Tennis Industry magazine

 

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Industry News

Information to help you run your business.

Jim Baugh To Leave TIA At the End of 2006

Jim Baugh

Jim Baugh says he will leave his position as president of the Tennis Industry Association at the end of 2006. He also has decided not to run for re-election to the board of directors for the USTA.

Baugh’s decision to leave the tennis industry comes in the wake of positive news about tennis’s growth over the last three years, as participation, frequent play, and equipment and apparel sales are all up, according to the USTA and TIA. In addition, SGMA research shows that tennis has been the only traditional sport to grow from 2000 to 2005, up 10.3 percent in participation.

But Baugh, who began his career as a phys ed teacher, now will have the opportunity to reach a much larger audience with his message of physical fitness. He will devote more time to PE4LIFE, a foundation he started six years ago designed to help kids create healthy habits for life through physical activity at school, and he will pursue consulting opportunities.

“It’s been exciting to see the growth of tennis in the U.S. over the last three years, the successful launch of Cardio Tennis, and the further positive developments with TIA partners such as the USTA, teaching organizations, and other aligned partners,” Baugh says.

“Our accomplishments … have made it obvious that it is time to move on to pursue other personal ventures and interests that I believe in,” he adds. “I am proud to say the sport of tennis is in a much better position now than it was a few years ago.”

Baugh, whose distinguished career in tennis includes executive positions at Prince and Wilson, has served as the paid president of the TIA since January 2004. The TIA presidency is expected to return to a rotating volunteer position in 2007.

“We wish Jim continued success in his personal pursuits and appreciate all he has done for the industry over his career in the tennis business,” says TIA Chairman Dave Haggerty. Executive Director Jolyn de Boer will continue to lead the TIA. She serves at the direction of the TIA board and executive committee.

“The TIA will continue to focus on growing participation and on ensuring the economic vitality of the tennis industry,” de Boer says. “As the source for industry news and research, we are dedicated to providing our members with benefits such as participation research, industry trade shipments, market trends, retail audits, and other important research. We will maintain our focus on Tennis Welcome Centers, Cardio Tennis, and the use of technology to better service the needs of our membership.”

“I want to thank all those who have made my jobs easier,” Baugh said in a recent email to friends and colleagues, “especially the thousands of tennis professionals and facility operators who are so critical in the growth of the game.

“Tennis should easily grow beyond year 2010 goals of 30 million players and 6 million frequent players if everyone continues to work together, consistently supports key programs, and most importantly, keeps the focus on building the brand that supports all of us … T.E.N.N.I.S.”

USTA Renames NTC in Honor Of Billie Jean King

In a special tribute on the Aug. 28 Opening Night of the 2006 US Open, the USTA officially renamed the world’s largest public tennis park the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The honor, which was announced in early August, pays tribute to the tennis legend and trailblazer whose pioneering efforts helped change the sport of tennis and launch the drive for gender equality in sports and society. King, one of the most celebrated athletes in history, is recognized for spearheading the women’s movement in tennis by fighting for equal rights in the sport.

King began playing tennis in the public parks of Long Beach, Calif., and has been a pioneer on and off the court. She founded the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973 and the Women’s Sports Foundation in 1974. She also is the co-founder of World TeamTennis. Her dedication to advancing women’s opportunities in sports helped lead to the passage of Title IX legislation.

For her many achievements, King was named by Life magazine one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century,” and placed No. 5 on Sports Illustrated’s “Top 40 Athletes.”

“This obviously is a great honor for me,” says King. “This outstanding facility is a public park, a place where everyone can come and enjoy our wonderful sport. It is truly humbling that this will link me with Arthur Ashe [for whom the main stadium is named], with whom I celebrated many experiences and shared dreams of the future for this great sport. I know this will continue to be a place where present and future generations of players come out, pick up a racquet, learn a sport, and dare to dream big and go for it.”

ASBA Technical Meeting Set for Daytona Beach

ASBA

If you’re a court builder and haven’t yet marked your calendar to attend the 2006 Technical Meeting of the American Sports Builders Association, do it now. The meeting will be Dec. 1-4 at the Plaza Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Judging by the excellent program at past ASBA Technical Meetings, this year’s version is sure to be full of information that can help your business, including presentations, opportunities to network, and a trade show.

Details of the meeting should be available in early September. Information will be sent out automatically to all ASBA members; non-members can request information by calling 866-501-ASBA, or visit www.sportsbuilders.org.

USTA Launches US Open Series ‘Legacy Program’ To Refurbish Courts

The USTA has launched the US Open Series Legacy Program, an initiative to refurbish public tennis courts in the communities that host US Open Series tournaments. The renovated courts will be in the “US Open Blue” color to appear like the courts at the US Open and USOS events.

In its first year, the Legacy Program will take place in three USOS markets: Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and New Haven, Conn. The three public parks that will be renovated and resurfaced are Griffith Park in L.A., Ryan Park in Cincinnati, and East Shore Park in New Haven.

The USTA says the program will complement the Tennis in the Parks initiative, which seeks to grow the game and increase participation by helping to fund public parks facility enhancements, renovations, and new construction projects.

Tecnifibre R&D Adds Po-Jen Cheng

Po-Jen Cheng

Tecnifibre announces that racquet research and development specialist Po-Jen Cheng has been hired as a consultant for Tecnifibre tennis and squash racquets. Cheng has over 18 years of experience working with all facets of racquet design.

Most of Cheng’s time in the industry has been with Wilson Sporting Goods, where he was director of R&D responsible for developing many of that company’s racquets and technologies. He will work with both the U.S.- and France-based Tecnifibre team.

“We are very fortunate to have one of the best in the industry to work with us as we develop our racquet business,” says Paul Zalatoris, general manager for Tecnifibre. “Po-Jen’s experience and knowledge is what our company needs to accelerate our entry and growth into this market.”

Zalatoris says Cheng has been consulting with Tecnifibre since the beginning of the year and that the company is about to launch two new racquets, the first ones that will have Cheng’s input. For more information, visit tecnifibre.com, or contact Paul@Tecnifibreusa.com or 877-332-0825.

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, January-June 2006

Separate Head Sizes Combined Head Sizes
1 Babolat Pure Drive Team (MP) $163
2 Prince O3 White (MP) $187
3 Wilson nSix-One (16 × 18) (MS) $163
4 Prince O3 Blue (OS) $222
5 Wilson N3 (OS) $212
1 Babolat Pure Drive Team $163
2 Prince O3 White $187
3 Wilson nSix-One $162
4 Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet $162
5 Head Flexpoint Radical $165

(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

Tennis Racquet Performance

Specialty Stores, January-June, 2006 vs. 2005

Units 2006
2005
% Change vs. ‘05
333,915
298,067
12%
Dollars 2006
2005
% Change vs. ‘05
$44,035,000
$41,096,000
7%
Average Price 2006
2005
% Change vs. ‘05
$132
$138
-4%

(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

‘Hot New Racquets’ at Specialty Stores*

By year-to-date dollar sales, January-June 2006

  1. Prince O3 White (MP)
  2. Prince O3 Blue (OS)
  3. Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet (MP)
  4. Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet (OS)
  5. Head Flexpoint 4 (OS)

Racquets first sold within the last 12 months.

(Source: TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys)

Letters

Instant Replay: Use It All the Time

To the Editor:

I enjoyed reading Paul Fein and Christopher Noble’s “Your Serve” in the July issue on the Hawk-Eye line-calling system (“Why Player Challenges Are a Bad Call”). To me, the challenge rule is [a] stupid rule.

We first saw how the challenge worked here in Portland, Ore., a few years ago with a rather silly promotion/exhibition called “Superset.” They did have the replay challenge, with the replay shown on the big screen in an instant. I thought the replay was great, and hoped that it would become standard in pro tourneys.

Sure, I can understand every court can’t have one — yet — because it’s too expensive. But when you have it and don’t use it, to me that’s just plain dumb. And it’s not time-consuming to subjectively analyze replays from different angles like in football — it’s instant.

Bob Stewert
Lake Oswego, Ore.

We welcome your letters and comments. Please email them to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.

Tennis Channel Offers DISH Network Deal to Clubs

The Tennis Channel

Tennis facilities considering receiving The Tennis Channel for their players now can do so for $1.99 a month through the DISH Network satellite TV service. The TTC offer is the result of a partnership with EchoStar Communications Corp., which owns DISH Network, and Keypoint Communications.

The offer runs through Sept. 30, 2006. Tennis facilities that subscribe to the DISH Network’s News & Finance package for $28.99 per month can add The Tennis Channel for $1.99 per month. Facilities that do not have DISH Network can receive the same offer, as well as two free receivers and $100 off on installation, by subscribing to DISH. In addition, participating clubs can receive a substantial discount on flat-screen televisions, says TTC.

To promote the offer, TTC launched a marketing campaign targeting more than 3,000 tennis clubs in the U.S. and timed to the US Open. As an added bonus, any club that signs up will receive a Tennis Channel wall clock.

TTC, which offers coverage from 69 top-level tournaments, combines live sports with lifestyle programming, including original series, instruction, equipment, travel, player profiles, news and analysis. In February, DISH began offering consumers The Tennis Channel as part of its America’s Top 180 programming package on Ch. 400.

For more information on the special offers, call 866-650-2405 or visit KeyPointServices.com and click on The Tennis Channel logo. For more on TTC, visit TheTennisChannel.com. For information about DISH Network, go to DISHNetwork.com or call 800-333-DISH (3474).

HEAD Agassi Radical

HEAD to Release Agassi Limited Edition Racquet

HEAD celebrates Andre Agassi’s 20-year tennis career with the release of the Andre Agassi Radical Limited Edition racquet, an exact replica of the original Radical racquet Agassi first started playing with in 1993. Agassi helped make the Radical one of the best-selling racquets worldwide; it was the best-selling model from 1999 to 2004. Each racquet will feature Agassi’s signature on the shaft as well as his Grand Slam titles and the years he won them using the Radical. The black cover bag will feature Agassi’s signature in bright yellow. Each limited-edition racquet includes a serial number and certificate of authenticity. The frames will hit retail in November with a suggested price of $200.

T-Kart Introduces New Teaching Cart

T-Kart

T-Kart Ltd. will introduce it’s first line of teaching carts in October, says company founder Phil Olesen. The teaching carts feature a spring-loaded tray that rises as the balls are taken out, keeping the balls at the top of the cart to aid in feeding students, he adds.

“Our customers will really appreciate how much easier teaching lessons will be with T-Kart,” Olesen says. “This will eliminate the constant bending a pro must do as he gathers balls to feed, especially as he gets to the bottom half of the cart.”

Olesen, who’s been a full-time teaching pro the last 15 years in Texas, says he invented T-Kart for multiple reasons: “First, my back was tired from the constant bending that comes from feeding balls all day. Second, when it came to feeding to a large group, such as a Cardio Tennis class where rapid feeding is required, it became increasingly difficult to feed at a smooth, consistent pace as the balls decreased in the cart. Third, I not only wanted a cart that kept the balls at the top, but could also hold a high capacity. T-Kart can hold up to 450 balls. Last, I wanted a durable cart with quality wheels that would last a long time.”

Ted Murray, owner of the Punta Gorda Club in Florida and member of the National Cardio Tennis Speakers team, says, “The T-Kart makes it easy to feed consistently with the speed and rhythm that is required for Cardio Tennis. It will help any pro improve their feeding in a more relaxed, comfortable, and consistent manner.”

Each cart has 5-inch polypropylene wheels and comes with its own built-in lock and key. Optional beverage holders are available. To order or for more information, call 866-44TKART (448-5278) or visit t-karttennis.com.

USPTA Revamps Find-A-Pro Website

USPTA

The USPTA has revamped its Find-a-Pro website (usptafindapro.com) to make it easier for consumers to find tennis-teaching professionals, for teaching pros to look for jobs, and for employers to post jobs for free.

The new site has expanded search features that allow consumers to not only search by ZIP code, but also to specify a search radius in miles. Consumers can also search by state or by a person’s last name by using the alphabet list. When searching by ZIP, the results are listed from closest to farthest. All other search results are in alphabetical order by member name. There is still a link to members’ USPTA Web sites, so that consumers can find out more about individual tennis-teaching pros.

Find-a-Job’s search features have also been expanded to include a ZIP code search, too. Also, pros looking for a job can now search for more than one type of position at a time.

An addition to Find-a-Job is a link to the USPTA Career Center on uspta.com. This section has sample resumes and interview tips specific to teaching professionals. It also has P.R. tools and USPTA personal website information (a free benefit to USPTA members).

The Post-a-Job layout has been redesigned and is easier to navigate to help employers search for candidates more effectively. There is a link to additional resources, along with a hiring guide, sample work agreement, and sample job description.

Visit uspta.com for more information.

Navratilova, Budge to Enter US Open Court of Champions

Martina Navratilova and the late Don Budge will be inducted into the US Open Court of Champions this year in ceremonies before the US Open men’s final. The tribute will also serve as a retirement tribute to Navratilova.

Navratilova, who turns 50 this year, won the Open singles title four times, and Budge, who died in 2000 at age 84, won the title twice. Navratilova will play doubles this year, her 29th and final US Open before retiring from the pro game. Annual inductees into the Court of Champions are chosen by a panel of international media.

Peoplewatch

Deluxe Club Cart

Oncourt Offcourt Offers ‘Deluxe Club Cart’

The new Deluxe Club Cart, designed by USPTA and PTR Master Professional Joe Dinoffer (who is also an RSI contributing editor), features a lifetime guarantee on its 4-inch wheels, a “back-friendly” feeding height, water bottle and cell phone holder, ball basket hanger, double storage trays, and more.

The cart is available through Oncourt Offcourt, which now offers its own custom-designed ball pick-up and storage product line, including three teaching carts, four ball baskets, and two ball tubes, says Dinoffer.

For wholesale and retail pricing and a free 84-page color catalog, contact 88-TENNIS-11 or visit oncourtoffcourt.com.

Prince String, Footwear Top 2Q Retail Audit of Specialty Stores

Prince string is the No. 1-selling brand in U.S. specialty accounts, according to the TIA/Sports Marketing Surveys Retail Audit Report, increasing its unit share to 28.4 percent in the second quarter.

In addition, Prince Syn Gut with Duraflex has been the No. 1 string on the market since May 2001, when the Tennis Industry Association and Sports Marketing Surveys began tracking tennis string sales and trends. In the second quarter of 2006, Prince Syn Gut with Duraflex had 14.7 percent of unit sales, more than 7 percentage points higher than the closest competitor.

In footwear, Prince holds the No. 1 spot in the $75 to $84.99 range with 24.8 percent of unit sales through the second quarter, according to the retail report. Prince also is the No. 2 footwear brand overall, compiling an 18.3 percent unit share in all sales in 2Q year-to-date.

Bälle de Mätch Offers Cardio Tennis Line

Bälle de Mätch has designed a line of apparel for Cardio Tennis. The clothing will be available late fall 2006. “Cardio Tennis is drawing tennis players out of the gym and onto the court for their workouts,” says John Embree, Bälle de Mätch co-owner and partner. “This is a great program for skilled players, beginners, or anyone just wanting a new way to get in shape and challenge the body. We are proud to be associated with this concept that makes tennis more appealing to a wider range of fitness enthusiasts.”

“Bälle de Mätch will be the first to offer a men’s line of tennis apparel designed for Cardio Tennis,” says TIA President Jim Baugh. “It is great that they see the growth potential of this new program and want to help promote Cardio Tennis even further.” Bälle de Mätch joins Tail and Lejay in offering Cardio Tennis-specific apparel.

Bälle de Mätch dealers can order Cardio Tennis apparel from the Team catalog now for Fall delivery. For more information, contact Embree at 847-729-2497 or JREmbree@comcast.net.

Young, Albanese Win 18s National Titles

Donald Young of Atlanta and Lauren Albanese of Coral Springs, Fla., captured the singles titles at the USTA Boys’ and Girls’ 18s National Hard Court Championships in early August, earning singles wild cards into the US Open.

The country’s top junior players competed in eight different USTA National Championships in early August. Winners are:

TSRs Reach Out to 26,000 in Six Months

Mark McMahon, the USTA’s national manager for Tennis Service Representatives and Tennis Welcome Centers, says the 91 TSRs made more than 6,300 personal visits to tennis facilities, parks, schools, colleges, Community Tennis Associations, NJTLs, and other organizations in the first half of 2006.

“The TSRs have been very visible,” McMahon says, “meeting with over 26,000 different teaching professionals, school coaches, PE teachers, CTA volunteers, and more.”

Industry Vet Egdes Moves to Tennis Channel

The Tennis Channel has hired longtime tennis executive David Egdes as senior vice president, Tennis Industry Relations, and Tennis Channel Open tournament director. Egdes most recently was vice president of World TeamTennis in Los Angeles for five years and has close to 10 years of professional tennis experience as an executive and agent at IMG.

Based in L.A., Egdes will act as a liaison between the network and tennis players, agents, tournament directors, associations, governing bodies, clubs, sponsors, manufacturers, and retailers.

As tournament director for the network’s “Panasonic presents the Tennis Channel Open,” he will oversee all aspects of the annual February event in Las Vegas. He’ll report to TTC Chairman and CEO Ken Solomon.

Short Sets

Ashaway Offers Pre-Packaged Hybrid Strings

Ashaway hybrids

Ashaway Racket Strings offers a range of pre-packaged hybrid strings that the company says is designed to allow tennis players at all levels the ability to custom-tailor the playing characteristics of their racquets. Ashaway’s Crossfire family includes Crossfire MonoGut, which combines a multi-polymer monofilament for mains with synthetic gut crosses, and Crossfire II, 17, and 18, which combine three gauges of Kevlar (aramid) fiber mains with synthetic gut crosses.

“Stringing logs of the Grand Slam tourneys over the past few years have shown an increasing preference for hybrid strings among top pros,” says Steve Crandall, vice president of marketing for Ashaway. “Hybrid stringing allows players to fully customize their string bed to match their game and style of play, and even with the particular type and condition of the court, whether it’s clay, grass or asphalt.”

For information, contact 800-556-7260, email sales@ashawayusa.com, or visit ashawayusa.com.

Philadelphia Wins 2006 WTT Championship

2006 WTT champions

The Philadelphia Freedoms captured the 2006 World TeamTennis championship, ousting the Newport Beach Breakers, 21-14, at the Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach, Calif., in July.

Philadelphia, coached by Craig Kardon, was aided by wins from pros Lisa Raymond, Daniel Nestor, and Rennae Stubbs, who was named Most Valuable Player for the finals. It was the second WTT crown for the Freedoms, who also won the King Trophy in 2001.

In other news, WTT rookie Angela Haynes of the Delaware Smash, and Philadelphia’s Nestor won female and male MVP honors for the WTT pro season. Also, for the third straight year, Wayne Bryan of the Sacramento Capitals was named WTT Coach of the Year.

Classifieds

Tennis professionals needed to take a Caribbean Vacation! You work three hours per day and receive 5-star all inclusive accommodations for yourself and one guest. Contact Denise Cox 678-778-4673; fitbodiesinc.com

FOR SALE: Alpha Edge Electronic Stringing Machine. Turntable upgrade to New Gamma 5800 6 point Quick Mount System and Action clamps. Also included: Original turntable, string clamps, tools, machine stand, manual, and shipping cartons. Well maintained & calibrated. $1,250 plus shipping. Please contact John Zednick USRSA Certifier at 919-859-6788.

Now hiring: tennis racquet stringer with prior stringing experience. Must be reliable and detail oriented. Excellent potential for motivated individual. USRSA certification preferred. Chicago Tennis and Golf Company has been serving the tennis community for the last 18 years. Email: corrine@cgtc.com or call Corrine at 773-588-8884.

FOR SALE: Tecnifibre TF-5500 stringing machine; highly reliable; top condition: about 2 yrs. old: $3,000 including shipping in continental US: Contact Vince Chiarelli, stringalong@tampabay.rr.com or call 727-595-7078.

FOR SALE: Babolat Sensor stringing machine; includes up-to-date modifications on clamp bases; includes badminton kit; top condition; about 4 yrs old; $4,000 including shipping in continental US; Contact Vince Chiarelli, stringalong@tampabay.rr.com or call 727-595-7068.

 


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