Tennis Industry magazine

 

New Promotions, Workshops Add to Cardio Tennis' Appeal

By Peter Francesconi

Tennis facilities are always looking for ways to increase revenues. And the new Cardio Tennis program may be just the thing to help your bottom line.

For the 250 facilities that took part in a survey last fall to gauge the effectiveness of Cardio Tennis programming, revenues increased an average of 10 percent, says the Tennis Industry Association. The survey also indicated that for facilities running Cardio classes for three months, participation rates doubled.

Cardio Tennis

Cardio Tennis — developed by the TIA in conjunction with the USTA and tennis teaching pros — launched at the 2005 US Open. It’s a group activity, ideally done to music, that combines tennis with a high-energy cardiovascular workout, offering players of all abilities a way to get in shape while improving their games.

Currently, more than 1,100 public and private facilities have signed on as official Cardio Tennis sites. And Cardio Tennis has spread beyond the U.S. The program is in more than 20 countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany.

Cardio Tennis group volley

“Cardio Tennis is not only growing tennis participation, it’s growing revenues as well,” says Jim Baugh, the president of the TIA.

“It seems that every time we do a class, we have someone new coming out,” says David Oom, the director of tennis at MVP Sportsplex in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Try Cardio For Free

The newest promotion for Cardio Tennis is a free lesson promotion for the month of June. Throughout the month, hundreds of facilities around the country will offer free Cardio Tennis classes for players who have yet to try the new fitness activity.

“If you can get that person out on the court for a Cardio Tennis class, and you’re a great pro who gives a great class, you’ve got them hooked,” says Cardio Tennis Program Manager Michele Krause.

“People have been hearing about Cardio Tennis but may not know what it is,” Krause says. The survey last fall, she adds, indicated that pros at sites offering free introductory classes felt that was by far the best method to bring in new participants. After the free class, pros are urged to sign up potential players immediately for future classes, offer Cardio Tennis package deals, get e-mail addresses, and send follow-up e-mail reminders.

The TIA is hoping to have at least 500 sites offering the free Cardio classes in June. Print ads in magazines such as Shape, Men’s Health, and Fitness, in addition to traditional tennis publications, will combine with commercials on ESPN, FIT TV and The Tennis Channel to drive consumers to the website cardiotennis.com, where they can find a location near them offering the free classes.

“The benefit to the pro or facility with this free promotion is that they can’t lose,” says Krause. “We’re essentially doing the marketing and advertising for you.” Pros will, of course, want to supplement the national advertising with ads and stories in their local media, along with other local promotions.

Free Workshops and Clinics

For a successful Cardio Tennis program, “It still comes down to the presence of the pro,” says Krause. “If it’s a bad experience for players, they won’t come back.” Cardio Tennis is fast-paced, yet fun. The idea is to keep players moving, and hitting, so a lot depends on the skill and knowledge of the pro.

To that end, the TIA is running a series of free workshops and clinics across the country in 2006.

Cardio Tennis ladder drill

Cardio Tennis Workshops: Last year, there were 27 workshops in the U.S. For 2006, the format of those workshops has been altered to meet the needs of the different experience levels of the pros, says Krause, since some pros have been running the program for six months, while others are just starting out.

The free workshops now have morning and afternoon sessions, which each feature 1½ hours in class and 1½ hours on court. The morning sessions are for pros new to the program or who have never attended a Cardio workshop in the past. The afternoon sessions are for those who have experience with the program.

Pros attending the morning session can also stay for the afternoon session. Lunch is served in between, and attendees in the morning receive a free heart-rate monitor. Afternoon session attendees receive a new CD from PowerMusic designed specifically for Cardio Tennis workouts.

Cardio Tennis Training Center Clinics: To reach more pros at the grassroots level more frequently, the TIA is offering free clinics at Cardio Tennis Training Centers, says Krause. Currently, there are about 14 Cardio Tennis Training Centers, with more slated to join the list.

The Training Centers will offer three-hour clinics twice a year to pros in their areas. Local pros also can go to these facilities throughout the year to participate in or observe pros doing Cardio Tennis classes. Again, this training is at no cost to the pros.

Cardio Tennis Clinics & Workshops

Upcoming Cardio Tennis Workshops and Clinics include the following. (For more information, to register, or to see the most updated list, visit partners.cardiotennis.com and click on “2006 Workshop Schedule.”)

April 28: Atlanta, Ga.
April 29: Austin, Texas
May 4: Chicago
May 6: Berkeley, Calif.
May 7: Eugene, Ore.
May 8: MacLean, Va.
May 11: Detroit, Mich.
May 12: Punta Gorda, Fla.
May 12: Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
May 12: Grand Rapids, Mich.
May 13: Anderson, S.C.
May 19: Midland, Mich.
May 21: Overland Park, Kan.
June 10: Greensboro, N.C.
June 11: Princeton, N.J.
June 25: Lexington, S.C.

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.

 

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