Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

Information to help you run your business.

Heckler Announces Plans to Retire from USPTA

Tim Heckler announced on Jan. 3 that he will retire from the USPTA in December 2012, after 30 years as CEO of the tennis teaching pro organization. Heckler, who became a member of the USPTA in 1970 when he started his tennis-teaching career, was named CEO in 1982.

During Heckler’s tenure as CEO, the organization has grown from approximately 2,400 members to more than 15,000 in 66 countries. Its annual budget, the association reports, also has grown during that time, from $700,000 to $6.5 million. The USPTA reports that since 1982, its equity has grown from $60,000 to more than $4.2 million.

Heckler, who began playing tennis at age 3, is a former president of the USPTA Texas Division in 1974 and served as national president of the USPTA from 1980 to 1982. Under Heckler’s guidance, the organization pushed technology, through computerization of the business itself in the early 1980s to use of the internet and email, including for educational purposes.

The USPTA honored Heckler in 2000 by naming him a grand inductee in the association’s Hall of Fame. He also received the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Tennis Educational Merit Award in 2002 and was inducted into the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2008 he received the USPTA’s highest honor, the George Bacso Lifetime Achievement Award.

TRX Cardio Tennis to Debut in Orlando and Los Angeles

A new addition to the 2012 Cardio Tennis line-up is TRX Cardio Tennis, which will be featured as the morning workouts at the PTR Symposium in Orlando, Feb.24-27. The first TRX Cardio Tennis Training Course will be held in Los Angeles in March.

“TRX is a suspension training system designed to facilitate an enormous range of body-weight training movements for the entire body,” says Michele Krause, the TIA’s Cardio Tennis manager. “It’s the ultimate system for adding strength, muscle endurance, balance and flexibility, and tour pros such as Max Mirnyi and Fernando Gonzalez use TRX to train for tennis.

“Cardio Tennis has always been about elevating the heart rate and training ‘in the zone,’” she adds. “Together, TRX Cardio Tennis will provide the best ball-striking, strength and calorie-burning workout you can find, anywhere.”

TRX Cardio Tennis classes can have up to 16 players on one court. The TRX Cardio Tennis class is very structured, with precise lesson plans that combine Cardio Tennis activities and TRX exercises in a 90-minute class (a traditional Cardio Tennis class is 60 minutes). In TRX Cardio Tennis classes, all tennis and TRX exercises are defined and chosen for a specific reason; unlike original Cardio Tennis, there is no room for interpretation — the rotations are timed and are critical to the success of the class and to a healthy result for participants.

To offer TRX Cardio Tennis, in addition to being a Cardio Tennis Authorized Provider and being a Licensed Cardio Tennis Professional, teaching pros also must complete the TRX Cardio Tennis training course. Details are at CardioTennis.com.

Update Your Provider Info at PlayTennis.com

Prior to the re-launch of PlayTennis.com this spring, tennis providers should visit the website as soon as possible to update or input their information for free.

PlayTennis.com is designed to serve as a non-branded “hub” for information and opportunities for consumers to easily get on the pathway to becoming frequent players. The re-launched site will provide consumers with the ability to find all things tennis, including teaching pros and coaches, programs, courts, retailers, playing partners, leagues and more.

Teaching pros, club owners, tennis facilities, retailers/pro shops, and other industry contacts who want to be listed for free should visit PlayTennis.com now and navigate to the appropriate link.

In the coming months, prior to the official re-launch of PlayTennis.com, the TIA along with its industry partners will be disseminating marketing collateral to industry businesses and organizations that will help drive consumers to the new website.

Daglis to Direct Methodist PTM Program

Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C., has named Tom Daglis as its new director of the Professional Tennis Management program and assistant professor.

Daglis, the current president of the USPTA, most recently was director of tennis at Lakewood Country Club in Rockville, Md. He brings a wealth of tennis business experience and an extensive tennis network to the position, including his former tenure as director of the PTM program at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich.

To prepare graduates for a career in the tennis industry, the Methodist PTM Program offers a B.S. degree in business administration, marketing, accounting, management or financial economics along with tennis industry experience.

Former Pro Brad Drewett Named Head of ATP

Former Australian pro player Brad Drewett is the new head of the men’s professional tennis tour. The 53-year-old Drewett signed a three-year contract as executive chairman and president of the ATP and will be based at the organization’s London office. He succeeds Adam Helfant, who announced in June that he was stepping down when his contract ended at the end of 2011.

Since 1999, Drewett served as CEO of the ATP International Group, overseeing operations in the Middle East, Asia and Pacific. He previously served as a member of the player council and as a representative on the ATP player board.

"The ATP World Tour and men’s tennis are stronger than ever and it is my intention to continue to lead the organization on this successful path, working hand in hand with our players and tournaments," Drewett said.

His appointment was welcomed by 16-time Grand Slam singles champion Roger Federer, who heads the ATP’s player council. "He understands the global nature of the business as well as the complexities of dealing with all of the tour’s stakeholders," Federer said.

ASBA Announces New Certified Court Builders

Three tennis court builders recently completed the requirements to become a Certified Tennis Court Builder (CTCB) from the American Sports Builders Association. The ASBA offers its voluntary certification program, which allows builders of specific athletic facilities (currently tennis courts, running tracks and sports fields) to demonstrate proof of their experience, as well as their knowledge of sports-facility-specific construction.

There are now 66 court builders who are certified by the ASBA. The three newest CTCBs are:

The certification program was developed by ASBA in order to help raise professional standards and improve the practice of sports facility construction. To become a CTCB, an individual must meet specific criteria set forth by ASBA; he or she must complete an application that shows proof of a set amount of experience in the chosen type of sports facility, and then pass a comprehensive exam on construction and maintenance. In order to maintain the designation, an individual must recertify every three years by documenting a sufficient level of continuing education activities in the relevant field or by passing the examination again. For info about the ASBA and the builder certification program, visit sportsbuilders.org.

PTR Symposium Set for Orlando, Feb. 24-27

The PTR’s annual International Tennis Symposium will be Feb. 24-27 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fla. The Symposium attracts nearly 1,000 tennis teachers and coaches from more than 50 countries.

Teaching pros can compete in the PTR International Championships, held in conjunction with the Symposium. The Symposium also offers a Tennis Trade Show where more than 40 organizations and companies exhibit their newest product lines, latest technologies and services.

Among the more than 35 presenter, who will conduct classroom and on-court presentations, will be Dave Miley, Dr. Jim Loehr, Pat Etcheberry, Kelly Jones, Butch Staples, Leo Alonso, Lorenzo Beltrame, Doug Cash, Michele Krause and Dr. Mark Kovacs. Topics will range from 10 and Under Tennis to tennis business to teaching tactics and techniques. There is also a special high school coaches’ program to be held over the weekend, Feb. 25-26, to accommodate scholastic schedules.

For information and registration, visit ptrtennis. org/events/ptr-week.

Study to Measure Size of Sporting Goods Industry

SGMA is working to create the most accurate and timely report on the size and direction of the sporting goods industry in the U.S., to be called the Sports and Fitness Confidence Index (SFCI).

The SFCI has been developed to provide a periodic, comparable snapshot of the sporting goods industry’s overall health — from both the consumer and trade perspectives. Each quarter, SGMA Research will survey more than 1,000 American sports and fitness consumers on their intentions to participate in sports and fitness activities, as well as their likely expenditures on related equipment and fees. The sporting goods industry will be surveyed to provide additional input on hiring, shipments and overall business climate. This information will be integrated into this measurement.

Tennis Channel Wins First Round vs. Comcast

Tennis Channel won its carriage complaint hearing against Comcast Cable Communications in December. The decision marks the first time that a cable operator has been found to violate the program carriage anti-discrimination rules that the FCC put into place in 1993.

The decision was issued in December by an FCC chief administrative law judge. A spokesman for Comcast says the company is prepared to appeal to the full FCC and possibly to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

The ruling concluded that Comcast had "discriminated against Tennis Channel in favor of Golf Channel and Versus in terms and conditions of their distribution." Golf Channel and Versus are owned by Comcast, which was also ordered to pay a $375,000 fine.

“They were ordered to proceed as soon as is practicable,” said Ken Solomon, chief executive of the Tennis Channel, “so we’re preparing to add between 20 million and 23 million households.” That would boost the Tennis Channel’s number of subscribers to more than 50 million; currently, Comcast customers have to pay an extra few dollars to get the tennis network on a digital sports tier.

Sena Fitzmaurice, a vice president of Comcast, said in a statement that the company disagreed with the decision. “Comcast has the contractual right to distribute Tennis Channel as it does currently,” she said. It also believes “that the exercise of that right to minimize costs to consumers is not discrimination.”

Atlanta Tennis Championships Chooses Site

Atlantic Station, located in the midtown Atlanta corridor, will be the new home of the Atlanta Tennis Championships, which will be July 14-22 and is the opening event of the US Open Series.

The Atlantic Station complex combines middle-income and up-scale housing and commercial office space with world-class restaurants, theaters and retailers. The in-town setting will be framed by the Atlanta skyline.

A minimum of three competition and three practice tennis courts will be built on the 138-acre site. Central Park, located in the middle of Atlantic Station, will be the site of Center Court. A hard court will be laid down with two large grandstands on the sides built to accommodate more than 4,000 fans. Two other competition courts will be built a block away adjacent to I-75 and I-85 within view of downtown Atlanta and with exposure to over 500,000 vehicles per day.

Canine Unit Benefits From USTA Adopt-a-Unit

The 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion Canine Unit stationed in Afghanistan is the beneficiary of a unique partnership that is bringing supplies to both the troops and their canine partners to help make their lives easier and to provide needed recreation.

The Trap Falls Kennel Club (TFKC) of Connecticut “adopted” the canine unit and sent boxes of supplies for the troops, including needed supplies to help care for the approximately 70 dogs. Next, the U.S. Tennis Association, through its “Adopt-A-Unit” effort, will send portable tennis equipment to the unit’s soldiers to help provide recreation.

TFKC is the first kennel club in the country through the American Kennel Club (AKC) to team up with the USTA in participating in the “Adopt-A-Unit” program to provide tennis to the troops. For more on the USTA’s Military Outreach, visit usta.com/military.

Christina McHale Signs with Tourna Grip

Rising American pro Christina McHale has signed a multi-year agreement with Unique Sports as part of the Tourna Grip team, joining fellow WTA Tour pros Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, the world No. 3, and Russian Vera Zvonareva, the world No. 7. McHale, currently ranked No. 43, is the second highest ranked American player on the women’s pro tour. In 2011, the Englewood Cliffs, N.J., resident had wins over No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Marion Bartoli and Daniela Hantuchova, among other top players.

PTR Signs Two Corporate Members

PTR has signed on Fuzzy Yellow Balls and reBounces as Corporate Members. Both companies will be at the PTR Tennis Trade Show on February 26 in Orlando, Fla.

Fuzzy Yellow Balls (fuzzyyellowballs.com) is a website where tennis players can learn how to play tennis online for free, discuss the sport and socialize. FYB also sends a weekly newsletter that highlights what’s new to help the tennis community grow.

The Green Tennis Machine by reBounces is a bulk tennis ball re-pressurization system that allows tennis facilities to extend the life of their practice balls. reBounces also offers a free tennis ball recycling program for facilities and individuals. PTR members can get a 5% discount on the Green Tennis Machine. Visit rebounces.com.

Peoplewatch

ASBA Elects New Officers and Directors

The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) has announced the election and installation of new officers and directors. The new slate took its place at the conclusion of the ASBA’s December Technical Meeting in California.

Several new members of the Board of Directors were also elected. They include Builder Director Benjamin Brooks (Patriot Court Systems, Houston) and Supplier Director Chris Rossi (Premier Concepts, Baltimore). Re-elected to his position of Professional Director was Chris Sullivan (Verde Design, Santa Clara, Calif.).

Officers continuing on the Board include Track Division president Kristoff Eldridge (Cape & Island Tennis & Track, Pocasset, Mass.); Professional Division president Ed Norton (Holcombe Norton Partners, Birmingham, Ala.); and Indoor Division president Randy Niese (Robbins Sports Surfaces, Cincinnati).

Those continuing on the board in their current director positions include Mike Edgerton, CTCB (Copeland Coatings, Nassau, N.Y.); Ben Rennolds, CTCB (Tennis Courts Inc., Aylett, Va.) and John Schedler (Atlas Track and Tennis, Tualatin, Ore.).

The ASBA is a non-profit association helping designers, builders, owners, operators and users understand quality athletic facility construction. For information on the ASBA, its publications, activities and upcoming meetings, visit sportsbuilders.org or contact 866-501-ASBA or info@sportsbuilders.org.

Loeb, Hiltsik Win 18s Winter Nationals

Jamie Loeb, 16, of Ossining, N.Y., swept the girls’ 18s singles and doubles titles at the 2011 USTA 18s Winter National Championships, and 17-year-old Jared Hiltzik of Wilmette, Ill., won the boys’ 18s title.

Many of the nation’s top juniors competed in eight USTA National Championships, the last major national junior events of 2011, in five cities in Arizona at the end of the year. Singles winners are:

Host an Event and Grow Your Kids’ Business

The USTA is encouraging tennis providers to host a special event in 2012 to get more kids into their tennis programs. Providers can boost their business by hosting a Youth Registration event, holding a one-day Play Day that’s low-pressure fun, or starting a play-based Kids’ Club.

And by registering your event now, you can also tap into key alliances between the USTA and media giants Nickelodeon and ESPN and take advantage of national media exposure, supported by millions of dollars and designed to drive consumers to your registered event. Visit usta.com/coaches-organizers to register your event.

NSGA Initiates All-Star Awards Program

The National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) has created a new way for the industry to recognize outstanding accomplishments and contributions with the launch of its All-Star Awards program. The All-Star Awards program is meant to recognize the most outstanding efforts made within the sporting goods industry throughout the previous year.

In 2012, four awards will be presented during the inaugural All-Star Awards Luncheon at the 48th Annual NSGA Management Conference & 14th Annual Team Dealer Summit in May. They are:

Nominations must be made by an NSGA member before Jan. 27, though winning companies need not be members of the association. Awards will be presented on May 7 in San Antonio, Texas. Nomination forms are at nsga.org/allstarawards, or contact Erin Goodchild at egoodchild@nsga.org or 847-296-6742, ext. 132.

Short Sets

‘Stringlet’ Bracelets Launches Website

Stringlet magnetic tennis string bracelets is a unique accessory made from colorful synthetic gut string, with a powerful magnetic clasp. Made for both tennis players and fans, it can be worn on court and off, for a fun, casual look. Stringlet recently launched its website, stringlet.net, in conjunction with the launch of retail sales at the Barnes Tennis Center and Balboa Tennis Club in San Diego.

Stringlets are made in a variety of colors to represent a variety of themes, so players can show off their favorite color or colors, or show their school or country colors, or if you want to stock the colors that best represent your club or facility. The bracelets weight just 3 grams and feature a physical “twist” mechanism that helps secure it to the wrist.

The company says it plans to identify additional retail outlets and tournament venues for product distribution, including working with charity organizations. For more information, visit stringlet.net.

ATP Announces ‘Aces for Charity’ Grant Recipients

The ATP has announced the 14 recipients of its ATP Aces For Charity grant program for 2012, including the Roger Federer Foundation, Andy Roddick Foundation and the BNP Paribas Open’s Champions Volunteer Foundation. Grants of $10,000 each will be awarded by the ATP on an annual basis to charitable causes nominated by ATP World Tour players and tournaments.

This year’s recipients support a range of causes, encompassing youth enrichment programs in Africa and Chennai, earthquake relief in New Zealand, healthcare in St. Petersburg and Sydney, HIV/AIDS education in Washington D.C., and social services for children in Colombia, Zagreb, and Austin, Texas.

ATP Aces For Charity, launched in 2011, is a global initiative aimed at giving back to communities where ATP World Tour events are played, as well as recognizing and supporting tournament and player charitable initiatives. The recipients for 2012 are:

Players

Tournaments

USTA Honors Grassroots Award Winners at CTDW

Ten award winners were honored during the USTA Community Tennis Development Workshop, which was held at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel Jan. 13-15. The honorees were recognized in a variety of categories for their dedication to growing the game at the grassroots level.

PTR’s Santorum in National News

The sport of tennis received a unique bump from the Iowa presidential caucuses and New Hampshire primary in early January. PTR CEO Dan Santorum was in the national news as his brother, Rick Santorum, campaigned for the Republican nomination for president.

Dan Santorum was quoted in a front-page article in The New York Times, appeared in a CNN interview at his home in Hilton Head Island, S.C., and was in other media. In his interviews, Santorum made sure the sport was somehow tied into the story.

 

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