approaches. More workshops are scheduled for the remainder of 2005, including Michigan in November and Fort Lauderdale in December.

Tennis Welcome Centers receive renewed commitments

For 2006, the industry has committed to more racquet and apparel hang tags, ball can logos, ads, and tournament promos. Also, up to $200,000 in Co-op funds is earmarked for TWCs, and targeted newspaper ads will highlight certain markets. The new Tennis Service Representatives will help support registered TWCs.

TennisConnect.org traffic increases tenfold

TennisConnect.org increased monthly traffic from 8,000 hits in January 2005 to 80,000 this last January. Pros and members say they’re attracted to the player-match engine, court scheduler, online registration, program calendar and more.

Gamma Offers Private Logo Program

Gamma launched its Private Logo Program in February, offering a variety of products that clubs, schools, resorts, facilities, and shops can customize with their own logos. Products include men’s and women’s apparel, hats, court towels, wristbands and headbands, balls, windscreens, and more.

The company says the Private Logo Program is ideal for clubs and resorts that want to provide their members and guests with a unique experience and personalized products. It is also available to service team apparel and accessory needs of colleges and universities.

“In the past, we sourced private logo gear ourselves from various vendors, but found recently that by consolidating this effort through Gamma, we were able to get better quality merchandise while saving time and money,” says Stephen Petersen, the director of Professional Tennis Management at Methodist College. “Our students and graduates have been impressed by the quality Gamma delivers.”

“We know the value of our customers’ time,” says Gamma President Matt Ferrari. “The new Private Logo Program provides our customers with an easy, cost-efficient way to personalize products for their club, school, event, or resort.”

For more information, call 800-333-0337 or e-mail tsr@gammasports.com, or visit Gamma Sports on-line.

 

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