Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

Information to help you run your business.

Former Tour Pro Joins Wilson

Former professional player Tracy Almeda-Singian is the new grassroots promotions manager for Wilson Sporting Goods. Almeda-Singian was most recently the head pro at the Kiwi Tennis Club in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla. She will be based in Chicago.

“I’m looking forward to being part of the Wilson team,” Almeda-Singian says. She has been at Kiwi since 2002. Almeda-Singian played professionally on the WTA Tour, and was ranked among the top 160 in the world.

While at Kiwi, Almeda-Singian created and ran two charity events: The MIMA Foundation USTA Pro Tennis Classic and the Rally With Roddick event. The last MIMA event raised $90,000, and the Roddick event raised more than $300,000, she said.

Olympus Is New Title Sponsor of US Open Series

The USTA and Olympus America Inc. signed a six-year deal in January that will make Olympus the first-time worldwide title sponsor of the US Open Series and a US Open Corporate Champion. The deal represents the most comprehensive sponsorship partnership in Olympus’ history, officials said.

Olympus is now the first title sponsor of the US Open Series — the eight-week North American summer season linking 10 tournaments to the US Open. The Series will now be renamed the “Olympus US Open Series.”

Under the deal, Olympus will be integrated into all television broadcasts of the Series and will receive prominent on-court presence at all Series events as well as at the US Open. The Series currently receives more than 75 hours of live national television on ESPN, CBS and NBC, with an additional 100 plus hours of coverage on Tennis Channel.

“This new partnership represents another milestone for the US Open Series and the sport of tennis in North America,” said Arlen Kantarian, the USTA’s CEO of Professional Tennis.

As part of the partnership, the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, which tracks the weekly standings of players in the race to qualify for bonus prize money at the US Open, will be renamed the “Olympus US Open Series Challenge.”

Bälle de Mätch Moves to Chicago, Names CFO

Tennis apparel brand Bälle de Mätch recently moved from Southern California to Chicago in order to better service its increasing customer base, says the company, adding that over the last three years, sales have nearly quadrupled.

The company has also named industry veteran Paul Zalatoris as its new CFO. Zalatoris, who’s been in the tennis business for nearly 20 years, spent most of his career at Wilson. Most recently, he was the general manager for Tecnifibre USA.

“Paul is a real asset to Bälle de Mätch because of his industry experience and his strong financial and operational background,” says Bälle de Mätch co-owner and partner John Embree. “I am delighted to have my former colleague on our team as we relocate our operations and implement our aggressive growth plans for the future.”

“This is a great opportunity to be a part of a young, progressive company that’s willing to make the investment in order to grow,” said Zalatoris, who will work from the new headquarters in downtown Chicago. The company’s distribution center is in Naperville, Ill. Visit balledematch.com for more information.

Join the TIA Retail Sales Tracking Panel

Each month a panel of key tennis retailers provides the TIA with important sales data to help manufacturers keep track of retail sales trends. Their data is confidential and is only used to build a national sample.

The members of this important panel receive reports that compare their sales to the national panel, plus other important and useful reports. There is also a financial incentive if you meet the criteria to be a panel member. To become a member of the panel, contact Maggie Lawliss at maggie.lawliss@sportsmarketingsurveys.com, or call 802-372-9994.

HEAD Delivers Performance Shoes

Head’s launch of its new performance footwear “has exceeded all of our expectations,” says Greg Mason, senior business manager for HEAD Penn.

“We planned on starting small, and in the first two months of pre-booking, we’ve already booked more than we originally planned for the entire year,” Mason adds. “The retailer response has been very positive about the product, and retailers are just as excited about the approach that fits their business needs.”

The line has three models: Prestige ($109.99 retail), Extreme ($99.99) and Tour ($79.99). All models are available to retailers at once.

Extreme

Prestige

Tour

Mason says the Head footwear program supports retailers in a number of ways, offering these key elements:

The new performance tennis shoes also include features like a Comfort Grid cushioning technology, a “Climate Control” cooling system, and a radial and hybrasion outsole with a six-month durability guarantee. For more information, contact 800-289-7366 or visit head.com.

Unique, Babolat Settle Grip Dispute

Unique Sports Products says the Tourna-Grip Light Blue Color is now an indisputable USA trademark. Babolat and Unique Sports recently settled a five-year legal dispute, and Babolat, along with all other racquet manufacturers, acknowledge the Tourna Grip Light Blue Color trademark, says Gene Niksich, president of Unique Sports Products.

The unique Light Blue Color for Tourna Grip has been used and recognized by consumers and professionals since 1977, Niksich adds. For more information, visit uniquesports.us or call 800-554-3707.

Prince Launches Online Promotions

Prince has launched two new online promotions designed to give players and fans the chance to win a host of free products and prizes, including the company’s newest O3 performance racquets, its Recoil string, and a Nintendo Wii gaming system complete with custom Prince Wii tennis racquets.

Prince is giving away prizes every week throughout the year. To enter either the “Click to Win” or “Show Us Your O Face” contest — or both — go to princetennis.com. (No purchase necessary to enter.) The “Show Us Your O Face” promotion, in which players send in photos of themselves for a chance to win, will showcase images of fist-pumping players from tennis courts around the world.

DTL Enters Apparel Market

Houston-based DTL Down The Line Sportswear Inc. has launched a line featuring coordinating separates in six styles of tops and three styles of skirts. DTL says its goal is to blend high-performance fabric and styles in tennis and fitness apparel for women and juniors, but without the high price tag, and without sacrificing individualized customer service.

Manufactured in the U.S., DTL’s “Performance Court Couture” will be sold through the website at dtlsport.com and through the company’s Courtside Representative program. DTL was founded by Carla Hilbig.

USPTA Sets Certification Exams

The USPTA has scheduled more than 140 teaching pro certification exam dates nationwide in 2008. The exam includes an on-court evaluation of tennis strokes and playing skills, stroke and grip analysis, private and group lesson instruction, and other skills needed in the tennis-teaching profession. The exam also includes a two-hour written test covering teaching, playing and business management skills, rules, club activity programming and other topics.

The exam process also offers a Certification Review Course that covers test topics. The course is also useful to current USPTA members who wish to review specific exam areas before upgrading their certification ratings. CRC topics include student psychology, developing student rapport, class organization, lesson progression and a review of teaching techniques.

To view the full schedule, visit uspta.org. Advanced registration is required. To register for an upcoming exam or for more details, contact 800-877-8248 or membership@uspta.org. The total fee for the exam and CRC application is $175, plus prorated USPTA membership dues.

USPTA Pros Raise Nearly $7 Million for Charity

In 2007, USPTA teaching pros raised $6.8 million for charity through the association’s Lessons for Life program. “Our goal was $5 million, so our members really went above and beyond to raise money,” says Paula Scheb, Lessons for Life chairwoman and director of tennis and fitness at Bonita Bay Club in Bonita Springs, Fla. A variety of charities benefit each year from the USPTA’s Lessons for Life program, including the American Cancer Society, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Scripps Stevens Cancer Center, and many other national and local charities.

“Our members have truly demonstrated that giving to worthwhile charities is a high priority and something they take very seriously,” says Scheb, secretary/treasurer of the USPTA national board of directors.

Lessons for Life became USPTA’s national charitable program in 1999. The USPTA and its members have raised about $32 million since the program’s inception. Through this program, the USPTA encourages its members to use tennis as a vehicle to help others through fundraisers and other activities in their communities.

USTA Foundation Offers Online Giving

The USTA Tennis & Education Foundation, the philanthropic and charitable entity of the USTA, now offers an easy way to access information and support the Foundation’s mission to use tennis to help children pursue their goals and dreams. A new website, foundationgiving.usta.com, allows visitors to make donations and to find out more about the foundation.

“We are thrilled to be offering people a more convenient method of learning about and supporting our programs,” says Karen Martin Eliezer, executive director of the USTA T&EF. “We still welcome the traditional payment methods, but we also realize that online giving will help increase our donor base as well as donations for all of our programs.” All donations are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.

Established in 1994, the USTA Tennis & Education Foundation promotes — through tennis — educational excellence, good citizenship and self-improvement to at-risk and other special needs youth. The Foundation awards hundreds of scholarships and supports new initiatives that reach out to inner-city youth. It also supports community tennis programs that link tennis with education.

Member Classifieds

WANT TO BUY: 4-3/8 Wilson Hammer 6.2/110 (Dual Taper Beam) in good shape. Pay $30/$50 coachmayer@hiline.net H(956)-421-2886 C(956)-605-5300 (If other# busy.)

FOR SALE: Babolat Star 4 Stringing Machine. Excellent condition, $2000 plus shipping. Contact Chip @ 505-266-2572 or 505-299-8085

FOR SALE: Babolat Star V Stringing Machine, 6 months old with extended 5 year warranty. $2800 plus shipping. Contact Chip @ 505-266-2572 or 505-299-8085

FOR SALE: Brand New Four Court Tennis Structure “Bubble” — still in original packaging — Brand New 4 court Tennis Bubble. Manufactured by Membrane Structure Solutions. Zoning prohibited us from using this bubble. Our loss is your gain. 2008 bubble prices range from $375,000–$450,000. Our bubble is on sale for $345,000 obo, which includes free delivery and free installation. Price includes all doors, the blowers, lighting, cables, all hardware, and heating unit. Please call if you have any questions. I will be glad to discuss the particulars of this structure with you. Jim — 615-812-1590

Outback Champions Series Adds 2 Events

The Outback Champions Series has added events in Arizona and the Cayman Islands to its 2008 schedule. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Championships at Surprise, Ariz., joins The Residences At The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman Legends Championships as the newest events on the schedule, which now features eight tournaments.

The 2008 Outback Champions Series schedule is as follows:

2008 GSS Symposium

Starting a New Business?

Starting a new business can be intimidating. You have an idea. You have the knowledge. You have the desire. But how do you put things in motion? Maybe you’ve already started a business, but how do you to take it to the next level?

If you find yourself in either position, the “Garage to Store Front” seminar at the 2008 Grand Slam Stringers Symposium presented by USRSA will provide a good start. Industry veteran Bob Patterson will take you through the steps to plan and initiate starting a new business or growing an existing one.

“Many successful pro shops and tennis stores started out as home-based businesses, including my own,” says Patterson. “In the seminar, we concentrate on formulating a good plan and focus on how to properly implement the plan.”

Jeremy Plumley from Bethesda, Md., has seen an increase in stringing revenues since attending the 2007 event. “The event was very professionally organized and run,” says Plumley. “The ability to learn and network with the top stringers and vendors in the industry was invaluable. The information that I learned from the seminar leaders and fellow attendees has almost doubled the stringing revenue at my club in the first year!”

“If anyone is thinking of starting a new stringing business,” adds Charmagne Fraser of Virginia Beach, Va., who attended the 2007 event, “it would be crazy for them not to spend two or three days soaking up valuable knowledge from the best in the business. I will definitely attend again in 2008.”

The 2008 GSS Symposium will be Oct. 11-14 in Orlando, Fla. For more information and to register, visit gssalliance.com.

Babolat Introduces New Propulse Shoes

Babolat introduces two new high-performance tennis shoes — the 2008 Propulse for men and the Propulse Lady for women — which are available in March.

The Propulse, Andy Roddick’s signature shoe, has all the same innovative technological features as its predecessor, such as Exact Pro, which the company says aids in quick reaction for recovery and rebound, Michelin OCS for traction, and an improved Michelin Hi-Tech outsole to resist abrasion. Suggested retail is $120.

The new Propulse Lady features a women’s last, which Babolat says is thinner and better suited for the shape of a woman’s foot. Cosmetics are white with touches of turquoise blue. Suggested retail is $110. For more information, visit babolat.com or call 877-316-9435.

Imperial, ‘The Girls’ Renew License

Imperial Headwear has renewed its license with “The Girls,” a line of hats that features stylized characters depicting the leisure passions and hobbies of women and includes “Tennis Girl” and “Golf Girl,” among others. “The Girls continues to be an iconic symbol of self-expression,” says artist and creator Melissa Gitelman. “We find that women identify themselves through their passions, even if their particular hobby is a niche market — they like being able to announce what they love to do.” The Girls headwear is available for wholesale purchases at 800-950-1916, or purchase single units by visiting imperialforyou.com.

DecoTurf Used for Fed Cup Match

DecoTurf’s 100 percent acrylic tennis surface DecoColor was the surface of choice for the Fed Cup quarterfinal held Feb. 2-3 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in California. The U.S. defeated Germany 4-1 in the match.

The USTA constructed a temporary stadium for the match. DecoTurf teamed with tennis court contractor CH Court Tech of Spring Valley, Calif., to install the DecoColor surface. The USTA chose DecoColor US Open Blue for the inbounds playing area, and DecoColor US Open Green for the out of bounds surface, the same colors used at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, site of the US Open.

For more information about DecoTurf, visit decoturf.com or call 800-225-1141 or 978-623-9980.

Ektelon Frames Offer Custom Options

Ektelon’s three new O3 racquetball racquets — the O3 Copper, O3 White and O3 Ruben Gonzalez (RG) — were launched last spring, incorporating the company’s new Total Racquet Customization.

O3 Copper

O3 White

O3 Ruben Gonzalez

According to Roland Grassl, Ektelon’s product technology coordinator, each racquet includes a set of four Power Plug inserts for individual swing weight adjustments. Also, the O3 Copper comes with Power Ring Inserts.

In addition, each frame has multiple string pattern options for string-bed customization. The result is that players can “fine-tune” their racquets depending on power, stability, weight and balance preferences, says Grassl. USRSA members can find pattern instructions for all three frames at racquettech.com.

“Customization is a huge story,” says Ektelon General Manager Scott Winters. “We know each player has his own personal preference when it comes to how power, weight and balance are incorporated into the racquet.”

The small, thermoplastic Power Plugs can be inserted into the 12 o’clock O-ports to change the weight and balance of the frame. Every two plugs increases the racquet’s power level by 100 points and its weight by 3 grams. The O3 Copper comes with two interchangeable Power Ring Insert throat pieces to allow players the opportunity to string the racquet four ways.

When customizing the frames, Grassl says:

For questions about the technology, contact Grassl at racer@socal.rr.com or through the teamektelon.com forum. For more on the racquets, call 800-283-2635 or visit ektelon.com.

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