Tennis Industry magazine

 

A Profitable Future for All

By Dave Haggerty

Tennis is an amazing sport. Think about it — what other sport combines all the positives that you find in tennis. It’s fun to play, it keeps you fit and healthy, it’s a very social sport, yet it can be extremely competitive, you can play it with friends and family, you can play it as an individual or on a team. I’m sure you can list many more reasons to love this sport.

Those of us who work in the tennis business are especially fortunate, particularly at this time in tennis’s development. Each year for the last four years, this business has been improving — participation is up, equipment sales are up, play occasions are up and there is a lot of positive momentum.

All of this is a testament to the power of working together — and that’s the advantage that the Tennis Industry Association has over many other industries. In the TIA, we’ve been working together for many years — as a group — to develop meaningful programs and initiatives to grow this sport. More than any other participation sport in the U.S., tennis for many years has been developing and strengthening its network. And now, it’s all paying off.

When I became the volunteer president of the TIA in January, I was fortunate to take over the reins of an organization that had been well on its way to boosting tennis participation in the U.S. And some of the latest figures prove that we’re definitely on the right track: In the first quarter of 2007, tennis racquet shipments to all dealers were up 11.5 percent in dollars and nearly 9 percent in units over the same period in 2006. Ball shipments, too, have increased in the first quarter 8.7 percent in units.

Together with our industry partners and by working closely with the USTA, the efforts to grow the game at the grassroots level have intensified. We’ve successfully promoted Tennis Welcome Centers for four straight years, the USTA has greatly expanded its Tennis in the Parks campaign and other programs, and Cardio Tennis, entering its third year, is seeing terrific media attention and success in attracting new and existing players.

But our collaborative spirit in the TIA and the industry as a whole has had other benefits, too. For instance, the TIA has always seen the value of using research (facts) to help determine the right direction for the sport, and we continue to do so. The research we sponsor, with the help of all of our partners and members, goes beyond what any other sport in the U.S. is doing. We use the data to better refine our programs, to make course adjustments when necessary, to keep this sport heading toward a profitable future. This research is also a vital tool for our member companies who use this market intelligence to make better business decisions and monitor the marketplace.

For many years, we’ve emphasized using technology to help better your business, especially in today’s fast-paced, competitive environment, as the TIA is way out ahead in terms of what we’ve developed to help service our members and their businesses. Again, with help from our industry partners, our technological tools have gone a long way toward increasing awareness of and access to this sport — whether it’s searching within the industry on tennisindustry.org; using the tools and services provided at growingtennis.com; using the Find a Game, Find a Facility, Find a Program features the TIA manages on industry and consumer sites; running your business online through TennisConnect.org; looking for drills on CardioTennis.com; or a myriad of other tools and information that can help you run your business.

This focus on technology, along with the flexible, streamlined nature of the TIA, allows us to get things done quickly. We’re not afraid to take action, to try — or adjust — various programs, or to put our money behind what we think will help grow this sport.

And importantly, none of this would be possible without all of our industry partners. Yes, the members of the TIA are, on the outside, fierce competitors with one another, but when we come together for the good of the game, we’re able to put aside any differences or company agendas, and work strategically for the good of tennis.

The millions of dollars that the TIA, USTA, and other partners have put into the collaborative bucket to grow the game has made a huge difference in the sport, and it’s making a difference in your business, too.

TIA President Dave Haggerty is the CEO of Head USA, President of Penn Racquet Sports, and on the USTA Board of Directors. He’s been in the tennis business for nearly 35 years.

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About the Author

Dave Haggerty  is the CEO of Head USA, President of Penn Racquet Sports, on the USTA Board of Directors, and he is President of the TIA. He's been in the tennis business for nearly 35 years.

 

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