Tennis Industry magazine

 

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Industry News

Information to help you run your business.

USTA Offers New ‘Ticket Exchange’ Service for US Open

Under a new partnership with the USTA, TicketsNow, a Ticketmaster company, will operate the only official US Open ticket exchange, where US Open fans can purchase tickets posted for sale by US Open subscribers and other ticket holders in a secure, convenient marketplace. The new deal begins with the 2008 US Open and continues through 2012.

US Open ticket holders who are unable to attend specific sessions can post their tickets for sale — including premium courtside subscriber seating otherwise unavailable to the general public on a single-session basis. Fans can find tickets being offered for resale by logging on to USOpen.org and selecting US Open Ticket Exchange. In addition, fans can access these tickets via Ticketmaster.com and Ticketsnow.com.

“The secondary ticket marketplace has grown significantly in recent years and the time is right to broaden our existing relationship with Ticketmaster and provide a sanctioned and safe means for a fan-to-fan ticket exchange,” says Michelle Wilson, chief marketing officer for the USTA’s Professional Tennis division.

Wilson Launches New Line of Footwear for 2009

Wilson Racquet Sports has launched an entirely new line of tennis footwear for spring 2009. All models in the new line are lighter and faster, says Wilson, without sacrificing stability and durability. Wilson’s three collections for men, women and juniors — Tour, Trance and Pro Staff — target three different consumer groups. The Tour collection is lightweight and breathable with a “glove-like” fit, says the company, while the Trance collection emphasizes durability and stability. The Pro Staff collection is designed for all-around comfort and all-court performance.

“We’re building collections of shoes around specific consumers and player types,” says Sean O’Brien (below), global footwear director for Wilson Racquet Sports. “It’s more about collections, not ‘items.’”

Sean O'Brien

Important in shoe merchandising today is what O’Brien calls “first fit and feel” — which is what a consumer experiences the first time they try on a pair of new shoes. Consumers, he says, want their new shoes to feel good right out of the box.

O’Brien also says Wilson is doing more width-sizing in its tennis shoes, since, “More Americans’ feet are getting wider.”

Wilson shoes

The Tour collection, designed for those who play at a high level, includes the Tour Spin (men’s suggested retail $120), billed as the “ultimate speed shoe,” the Tour II ($110) and Tour Contender ($100). Trance collection shoes are the Trance All Court and Trance II (both $90). And the Pro Staff collection includes the Fusion ($85), Valor ($70), Defender ($60), Classic ($55), Court Pro ($50) and Advantage Court IV ($40).

The new footwear also includes a full offering of junior shoes, starting as small as a youth size 10.5. “We’re making a pretty substantial commitment to junior shoes and junior players,” says O’Brien, adding that the junior shoes are the “adult models brought down to junior sizes.” Wilson also offers two “Hope” models in its women’s Pro Staff collection, in which the company will donate to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation for each purchase of those models.

The new shoe lines begin shipping in the spring. Visit wilsontennis.com or call 800-272-6060 for more information.

Babolat Creates Nadal Junior Racquet Line

Babolat has introduced a line of Nadal Junior racquets for young players ages 4 to 9. The five racquets — the Nadal 100, 110, 125, 140 and 145 — will debut at retail in September. “With this new line of Nadal Junior racquets, we hope to inspire a whole new generation of players to discover and enjoy the game of tennis,” says Eric Babolat, President and CEO of Babolat.

Babolat Nadal Junior

The five racquets are a lightweight aluminum construction and feature the same cosmetics as the top-selling adult Aeropro Drive model used by five-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal. Head sizes, weights and lengths start at 82 square inches, 5.9 ounces and 19 inches for the Nadal 100 and increase for each racquet, up to the 105-square-inch, 9.1-ounce, 26-inch-long Nadal 145. Suggested retail prices start at $24.95. For more information, call 877-316-9435 or visit babolat.com.

Prince Introduces Performance Bag Lines

Prince has introduced two new performance bag collections, which are debuting at this year’s US Open. The Pro Team 100 line and the Sharapova Collection will be carried by players during the Grand Slam tournament.

The Pro Team 100 is the official bag line of Team Prince players. With patent leather accents, the bags are available in two color options, black and green, and black and white. One version will feature for the first time the Prince logo in the updated green colorway accented by silver paneling. The other version will feature a classic white logo. The Pro Team 100 line includes a triple, six- and 12-pack racquet bag, locker bag, wheeled duffle, and backpack.

Prince racquet bags

The Sharapova Collection, inspired by Maria Sharapova, is all-white with black Prince logo and accents. It’s available in a triple and six-pack. For more on both lines, which are available for retail in September, visit princetennis.com.

Match Point Celebrates 35 Years

Wisconsin-based Match Point — which produces tennis scorecards, tournament boards, court numbers and “singles sticks” used across the country by clubs, schools, colleges and parks — is celebrating its 35 anniversary.

Many of the company’s products have been in service for 10 years or more, says Match Point President Jack Hill, a tennis enthusiast who once played on the University of Wisconsin-Madison team.

Match Point

In 1973, Hill, a plastics company executive, designed products for use at his tennis club. The response proved so favorable, he decided to make it a sideline business. “In the 35 years since, the popularity of our tennis products has kept the company thriving,” he says.

For more on the company’s products, visit match-point.biz or call 800-670-4964.

Celebrating 40 Years of the US Open

The Open Book captures the history, excitement and emotion of the first 40 years of the US Open. Exceptional images by the game’s top photographers — many never before published — combine with expert writing by tennis journalists who were on the scene for an engaging tribute to America’s premier tennis event and its champions. This hardcover, coffee-table book, with a foreword by Billie Jean King, includes a DVD featuring video tributes to all 15 players inducted into the US Open Court of Champions, with footage never made available before. The Open Book is available at the US Open Shop at USOpen.org, the USTA Shop at USTA.com and at bookstores everywhere. Triumph Books, $34.95, 208 pages.

40 Years of the US Open

Fischer’s Progressor NT Racquet Debuts

The Progressor NT is the latest frame in the Fischer Tournament Line. The racquet features “No Tolerance” construction, which Fischer says guarantees that each racquet is 100 percent identical in weight, at 10.6 ounces unstrung.

Fischer Progressor NT

The new frame has a 98-square-inch head size, extended length (27.4 inches) and a slightly stiffer RA value (64) than traditional Fischer player frames. It’s designed to appeal to a wide range of tournament-level players, says the company. The racquet, which has a 16/20 string pattern, will be available for sale in September. For information, call 800-844-7810 or visit fischertennisusa.com.

Congratulations to the Following for Achieving MRT & CS Status

New Master Racquet Technicians - MRTs

David Chung Brookline, MA

Jason Nguyen Houston, TX

Luke McDermott Lincoln, NE

Todd West Calabasas, CA

New Certified Stringers - CSs

Brett Snyder Houston, TX

John Logan Raleigh, NC

HEAD Updates CrossBow Racquet Stringing Instructions

Head has updated its CrossBow and Airflow CB stringing instructions based on the type of stringing machine being used. You can find additional coverage of this in the Ask the Experts column on page 44.

These detailed instructions can be found on the USRSA website. These instructions also will be included in the Fall 2008 Stringer’s Digest.

New ‘DemoWorks’ Helps Shops Manage Demo Program

DemoWorks, a new web-based program that helps tennis dealers manage their racquet lending service, is the latest addition to Sports InterActive’s TennisWorks line of software to help streamline business processes and enhance customer service.

Sports InterActive owner and president Herb Sweren says Demoworks “simplifies and organizes the lending process so managers can better service players and sell more racquets with less effort.”

Sweren says that while shops and facilities encourage players to “try before you buy,” most keep track of racquet demos “the old-fashioned way — by the honor system or by writing down who is borrowing what. That system is tough to manage and it doesn’t help maximize sales.”

With DemoWorks, says Sweren, players can easily browse the inventory of racquet models available to demo and then reserve a demo online. The staff manages the whereabouts of the racquets at all times, recording what frames have been checked out and returned.

DemoWorks is available in TennisWorks’ RetailWorks Suite and ClubWorks Suite. Visit Sports-InterActive.net.

PTR Partners With Bionic Gloves

Bionic Gloves

Bionic Gloves, a division of Louisville Slugger, announced a sponsorship agreement to provide PTR teachers and coaches with special pricing on custom PTR Bionic Tennis Gloves. Bionic Tennis Gloves, designed by an orthopedic hand specialist, provide greater racquet control, stronger hands for long matches, and fewer blisters and calluses, says the PTR. The Anatomical Pad System is designed to maximize grip strength. “Coolon” moisture control evaporates perspiration quickly to reduce slippage. The gloves are designed for all levels of play. PTR members can purchase a single glove ($19.95) or a pair ($29.95) through PTR’s online Pro Shop at ptrtennis.org or by calling 800-421-6289. They can also be purchased directly from the manufacturer at bionicgloves.com.

Oncourt Offcourt Offers ‘QuickStart’ Balls

Oncourt Offcourt has launched a new line of QuickStart Tennis balls. Three types of balls are available for use with 36- and 60-foot courts, and all meet USTA specs in size, weight, color, and rebound, says Oncourt Offcourt President Joe Dinoffer, who is also a master pro with both the USPTA and PTR.

The “QuickStart 36” and “QuickStart 60” low-compression balls are available in buckets of different sizes. The purpose is to help teaching pros, coaches, and parents keep the balls organized and separate from other practice balls.

QuickStart balls
QuickStart balls

Oncourt Offcourt has also renamed its popular adjustable-height 18-foot Maxi-Net the “QuickStart Maxi-Net” and will also introduce a red-color foam ball named “QuickStart 36 Foam” that is designed for 36-foot court play.

For information on these products and to receive a free color catalog, contact Oncourt Offcourt toll-free at 1-88-TENNIS-11 or visit oncourtoffcourt.com.

2008 GSS Symposium

Kaye Kimpling of Effingham, Ill., was the lucky winner of the GSS Symposium drawing for free admission. But there is still time for you to sign up for the Grand Slam Stringers Symposium, presented by the USRSA.

GSS Symposium

The GSS Symposium, held Oct. 11-13 in Orlando, Fla., is a great opportunity to advance your business by learning from some of the best in the business. If you are a stringer, pro shop operator, or teaching pro, there will be plenty to see and learn, and you can enjoy Disney World and all the area attractions.

In addition to the seminars, there will be plenty of chances to network with colleagues and industry leaders. The Trade Show on Oct. 13 will feature manufacturers including Alpha, Babolat, Gamma, Guts & Glory, Head, Luxilon, Prince, Pro Suprex, Wise 2086 Electronic Tension Heads, Unique, and Wilson. You will also see the latest products and talk to manufacturer reps. Also, if you are considering certification, there are a limited number of slots left in the MRT and CS test segments.

Don’t miss this important industry event.

Oct. 11-14, Regal Sun Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla. (Trade Show: Oct. 13, noon to 6 p.m.)

$495 per person; group lodging rates start at $115 per night.

For information or to register: gssalliance.com

‘USTA Serves’ Is New Name for USTA Foundation

The USTA Tennis & Education Foundation has a new title — USTA Serves–Foundation for Academics. Character. Excellence. — but the 14-year-old Foundation will continue its mission of changing lives through tennis and education. The “re-brand” is designed to heighten awareness of the Foundation’s philanthropic initiatives.

Since its creation, USTA Serves has raised more than $8 million and disbursed about $6 million in its “Aces for Kids” grants and $2 million in college scholarships. A non-profit entity of the USTA, the Foundation is committed to teaching the basic values in both tennis and education: leadership, discipline, teamwork and fun. USTA Serves also helps fund USA Tennis National Junior Tennis League programs.

New York Buzz Wins WTT Title

It took 14 years and four attempts, but the New York Buzz finally captured its first World TeamTennis Championship, posting a 21-18 win over the Kansas City Explorers on July 27 at Allstate Stadium at Westfield Galleria in Roseville, Calif.

Playing for the Buzz were Nathan Healey, Yaroslava Shvedova, Gabriela Navratilova, and Patrick Briaud. The team was coached by Jay Udwadia.

The MVP for the WTT Championship Weekend was Rennae Stubbs of the Kansas City Explorers, who had the best winning percentage of any player in the semifinals and final match of the 2008 WTT Championship Weekend.

In related news, WTT named its player and coach season award recipients. Stubbs and Ramon Delgado of the Newport Beach Breakers were named MVPs for the 2008 WTT season. Also, Shvedova and Travis Parrott of the Philadelphia Freedoms received Rookie of the Year honors, and Kansas City Explorers coach Brent Haygarth was named the 2008 Coach of the Year.

Munsil is New USRSA Tester in Phoenix Area

Jim Munsil

Jim Munsil has been teaching tennis and stringing racquets in the Phoenix area as a full-time profession since 1973. He has performed as the only tournament stringer on-site for several WTA tournaments held in Arizona and has worked with several top players in the world. Even so, some of his best recommendations come from local players willing to drive long distances to his shop for stringing and customization services. Now, Munsil’s expertise will help the USRSA in certification testing.

Badminton Top Racquet Sport in England

Badminton is the No. 1 racquet sport in England, according to research by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University as reported on SportBusiness.com. More than 4 million people played badminton last year, about 8.6 percent of the population, with 1.5 million of those playing on a regular basis.

The report also found over 500,000 children played at least 10 times per year out of school with 12 percent of secondary school pupils taking part regularly, which is five times the comparable adult participation rate. The findings support previous analysis by Sport England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which suggested that badminton bucked a trend of static sport participation rates between 2002 and 2006.

“These figures reveal that badminton is a mass participation sport across England,” says Adrian Christy, chief executive of Badminton England. “We are bucking the trend, exhibiting strong growth across a variety of sectors and groups. Badminton is alive and kicking in England.”

Peoplewatch

College Scholarship Seminars Offered

The popular College & University Scholarship seminars will again be offered in Southern California this fall. The free seminars are open to players, parents and coaches, and no reservation are needed to attend. Led by industry veteran Mark Winters, the seminars offer useful tips on dealing with all that is involved in pursuing a tennis scholarship. For more information about the program, call Winters at 310-208-3838, ext. 231. For directions to a facility (not questions about the presentation), contact the individuals listed at each location.

Olympic Tennis Uses Wilson Balls

For the second consecutive Olympic competition, the Wilson US Open Tennis Ball will served as the Official Ball for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, in August.

“Since Wilson has served as the Official Ball to the US Open for the past 30 years, we take great pride to know players have elected to use our US Open Ball to fulfill their Olympic dream,” says Jon Muir, General Manager of Wilson Racquet Sports. Wilson is also the official ball of the Australian Open, the Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour as well as more than 50 ATP and WTA events.

A ‘Master’-ful Presentation

USPTA Master Professional Don Henson, USPTA Master Professional Bill Tym and USPTA/PTR Master Professional Ken DeHart were the speakers for PTR Professional Development Day at Pacific Athletic Club in Northern California in May. The three hold more titles, awards and years of service to the industry than most any professional divisional conference. The one-day event, sponsored by Head and the PTR, was open to all PTR, USPTA, area high school and college coaches as well as summer assistants.

PTR Professional Development Day

Short Sets

USTA Drops Gimelstob Following Radio Comments

The USTA has distanced itself from Justin Gimelstob following sexist comments the former tennis pro made on a Washington, D.C., radio show in June. Television commercials for the US Open Series that featured Gimelstob were changed at the last minute to cut him out, and in some cases John McEnroe was substituted in. Also, Gimelstob was pulled as the keynote speaker at the 2008 USTA Tennis Teachers Conference in New York, which began Aug. 23.

Justin Gimelstob

“Justin Gimelstob’s recent comments … were derogatory and demeaning to female tennis players and to women in general,” the USTA said in a statement. “The USTA has long championed integrity, inclusiveness, diversity and equality and cannot ignore such harmful remarks. More than any other sport, tennis has benefited from the pioneering role and achievements of so many women.

“The USTA has met with Justin, who has expressed deep remorse and has issued his sincere apology. We anticipate that he will learn from this experience and that he will be able to contribute to the game of tennis in the future,” the statement said.

“I respect the USTA’s decision,” Gimelstob told the Associated Press. “They’ve been great to me over the years, and I appreciated the opportunity. Unfortunately, I take full responsibility for what happened on the show and I deeply regret it.”

USRSA Member Classifieds

FOR SALE: Babolat Star 5. Recently purchased. New and still boxed. Paid $3,000. Selling for $2,600. Prefer Southern California buyer (Orange County). Contact Andy at (213) 321-9812.

FOR SALE: Prince 03 Speedport Red racquet in like new condition. 4 5/8 grip (feels like 4 ½), NRG2 17 string, extra grommet set. $100 includes domestic shipping & case. crlwms@att.net

FOR SALE: 2000 Playmate Ace Genie 5 ball machine with remote. Excellent condition used on a private court by one owner. $1000. Contact Greg Cicatelli 530-272-1488 or ggands@nccn.net

 


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