Tennis Industry magazine


Keep Your Business Rolling

By Peter Francesconi

When it comes to tennis balls, some dealers just don’t get it. They treat the product almost with a kind of contempt. True, you may not be making a huge percentage of your income selling tennis balls, but the product is critical to your business — in so many ways.

I was talking recently to Jason Collins, Wilson’s global business director for tennis balls, and he said something that made me think about what selling balls means to a tennis business — or rather, should mean to a business. “We encourage our dealers not to fall into thinking, ‘It’s just a tennis ball,’” said Collins. He went on to note that not only are there differences among brands, but within a brand, the different balls offered are all designed to help players find the right product for the courts they’re going to play on.

That, fundamentally, is why you need to pay attention to the kind of tennis balls you stock for your shop. If you offer the wrong type of ball to your customers, or don’t stock a variety that allows them to choose the right product for their game, they’ll simply look elsewhere. And, as you probably know, players frequently complain about the balls they use — probably because they weren’t able to find the ideal ball for the courts and conditions.

But marketing tennis balls goes well beyond simply selling cans in your shop. It’s a pretty safe bet that tennis balls will bring people into your shop more times than any other product. (In the U.S., as Collins mentioned to me, the expectation is that players will pretty much open a new can of tennis balls for each match or day out on the courts. In Europe, the attitude is a bit different — they play more matches with the same can of balls.) This means that if you stock the right tennis balls in your shop, customer traffic will increase, and you’ll have more opportunities to sell customers more products.

In this issue, we have stories about the all-important tennis ball, including some tips on how to sell them (page 18) and our first-ever test of tennis balls (page 20), in which we put 26 different kinds of balls from eight manufacturers through their paces, both in the lab and on the court. And we take a tour of the Penn ball manufacturing plant in Phoenix (page 26).

Tennis balls may command a small price from consumers, but they pack a powerful punch for your business.

Peter Francesconi

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.



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