Information to help you run your business.
Steve Bellamy Leaves The Tennis Channel
Steve Bellamy, the founder and president of The Tennis Channel, is stepping down from the cable television network to pursue other interests, according to a statement issued by TTC.
Bellamy, whose vision for a 24-hour TV network devoted to tennis took shape over the last seven years, says he believes “it is the right time to make this change.”
“I’ve been contemplating this for a while,” Bellamy says. “Although tennis is one of my life’s main passions, and the knowledge, experience, and relationships gained over the past seven years at The Tennis Channel were an incredible gift, there are a few other things in life that I’m really excited about doing. The rigors of travel for a hands-on, year-round international sport make it hard on family life, so before all of the summer tournaments begin it makes sense to make this move. When the network began I had one child, and today I have four.
“My goal was very specific and deliberate in terms of what we needed to accomplish with The Tennis Channel: to get tennis on television 24 hours a day,” Bellamy adds. “We’ve done that and now it’s a firmly established media property that’s ready to move up to the next level.”
Bellamy’s departure in mid-May comes on the heels of a restructuring of TTC’s senior management team (see page 12) a week earlier that saw the departure of Bruce Rider, the executive vice president of programming and marketing, who also left to pursue other interests, the network said. In the restructuring move, five long-standing vice presidents will report directly to TTC Chairman and CEO Ken Solomon.
Industry insiders speculate that Bellamy’s exit may have been the result of a power struggle within the network that pitted him against Solomon. Sources indicate that while Bellamy’s vision, creativity, and personality helped create and sustain the network through its fledgling years, the cable channel had now entered a stage in its life cycle that required a leader with more practical experience. Solomon, who took over from Bellamy’s original partner, David Meister, in April 2005, came to the TTC with more than 20 years of cable TV experience in senior positions with top media companies.
“Steve is a visionary, entrepreneur, and leader who is responsible for so much of the success we have already achieved,” says Solomon. “This network would not be where it is today without his unending enthusiasm for tennis and desire for a multimedia platform devoted to the sport.
Martin Named Editor of Tennis Magazine
Tennis Magazine has appointed James Martin as editor-in-chief. He succeeds Mark Woodruff, who served as editor-in-chief from April 1998 until October 2004 when he became editor-at-large for the magazine.
Martin becomes the sixth editor-in-chief in the 41-year history of Tennis, which is the largest tennis publication in the world. He was a senior editor at the title and also the editor of Smash, a quarterly magazine aimed at teen-aged players launched earlier this year by Miller Publishing Group, which owns Tennis.
“James brings a real passion for the game and a deep appreciation for the vital role Tennis Magazine plays in the community,” said Norb Garrett, the editorial director for Miller Publishing Group. “He has great vision and will be integral to our continued expansion of both Tennis and Smash magazines’ footprint into areas such as online media, mobile media, and other developing forms of media and brand extensions.”
Martin, 34, joined Tennis in 1998 with an extensive background in tennis journalism, including positions with TennisMatch Magazine and Tennis Industry (now Racquet Sports Industry), a trade publication. He is also a contributing editor for RSI.
Woodruff will continue with the magazine in his capacity as editor-at-large through June, after which time his role will be further determined.
A summa cum laude graduate of Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn., with a BA in political science, Martin has played tennis since junior high.
Wilson Named Official Ball of Sony Ericsson WTA Tour
Wilson Sporting Goods and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour have signed a three-year agreement naming Wilson an official partner of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. The deal, which begins this year and runs through 2008, will allow Wilson to expand its presence at major tournaments, including the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Championships.
Wilson also will create a line of Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Championship balls as well as various other cross-branded products. The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour logo can be used in Wilson advertising, promotion, and packaging. Wilson can also enter into agreements with additional individual Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments, and the company will receive signage and promotional rights at the Championships.
The new Championship ball will be used at the 2006 Tour Championships in Madrid. Additional Wilson sponsored events include the US Open, Australian Open, Davis Cup, and Fed Cup.
“This new partnership underscores Wilson’s commitment to growing the sport of women’s tennis and strengthens our relationship with one of the most respected organizations in the global tennis community,” says Brian Dillman, general manager of Wilson Racquet Sports.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Wilson, which is a brand synonymous with the very best in tennis balls,” says Stacey Allaster, president of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour (far right, with Dillman and Wilson pro player Ana Ivanovic).
Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores
By year-to-date dollars, January-March 2006
(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)
Tennis Racquet Performance
Specialty Stores, January-March, 2006 vs. 2005
|% Change vs. ‘05||13%|
|% Change vs. ‘05||12%|
|% Change vs. 05||-1%|
Classic Turf Products Used for Garage Deck Project
The City Center in White Plains, N.Y., recently installed the patented, cushioned Classic Turf System for two courts atop a parking garage. The project also includes recreation and walkway areas using products developed and supplied by Classic Turf.
The Classic Turf Co., of Woodbury, Conn., is developing about 42,000 square feet of the total 50,000-square-foot project. In addition to the completed tennis courts (above), the company will install a 4,000-square-foot walkway and 3,000-square-foot sitting area using its exclusive Diamond Concrete System. The sitting area will be finished with 4 × 8 tiles on the Diamond Concrete. About 20,000 square feet of the rooftop will be Classic Turf artificial grass.
USTA Debuts Multicultural Health Initiative for Kids
The USTA is partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and major corporate and private sponsors on a health initiative called Disparity Elimination Using Care and Exercise, or DEUCE.
DEUCE is designed to promote better health care and fitness among young minorities by combining the benefits of tennis training and exercise with health care and nutrition education from experts. It will also provide grants to qualifying youth programs. The program kicked off with an event April 28 at Washington’s William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park.
“Improving fitness among America’s children is essential,” says Dr. Garth Graham, HHS deputy assistant secretary for minority health. “This campaign will help us eliminate the risk factors, like obesity, that begin in childhood and lead to serious medical conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which are responsible for long-term health disparities affecting minority communities.”
“The impressive array of partners that we have assembled is a testament to the popularity and draw of tennis for better health,” says Karlyn Lothery, the USTA’s chief diversity officer. “We have a country that is growing more aware of the issue of obesity and the diseases that are magnified by this problem. The DEUCE initiative is focused on helping to change the health and fitness of Americans by addressing health disparity through tennis.”
Eighteen tennis and health programs from across the country that are implementing the DEUCE concept have been awarded grants, totaling more than $200,000.
Connors Launches Instruction DVD Series
Jimmy Connors is back in tennis. He’s just released a new six-set instructional DVD series, “Jimmy Connors Presents: Tennis Fundamentals.”
“Tennis has been my life,” says Connors. “The DVD series reflects the attitude and passion that I put into the way I play tennis. [It] not only allows me to share my success with tennis players of all ages and levels, but also includes personal insight, interviews, and lessons with many of the world’s best tennis players.”
The video series includes more than 10 hours of skills, drills, interviews, and on-court instruction. With stories and anecdotes along with philosophical discussions from the greatest players in tennis, viewers receive a rare and personal perspective on the game.
The DVD series also includes some of tennis’ hottest stars, including Chris Evert, James Blake, Justine Henin-Hardenne, Mike and Bob Bryan, Rafael Nadal, Marat Safin, John Lloyd, Tracy Austin, Paradorn Srichaphan, Marcos Baghdatis, Sania Mirza, and tennis legend Pancho Segura. For more information, visit FoundationSports.com or call 800-480-8200.
Wilson Adds Williams Special Edition Frames
Wilson has added two new racquets, created and inspired by Venus and Serena Williams, to the its W line of women’s high-performance frames. The new W3 Gypsy Rose and W5 Divine Iris will debut this year with both players switching to the new racquets at upcoming tour competitions.
Venus Williams debuted the W5 recently at the J & S Cup in Warsaw, Poland, and Serena Williams is expected to change to her W3 at an upcoming tour competition, pending her return from injury. Both models will hit retailers in July 2006.
Wilson says the Williams sisters expressed strong interest in becoming more involved in the W line, and they began working directly with the company to develop and design individual racquets that would allow them to reflect their signature style and personalities. In addition to the new cosmetics, the W3 Gypsy Rose and W5 Divine Iris feature Wilson’s nCode technology.
Both the W3 Gypsy Rose and W5 Divine Iris will retail for $270. Wilson’s full line of W rackets is available in three head sizes and in a variety of nine additional cosmetics to match the level of performance and individual style of players, says the company. For more information, visit wilson.com.
New Sharapova Ad Promotes the Sport
Facilities now have a new weapon in their marketing arsenal — Maria Sharapova. She’s the latest superstar to promote the sport of tennis to attract new and former players as part of an industry-wide initiative for Tennis Welcome Centers, the Tennis Industry Association and the USTA announced. Any location interested in becoming a TWC and receiving free marketing materials and national promotion on their facility and programs, including the Sharapova ad to use locally and a Sharapova poster to display, can register at Partners.TennisWelcomeCenter.com. The marketing campaign for TWCs includes print advertisements, broadcast spots for TV and radio, and promotion on the internet. For more information, visit TennisWelcomeCenter.com or contact the TIA at 843-686-3036.
Gould, 8 Others Inducted Into ITA Collegiate Hall of Fame
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association inducted nine new members into its ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame on May 24 during the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships at Stanford University.
The Class of 2006 consists of coaches Dick Gould (Stanford) and Bill Wright (California and Arizona), and players Jeff Borowiak (UCLA), Tom Edlefsen (Southern California), Dan Goldie (Stanford), Matt Mitchell (Stanford), Jared Palmer (Stanford), Richey Reneberg (SMU), and Ferdie Taygan (UCLA).
Stanford’s Gould highlights this year’s ceremonies. Gould is widely regarded as not only the top collegiate tennis coach of all time, but among the best in any college sport. He guided the Cardinal to a record 17 NCAA team championships while coaching 10 NCAA singles champions and seven doubles champs during his 38 years at the helm.
ASBA, USTA Release Tennis Courts Construction Manual
The fourth edition of Tennis Courts: A Construction & Maintenance Manual, is available now from the American Sports Builders Association and the USTA. The manual offers valuable information not just for builders and contractors, but for architects, engineers, court owners, tennis pros, club owners and managers, coaches, park and rec directors, and more.
The 210-page publication includes updated information on all facets of tennis courts — planning and design, including design for different playing populations; construction guidelines; surfacing systems; and accessories and amenities. With more than 50 diagrams and charts and numerous color photos, the new edition also includes an expanded section on court maintenance, court accessories, fencing, landscaping and more.
The manual is available through the ASBA or the USTA for $39.95, plus shipping and handling. You can order online at sportsbuilders.org.
New Book Deals With Issues of Turning Pro
Is one of your players considering turning pro? A new book, Taking Your Tennis on Tour: The Business, Science and Reality of Going Pro, may be just what they, and you, need.
The book, by Bonita L. Marks, guides players, coaches, and parents through the nuts and bolts of turning pro, covering topics such as the college-to-pro transition, creating a sponsorship program, marketing yourself, filing taxes, developing a business plan, mental and physical toughness, and much more. It also features stories and insights from former and current pro players and coaches.
It’s available through Racquet Tech Publishing for $19.95. Visit usrsa.com or call 760-536-1177.
Lejay Distributes New Sun Protective Apparel Line
Lejay is distributing a new line of sun protective activewear — called Sun-B-Wear — set to launch this summer. Each of the garments, made with a silky Meryl nylon and Lycra blend, provides an SPF of 30 or higher, says the company. The breathable, lightweight fabric is designed to keep moisture away from the skin and is machine washable and crease-resistant. The line also boasts features such as extended sleeves with thumb holes to protect the hands and a built-in sun visor. For more information, visit www.sunbwear.com or email email@example.com.
USTA Organizational Member Starter Kit Offered for Clubs
The USTA has distributed more than 2,100 “Starter Kits” for clubs that are Organizational Members, designed to encourage individuals to join the USTA. The kit includes a framed poster highlighting benefits available to USTA members (including a free 2006 US Open hat upon joining). A plastic holder at the bottom of the poster holds USTA membership application forms. Also included is a USTA Organizational Member banner for display at the club. Clubs interested in joining the USTA as an Organizational Member, and receiving the Starter Kit, should call 800-990-8782.
Tail Shows New Cardio Tennis Apparel
Tail’s new line of Cardio Tennis-specific apparel is scheduled to be shown in July, with delivery slated for November, says company President Andy Varat. Ads being prepared for the launch use the tagline, Put Your Heart Into It! and carry the Cardio Tennis logo and website (CardioTennis.com). For more information, visit tailinc.com or call 800-678-8245.
The Tennis Channel has restructured its senior management team. Departmental vice presidents now reporting directly to CEO Ken Solomon are:
- Larry Meyers, VP Production, who oversees all tournament and original series production.
- Jene Elzie, VP Programming, who will continue to handle all program acquisitions, tournament rights and scheduling.
- Faye Walker, VP Marketing, who heads TTC’s brand, consumer, and ad sales marketing, and creative services.
- Lynn Forbes, VP Web and New Media, who heads the company’s efforts in new media, including web, broadband and wireless.
- Keith Manasco, VP Operations, who maintains all network functions and will now work closely with Solomon and report to CFO Bill Simon.
Wilson Announces New Management For Luxilon and Pro Tour Services
Wilson announced the full integration of the Luxilon business into its existing organization. With the separation from Rodaco International, Wilson will upgrade its players’ services for both Wilson and Luxilon players.
John Lyons, global business director of Wilson Accessories, will manage the day-to-day Luxilon business related to product development and marketing. Michael Wallace, global tour director, will manage all players for both Wilson and Luxilon, along with the regional tour staff throughout the world. Both Lyons and Wallace report to Brian Dillman, general manager of Wilson Racquet Sports.
Wilson and Luxilon equipment will be distributed on-site each year during the four Grand Slams and the Nasdaq-100 Open. Product needs, other than the on-site distribution, will be handled by the Wilson Professional Tour Team.
ASBA Sets December Technical Meeting
The American Sports Builders Association’s Technical Meeting will be Dec. 1 to 4 at the Plaza Hotel and Spa in Daytona Beach, Fla. Attended by builders, manufacturers, suppliers, designers, consultants and more, the ASBA Technical Meeting features educational seminars and presentations offering topics that can help you run your business better. Also, the ASBA trade show is one of the most important in the U.S. for tennis construction. In addition, ASBA certification exams will be held at the Technical Meeting and industry awards are presented.
In other news, the deadline for submitting entries for the ASBA awards program is July 1. To apply for the awards, you must send for an application packet, which are $100 for each entry.
- Five-time Wimbledon champion Bjorn Borg has instructed Bonhams auctioneers of London to sell all of his Wimbledon trophies and two racquets from his 1976 and 1980 finals. The five silver-gilt trophies will be sold on June 21 as one lot, collectively expected to fetch $350,000 to $525,000. In addition, the two Donnay racquets were used to defeat Ilie Nastase in 1976 and John McEnroe in 1980.
- Stanford graduate Patty Fendick-McCain has been named NCAA Division I Tennis Most Outstanding Student-Athlete for her accomplishments in NCAA championships. The honor, which was bestowed as part of the NCAA’s 25th Anniversary of Women’s Championships, takes into account outstanding performances over the past 25 years. Fendick-McCain competed in tennis at Stanford from 1983-87.
- Boyd Tinsley, violinist in the Dave Matthews Band and a huge tennis fan, has composed new theme music that will be used in ESPN2’s coverage of Wimbledon.
- Andrea Hirsch is the new general counsel and chief legal officer at the USTA. In her role, Hirsch will oversee both the legal and human resources departments.
The Tennis Marketplace 2005
The 12-page Tennis Marketplace 2005 year-end executive summary, part of the extensive research done by the Tennis Industry Association, is available for TIA members. The report includes research and market intelligence highlighting macro trends, participation, consumer studies, dealer trends study, pro/specialty retail audit plus data from cost of doing business reports for facilities and retailers. For information on TIA research, call 843-686-3036 or visit tennisindustry.org.
Looking for tennis cards, stationery, posters, or notepads to stock for your shop? Check out Tennispaper.com, which has products that your players may find perfect for teams, leagues, parties, gifts, and more. Online orders ship within two business days. Visit retailers.tennispaper.com, or call 515-245-9516.
USPTA Sets 2006 World Conference on Tennis
The USPTA’s World Conference on Tennis will be Sept. 18 to 23 at the Flamingo Las Vegas. With more than 35 sessions, seminars, and specialty courses, USPTA officials expect the World Conference will attract about 1,500 attendees, including tennis pros and industry leaders.
Also during the conference, the USPTA will hold its International Tennis Championships, board and executive committee meetings, nighttime parties, industry meetings, a tennis-only buying show, awards presentation, and more.
USPTA members, their friends and family, nonmember tennis-teaching professionals, industry leaders, and media are invited to attend the conference. Details, including registration information, will be available soon at uspta.com or by calling 800-877-8248.
- The LBH Group Ltd. has hired three new sales representatives. Jackie McFarlane will be covering Michigan for all LBH brands (Lily’s of Beverly Hills, LBH, Wimbledon, and Fancy Pants). Bobbie Arakawa will be responsible for all the brands in Hawaii. And Joan Schaper will represent all brands in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
- After a year in Austin, the American Sports Builders Association has relocated its offices back to Maryland. The ASBA’s mailing address is now 8480 Baltimore National Pike, No. 307, Ellicott City, Md. 21043. The toll free number remains 866-501-ASBA, and the new local numbers are 410-730-9595 (phone) and 410-730-8833 (fax). Website remains sportsbuilders.org and email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tecnifibre has signed up-and-coming U.S. tennis stars Mary Gambale and Scott Oudsema to three-year contracts playing with Tecnifibre racquets and strings. Gambale, ranked No. 267 on the WTA Tour, will play with the Tecnifibre TFeel 315 racquet and NRG 17 string. Oudsema, ranked a career-high No. 380 on the ATP tour, will play with the Tecnifibre 315 racquet. For information about Tecnifibre products, visit tecnifibre.com.
- Nineteen-year-old rookie Jamea Jackson went 2-0 in singles to lead the U.S. Fed Cup team to a 3-2 upset over host Germany in the quarterfinals. The U.S. will face Belgium in the semifinals July 12-13 at a site to be selected by the Belgian tennis federation. The U.S. leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup titles, but has not won the event since 2000.
- Bak Bord Co. of San Antonio, Texas, has returned to its original name, Bakko Backboards. The company’s long relationship with Nick Bollettieri has ended. For more information, contact 800-445-2673.
- Klip is offering a special on wristbands and headbands, both made of 100 percent cotton and feature the Klip logo in black. The headband is sold in a single pack, and the wristband in a two-pack. Until Aug. 31, buy six packs and get one at no charge, buy 12 and get 3 free, or buy 24 and get 8 free. Contact 866 KLIP USA or klipstrings.com.
- The ATP has launched a new broadband media service for the nine ATP Masters Series tournaments, which will include highlights of marquee matches, exclusive post-match interviews, profiles and weekly blogs, behind-the-scenes tourney features, live commentary, and more. To sign up for the service, which is $69.95 for all nine ATP Masters Series events or $8.95 for individual tournaments, visit atpmastersseries.tv.
- Harold Solomon, the director of tennis at the Harold Solomon International Tennis Academy, is using SlingHopper ball bags at his academy.
- The International Tennis Hall of Fame is calling for nominations for its induction Class of 2007. Printable nomination forms are available at tennisfame.com.
- The Pilot Pen Tennis Family Classic will again be held during the pro Pilot Pen Tennis US Open Series tournament, Aug. 18 to 26 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Through July, tennis facilities in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts conduct tournaments in parent-child and husband-wife divisions, and the winning duos have the chance to play at the Connecticut Tennis Center during the pro event.
- The United States won three of the four team titles at the 2006 North/Central America & Caribbean Regional Championships for the Junior Davis Cup (16-and-under) & Junior Fed Cup (16-and-under) by BNP Paribas, and the World Junior Tennis competitions (14-and-under), which took place in May in Mexico. The U.S. teams won the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup divisions as well as the boys’ World Junior Tennis, while the girls’ World Junior Tennis team finished second to Canada.
Babolat Offers New Line of Tennis Shoes
Babolat, which first jumped into the shoe market last fall with the Team All Court, worn by Andy Roddick, has six shoe models for spring and summer.
The range of shoes includes the Team line, which Babolat says are durable, high-performance competition models, and the Pure line, offering additional comfort for recreational players. Highlighting the Babolat collection is the new Team All Court Roddick, designed for and currently used by Roddick.
All six shoes feature outsoles developed exclusively with tire maker Michelin. Babolat says the shoes, designed for all-court use, optimize lateral movement and offer stability and better reaction time with its “Exact — the Shoe Energizer” technology. The models also have Babolat’s Vibrakill, a shock-absorber in the heel.
The new models are: Team All Court Men ($99 retail), Team All Court Roddick ($109) (not shown), Team All Court Lady ($89), Pure All Court Men ($79), Pure All Court Lady ($75), and Team All Court Junior ($54) (not shown).
For more information, visit babolat.com or call 877-316-9435.
USRSA member classifieds
Racquet Technician Needed: Very active tennis specialty shop in the Orlando, Florida, area (Winter Park) needs a really good RT. Prefer MRT but will consider any RT that is quality conscience and loves to string for both beginners and pros. You must interact well with customers and be well versed in string and racquet technology and terminology. Fax or e-mail resume to: John Gugel, MRT, email@example.com 407-673-9200
FOR SALE: Babolat Star 3: Completely Reconditioned by Tennis Machines Inc. $2800 Firm + Shipping. Please Contact Russ Sheh @ 760-318-0580.
FOR SALE: Ektelon Model DE Stringing Machine. Unused for 10 years. Needs to be refurbished, $200. Please Contact James Wahl @ 678-762-1466.
ITA Names Div. II Award Winners
Matias Oddone of Drury College in Missouri has been named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s Senior Player of the Year in Division II.
Other Division II men’s national award winners are Brenton Bacon, a freshman at Ferris State, Rookie Player of the Year; David Zink, Armstrong Atlantic State, Player To Watch; and Sebastian Niedermayer of Eckerd as the Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winner. Amine Boustani of Drury received the Wilson/ITA Men’s Tennis National Coach of the Year Award.