Municipal facility of the Year: Copeland-Cox T.C.
The words “municipal tennis facility” generally don’t bring to mind complexes with 60 lighted courts, a pro shop, clubhouse and a host of other amenities. Unless, of course, you’re talking about the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center (also known as the Mobile Tennis Center), the world’s largest public tennis facility. In fact, says Scott Novak, director of tennis, the reaction of a first-time visitor is always amusing.
“We tell people they’re playing on Court 60, and they say, ‘Court 60?’” he laughs. “They’re surprised when they find out how big this is.” The 50-year-old facility started with four courts, but has grown in size and number of players. “It’s close to being full every night. In the afternoons, every high school in town plays here, and in the mornings, leagues take up at least two-thirds of the courts.” It’s the activity and amazing facilities that help to make Copeland-Cox T.C. RSI’s Municipal Facility of the Year.
The facility is on track to host 30 tournaments in 2011, which Novak says will be a record. Equally impressive numbers come out of a city economic impact study: “In 2010, our tournaments were estimated to bring in more than $40 million,” Novak says. “Next year, we have six more tournaments, and we’re estimating more that $60 million.”
“It is the absolute best place to run a tournament,” says Holly Goddard, director of adult tennis at the USTA Southern Section. “Not only do they have 60 courts, but the staff goes above and beyond to give everyone the best experience. They have it down to a science.”
Tips for success
- Reach out to everyone. “Diversify,” says Novak. “Look for a broad spectrum of players and make sure you cater to them.”
- Bring in the tournaments and create an enjoyable event for players and organizers.
- Don’t forget the high school crowd. Even if they’re not yet playing in leagues, they have the potential to come back after college and become part of the adult tennis community.
See all articles by Mary Helen Sprecher
About the Author
Mary Helen Sprecher is the managing editor of Sports Destinations Management Magazine, a niche business-to-business publication for planners of sports travel events, in addition to being an RSI Contributing Editor. She is the technical writer for the American Sports Builders Association and works as a newspaper reporter in Baltimore City.