Every year, the players bring their best games to Flushing Meadows, and so do tennis manufacturers.
More than 640,000 fans swarmed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the two weeks of the 2006 US Open. In addition to the hundreds of matches on court, there was plenty of action off the court, too, in the many vendor booths set up on site. Will the tennis shopping trends of consumers who attended the world’s largest Grand Slam be indicative of consumer preferences for the rest of the country? It’s hard to say, but we asked tennis retailers who staffed booths at the NTC what the big winners were for US Open fans.
Bolle’s Sports Performance collection performed well at the Open, according to booth personnel. In particular, the Competivision Series for tennis did so well that when we visited, they were sold out of the model, expecting a new shipment the next day.
Head says its Airflow line of racquets for women, launched in July, not only did well at the Open, but has been selling well throughout the country. Also, at the Open, the Metallix 10 racquet was popular with fans, as was the Tour Team and Flexpoint racquet bags.
Big sellers at Lacoste included the popular white hat with crocodile logo, and both men’s and women’s T-shirts with the croc symbol and “New York Tennis” logos. Also, Andy Roddick polos moved well. Women favored the long-sleeve stretch pique polo in green.
At Nike, “anything the players were wearing was selling,” said store personnel. Nike shoes did well with Open fans, as did the Maria Sharapova-inspired “I Feel Pretty” line of shirts. And while the Serena Williams apparel selections drew extreme opinions, the skirts and tops did well in New York.
Anything in white hopped off the shelves at the large Polo Ralph Lauren store, from track jackets and pants in all styles to shirts. A return to the “prep” look capitalized on the white trend in a big way. And any piece with the signature Polo pony was popular with consumers.
The crowds at the Wilson store seemed to be buying everything from grips and string to shirts and racquets. And Wilson’s women’s W line of racquets seemed to be doing especially well. Shipments were replenished daily. According to one store manager, “Everyone wants what Roger Federer plays with,” and accordingly, the nSix-One Tour 90 nCode racquet, plus strings, were champion sellers.
The big surprise at Yonex, said booth personnel, was the popularity of their shoes and shirts, which aren’t available in many retail outlets. Grip tape made the big seller list at the Open, as well as the RDS-001 racquet in the 98-square-inch head size and the RQS-11 racquet in 100 square inches.
Photos by Bob Kenas
See all articles by Cynthia Sherman
About the Author
Cynthia Sherman is a contributing editor for RSI magazine.
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