Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

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.”

Steve Bellamy

“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 WTA ball

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

Separate Head Sizes
1 Babolat Pure Drive Team (MP) $164
2 Wilson nSix-One (16×18) (MS) $165
3 Prince O3 White (MP) $187
4 Wilson N3 (OS) $212
5 Prince O3 Blue (OS) $223
Combined Head Sizes
1 Babolat Pure Drive Team $164
2 Wilson nSix-One $164
3 Prince O3 White $187
4 Head Flexpoint Radical $167
5 Wilson N3 $212

(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

Tennis Racquet Performance

Specialty Stores, January-March, 2006 vs. 2005

Units 2006 132,347
2005 116,632
% Change vs. ‘05 13%
Dollars 2006 $17,796,000
2005 $15,834,000
% Change vs. ‘05 12%
Average Price 2006 $134
2005 $136
% 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.

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.

For more on Classic Turf, visit classicturf.org, email sales@classicturf.org, or call 800-246-7951.

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.”

Jimmy Connors DVD

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 Gypsy Rose
Wilson Divine Iris

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

Sharapova ad

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

Tennis court 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

Taking Your Tennis on Tour

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 Sun-B Wear

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 info@sunbwear.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.

TTC Restructures

The Tennis Channel

The Tennis Channel has restructured its senior management team. Departmental vice presidents now reporting directly to CEO Ken Solomon are:

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

ASBA

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.

For more information, or to join the ASBA, visit sportsbuilders.org, email info@sportsbuilders.org, or call 866-501-ASBA.

Peoplewatch

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.

Tennispaper

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

USPTA

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.

Short Sets

Babolat Offers New Line of Tennis Shoes

Babolat Team All Court Men Babolat Pure All Court Lady
Babolat Team All Court Lady Babolat Pure All Court Men

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, johngugel@tennisrocks.net 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.

 

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