Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

Tennis Economy Up 3%, Says New Report

Tennis in the U.S. is a $5.57 billion business, according to the latest edition of the State of the Industry report, recently released by the Tennis Industry Association. That represents a 3% increase in the total tennis economy from 2011.

The third edition of the TIA State of the Industry report compiles data from 2012 that the TIA collects through its more than 70 annual surveys and research studies. The report takes a top-level view of the industry to tell a comprehensive “story of the tennis industry,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer.

The report presents important TIA data, trends and analysis so that tennis businesses can benefit by seeing where this industry has been, where it is now, and where it’s going. Important for the industry is the 10% growth in the number of “frequent” tennis players, those who play at least 21 times a year, to 5.31 million in 2012. Frequent players account for more than 70% of all expenditures in tennis. Other highlights from this year’s report include:

“The tennis industry moved in a positive direction in 2012,” says TIA President Greg Mason. “Like many other industries, we still have challenges, but the TIA, together with our industry partners and the USTA, is focused on strengthening this industry and the business of tennis. The extensive research that the TIA does is unique among sports, and it’s an important part of our support of this industry.”

The 16-page State of the Industry report is an annual release made available to Industry Level members of the TIA and above. Contact the TIA at research@tennisindustry.org or 866-686-3036.

Dennis Van der Meer Is Inaugural Inductee in PTR Hall of Fame

PTR Founder and President Dennis Van der Meer became the inaugural inductee into the PTR’s newly formed Hall of Fame, in a ceremony during the Parade of Nations at the PTR Symposium on Hilton Head Island May 2.

The 80-year-old Van der Meer, who had suffered a stroke, was brought out onto Court 12 at Shipyard Racquet Club in a wheelchair, following a moving tribute by Dr. Jim Loehr. Luciano Botti presented Van der Meer with a plaque, and the tennis teaching legend acknowledged the cheers of the crowd, that included PTR members from around the world.

WTA Player Li Na Honored by Time magazine

Time magazine named WTA pro Li Na to the 2013 Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, in its April 29 issue. Li also was one of seven cover subjects for the issue.

“I am so excited to be featured on the cover of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People In The World issue,” Li said. “It’s a great honor for me to be in the position of being able to help grow, promote and further build the sport of women’s tennis around the world, especially in my native China. I couldn’t be more honored to be on the list that includes some of the most talented people in the world, and to make an impact on women and women athletes. I am grateful to Time for giving women’s tennis the recognition it deserves.”

The list, currently in its 10th year, recognizes the activism, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals. Chris Evert wrote the tribute to Li that appeared in the magazine. Li made several historic breakthroughs in 2011, becoming the first Asian player to reach a Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, subsequently becoming the first Chinese player to reach the Top 10, and a few months later becoming the first Asian player to win a Grand Slam title at the French Open. Earlier this year she made her third Grand Slam final, again at the Australian Open, and she is currently the No.5-ranked player on the WTA Tour.

Wilson Web Redesign Includes Selling Direct

Wilson announced in early April that it had redesigned its website and launched a “new brand initiative” that allows consumers to purchase directly from wilson.com.

“This plan supports our existing e-commerce strategy, joining our other sites such as atec.com, wilsoncustomgloves.com and wilsoncustomfootball.com that have been operational for several years,” Wilson’s vice president of U.S. sales, Bill Kirchner, said in an email to dealers and reps.

“The Wilson website is our strongest consumer engagement tool and we are investing in driving greater traffic,” Kirchner continued. “We have positioned our products at or above MAP pricing and will be charging sales tax and freight. This pricing strategy positions Wilson as a convenience opportunity for those consumers that prefer to buy directly from Wilson while they are on our site. We have carefully considered this expanded e-commerce approach and are confident it is the right approach to engage our consumers.”

On the redesigned website for Wilson racquets, for instance, underneath the product description are dropdown menus for grip size and quantity. When those fields are filled in, the site tells you whether the racquet is in stock and offers a button to “add to cart.” Under that link is one for finding a dealer by entering address or ZIP code.

While Wilson officials have indicated selling direct to consumers may affect 1 percent of total sales, emails circulating by tennis retailers and specialty dealers criticized the move to online retailing by one of the industry’s largest manufacturers.

“We remain fully committed to growing our business with our dealer network,” Kirchner said in his email. “Our priorities are to provide you with innovative products, compelling consumer marketing and high quality customer service.”

Babolat Offers New French Open Products

For the third year in a row, Babolat has teamed up with the French Open as the official tennis ball and to provide stringing services for all tournament players. In addition, the French company has unveiled its new range of French Open products.

This year, the Pure Drive racquet gets a new look with French Open colors. This seventh generation Pure Drive features exclusive Cortex Active technology, for more control in every shot, says Babolat. The Pure Drive (suggested retail $199) is used by players such as 2011 French Open winner Li Na and 2012 French Open runner-up Sara Errani.

The Pure Drive Lite French Open is $195, while the Pure Drive JR26 French Open for juniors is $104. Also, the lightweight Babolat Drive Z, designed for advanced players, especially women and young competitors, is $169.

The company also offers the Team French Open bag. The Racquet Holder can fit up to 12 racquets and has an “isotherm racquet compartment,” which Babolat says protects the quality of the string tension. A more compact backpack version is also available for carrying one racquet, and there is a version that can hold six frames.

K-Swiss Completes Merger with E.Land World Ltd.

E.Land World Ltd. completed its acquisition of K-Swiss in a merger transaction on April 30, making K-Swiss an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of E.Land.

On the heels of the merger, E.Land has named a new global executive team to oversee the newly formed K-Swiss Inc. entity. The team will be led by Truman Kim, chairman; Larry Remington, president and CEO; Barney Waters, CMO; and Wim Tuijl, managing director of Europe, Middle East and Africa.

K-Swiss stockholders, who approved the merger on April 26, will receive $4.75 in cash, without interest, for each share of K-Swiss common stock that they owned immediately prior to the merger. As a result of the merger, the Class A common stock of K-Swiss will no longer be traded on the NASDAQ Stock Market.

E.Land is a South Korean conglomerate that not only has stake in the fashion apparel business, but also is involved in retail malls, restaurants, theme parks, hotels and construction. E.Land also distributes products for New Balance and Ellesse under license.

USPTA Partners with Rezilient Direct for Health Benefits

The USPTA has partnered with Rezilient Direct Corp. to give USPTA-certified members the opportunity to purchase additional health coverage. Rezilient Direct, which is based in Austin, Texas, is one the first companies to offer supplemental health benefits directly online to the consumer.

“At a time when our members are looking for tangible and quantifiable benefits, Rezilient Direct has come forward with a terrific program to help those professionals who seek a way to help bridge the gap between the medical insurance that they do have and a potential calamity that is not fully covered,” said USPTA CEO John Embree. “With health care being the No. 1 concern among our members, here is a program that should make a positive difference.”

Rezilient Direct’s extensive interactive platform allows customers to enroll and purchase supplemental health insurance within minutes and get covered in as little as 24 hours. They also have a Call and Live Chat center to assist customers throughout the process.

For more information, visit rezilientdirect.com.

Peoplewatch

Pro Sun Products Launches Tennis Sunscreen

Pro Sun Products of San Jose, Calif., has launched Pro Tennis™ Premium Sunscreen, designed for avid tennis players of all ages. Pro Tennis’ lotion is made with pure natural aloe and rich moisturizers that maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance while protecting against undesirable sun damage, says the manufacturer.

With an SPF of 30, Pro Tennis provides broad-spectrum protection for both UVA and UVB rays. Pro Tennis will not sweat off or wash off easily in water and is fragrance-free. All of the ingredients used by Pro Tennis Premium Sunscreen are approved by FDA regulations and tested according to FDA standards. It comes in a 100ml size that fits easily in any tennis bag and is compliant with airline travel restrictions.

“Our goal is to provide tennis specialty retailers and pro shops with the highest quality sunscreen designed specifically for tennis and available at an affordable price,” says Robert Spurzem, president of Pro Sun Products. “Tennis players deserve the highest quality in every tennis product they select, and sunscreen is no exception. Pro Tennis fills an important product gap in every tennis retail store.”

“All tennis players require sun protection,” says Anthony Paz, owner of The Tennis Station in Burlingame, Calif. “Pro Tennis has quickly become a hit with my customers.”

“I was initially attracted to Pro Tennis for its light texture and how it quickly absorbed into my skin,” says Debb Roberts, owner of Debb’s Tennis of Los Gatos, Calif. “I cater to female tennis players so it was important that it worked well with women’s make-up.”

For more information, visit prosunproducts.biz or contact info@prosunproducts.biz.

Wilson to Give Away Baiardo at IART Stringers Symposium

Wilson Sporting Goods will offer a Baiardo stringing machine to one lucky attendee of the 7th Annual IART Symposium, which runs from Sept. 21 to 25 at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Fla.

“We’re committed to doing our part for this event,” says Wilson Senior Designer Ron Rocchi. “This symposium showcases incredible talent within the industry, and the technical training is unmatched. If the technician has the proper training, they will be better equipped to sell our products and in turn, contribute to the overall health of the game.”

The Wilson Baiardo that will be given away is one that was used at the 2013 Australian Open. Early registration will ensure more chances to win the machine: Those who register by July 1 will have three chances, registration by July 8 gives two chances, and registration by July 15, one chance.

“Wilson has always been extremely supportive of the IART Symposium,” says Tim Strawn, owner and organizer of the event. “I’m proud to have them as a partner in the event.”

To register and for more information, visit gssalliance.com or call Strawn at 540-632-1148.

Is Your Facility Outstanding?

Submit your application now for the USTA’s annual Outstanding Facility Awards. The awards program is designed to encourage high standards for construction and/or renovation of tennis facilities. Application deadline is June 28.

The USTA evaluates entries based on criteria that includes the facility itself and its tennis programs. There is no minimum or maximum number of facilities selected; the number of recipients honored will depend on the quality of the applicants. Awards will be presented during the USTA Semiannual Meeting in New York City during the 2013 US Open.

For more information on the USTA Outstanding Facility Awards and for the application/nomination form, Visit USTA.com/About-USTA/USTA-Awards.

Sarasota Residents Petition to Save High School Courts

Local Sarasota, Fla., residents are petitioning to save the eight tennis courts at Sarasota High School after word got out that there was a plan to demolish them this summer to create a new bus loop. An online petition — ”Stop the demolition of the tennis courts at Sarasota High School. Keep the Courts” — has been created with plans to eventually present to local government.

“These courts have been a valuable community resource for many years, providing exercise and recreation for thousands of people, from the surrounding neighborhoods and throughout the area,” reads the petition. “Many Sarasota High School tennis teams have trained and played on them. … This is the only set of eight public courts in the county. The demolition of these courts, which cost a lot to build and have only recently been resurfaced, is a waste of taxpayer money.”

Visit signon.org/sign/keep-the-tennis-courts.

Ashaway Named Official String of World Squash Championships

Ashaway Racket Strings has been named the Official String Partner for the 2013 Men’s World Squash Championships. The tournament will be held Oct. 26-Nov. 3 in Manchester, England, where 64 of the world’s top professional squash players will compete for a $325,000 prize.

Ashaway will also have stringing rights to the 2013 Allam British Open in Hull, England, May 20-26. Ashaway was the Official String Partner for the British Open last year and the British Grand Prix for the past three years.

“Ashaway is always eager to support professional and amateur squash whenever we can,” says Ashaway Vice President Steve Crandall. “To be associated with prestigious events like the British Open, the World Championships, and the Grand Prix is an honor as well as a pleasure.”

Ashaway will be represented at these events by its longtime UK distributor Goode Sport. According to Goode partner Paul Smith, stringers for the events will be Liam Nolan of the UKRSA and Nick Down of Smart Racquet. They will use Ashaway Electronic SM7900 machines.

Shortsets

2013 NFTC Announces Four Super Regional Playoff Sites

Four tennis facilities have been chosen to host the Super Regional Playoffs this summer in the 2013 National Family Tennis Championships. The four, along with the dates of the Playoffs, are:

The top teams in each division of play at the four Super Regional Playoffs will earn a complimentary trip to New York City to play for a national title, from Aug. 22 to 26. Visit FamilyTennis.com.

Congratulations To the Following For Achieving MRT Status

New MRTs

Aaron Haak,Farmington, NY

Alex Meyers,Big Rapids, MI

Erik Seifert,Howell, MI

Kevin Wickham, Big Rapids, MI

Not to Be Outdone, Wimbledon Hikes 2013 Prize Money

As the Grand Slam tournaments continue to try to top each other with prize money increases and please the professional tours, Wimbledon said it will up its prize money this year by 40 percent, to 22.6 million pounds ($34.4 million). The All England Club called it the largest single increase ($9.9 million) and biggest total prize fund in the history of professional tennis. The increases follow similar announcements by the Australian, U.S., and French Opens.

Men’s and women’s singles champions will each receive 1.6 million pounds ($2.4 million). Roger Federer and Serena Williams each received 1.15 million pounds ($1.75 million) for last year’s titles. The focus of the prize money increase will be for players who lose in the early rounds or in qualifying of the grass-court championships, which will be played from June 24 to July 7. Prize money will go up 60 percent for singles players who lose in the first three rounds. The purse for qualifying is going up by 41 percent. Doubles players will receive a 22 percent increase in prize money.

In addition, Wimbledon said it intends to have a roof installed over Court No. 1 in time for the 2019 tournament. A retractable roof has been in place on Centre Court since 2009.

Nominate By June 3 for ASBA Facility Awards

The deadline for ASBA’s annual awards program, which honors outstanding design and construction in athletic facilities, is Monday, June 3. Applications are accepted electronically on ASBA’s website, sportsbuilders.org. To be eligible, a facility must have been designed by, or built by, an ASBA member company. Owners who want their facilities entered should contact their builder or designer. Also, in order to be eligible, projects submitted must have been completed within the current year or within the previous two calendar years (ending Dec. 31). Information is available at sportsbuilders.org.

USPTA World Conference Heads to Orlando in September

This year’s USPTA World Conference, which will be Sept. 23-27 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fla., will have a new look to it. While still featuring numerous general sessions, seminars and specialty courses, each day will feature a theme focusing on a core competency, including 10 and Under Tennis, Club Operations/Business, Player Development and Teaching/Sport Science.

This year will also include a new and improved awards luncheon featuring Pat Williams as the keynote speaker, sponsored by Rezilient Direct. Williams is the co-founder and senior VP of the Orlando Magic and one of the nation’s top motivational speakers.

The conference also includes a tennis-only buying show, International Tennis Championships, networking opportunities, awards, industry meetings, parties and more. For details, including early-bird pricing and registration information, visit usptaworldconference.com or call 800-877-8248.

PTR 2013 Awards: Robert Carlbo Named PTR Professional of the Year

Robert Carlbo of Palm Harbor, Fla., has been named PTR Professional of the Year during the annual awards ceremony May 2 at the PTR International Tennis Symposium held at the Sonesta Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The award is presented to the PTR pro who has displayed the highest standards of conduct and service to both tennis and PTR.

Carlbo (shown with PTR CEO Dan Santorum at left and PTR Board President Jorge Andrew at right) vigorously pursues education and professional development. He is certified to teach wheelchair tennis and holds an Etcheberry Certification in Strength, Conditioning and Movement in Tennis. He is Steg 1 and 2 with the Swedish Tennis Association and USPTA P1. In addition, Carlbo is the first, and only person so far, to complete all four PTR certification pathways, earning Professional ratings in each.

Carlbo, who is head coach of the East Lake High School boys’ tennis team, also is a PTR clinician and tester, and he runs a 10 and Under Tennis Program at the North Pinellas YmCA and surrounding elementary schools.

Other 2013 PTR Awards include:

Annual PAC Report Reveals 33% of Americans ‘Active to a Healthy Level’

One-third of the American population age 6 and up is “active to a healthy level,” according to the latest study released by the Physical Activity Council (PAC), a consortium of six major sports, fitness, and leisure trade associations, including the TIA and USTA.

The PAC study utilizes a new “calorie burning” component to define activities as low, medium, or high calorie-burning activities. The groundbreaking “active to a healthy level” statistic is defined by the number of Americans that take part in a high calorie-burning activity three or more times a week. Using this definition, the PAC is able to determine that 94.8 million Americans age 6 and older, or 33%, are active to a healthy level.

“Having a third of the U.S. participate in activities to a level deemed healthy is encouraging,” said PAC Chairman and SFIA President & CEO Tom Cove. “It also means that two-thirds of the country is not active to a healthy level and we as a society need to find ways to get America moving.”

The PAC study also shows that 80.4 million Americans age 6 and up, or 28%, are inactive. Inactivity, for this study, is defined as those that participate in no sports/activities, including all those covered by the PAC. This is the first time, dating back to 2007, that the number of inactive Americans has reached over 80 million.

The PAC’s annual Participation Report measures overall levels of activity and identifies trends in 119 specific sports, fitness and recreation activities. The report also examines spending habits, the effect of physical education, and participation interests among non-participants.

New to the report for 2013 is an analysis of Generation Z, or those born after 2000. The study, which now has significant numbers in the 6-12 age group, reveals that participation levels are high for Generation Z, as over 50% take part in team sports or outdoor activities. The full version of the 2013 PAC Study can be found at PhysicalActivityCouncil.com.

PAC: Cardio Tennis Grows; Overall Tennis Numbers Stable

For tennis, the 2012 PAC study shows that Cardio Tennis participation grew and frequent player play occasions were up nearly 2%, while overall tennis participation remained flat. According to the study, tennis participation was just over 17 million people. Frequent players, those who play 21 or more times a year, were just over 5.2 million Americans in 2012, also similar to the previous year.

“We’re encouraged to see stability in the PAC tennis participation figures and a growth in frequent play occasions,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “2012 was a slightly better year for our industry as a whole than 2011 and efforts to drive play, especially in the youth market, began to take hold across our provider network.”

Cardio Tennis increased to more than 1.4 million participants in 2012, up nearly 12% versus 2011, according to the PAC study. Cardio Tennis, which was developed in 2005, is now delivered at over 2,000 U.S. facilities and 30 countries. “Cardio Tennis continues to bridge the gap between tennis and fitness,” says de Boer. “With more health and fitness-conscious consumers who demand social interaction in their workouts, Cardio Tennis is a perfect fit as a group fitness activity.”

Memphis ATP/WTA Event Chooses Sport Court Latex-ite

This past spring, the U.S. National Indoor Championships converted its tournament court surfaces to Latex-ite Recreational Coating. The event is played at the Racquet Club of Memphis (TN), the only private club in the world to host a combined ATP and WTA tourney. This year’s winners were the top-ranked Asian player in the world, Kei Nishikori, up-and-comer Marina Erakovic, and the world No. 1 doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan.

“We were very pleased with the finished surface pace and trueness,” says Tournament Director Peter Lebedevs. “Working with Latex-ite was great. They were there to answer our questions promptly and offered great support through the resurfacing process.”

“The partnership between Sport Court Tennis, Latex-ite International and the U.S. National Indoors worked extremely well together,” says Randy Futty, director of tennis for Connor Sport Court International. Linn Lower, CTCB, a regional Sport Court Dealer for Alabama and expert tennis court builder, handled the surface installation on all of the 11 courts used over the week-long event.

“Our venue is pretty unique in that we convert five standard club courts into one large stadium court and then back to club courts after the tournament ends,” adds Lebedevs. “Linn Lower and his staff were terrific, and I was very happy with the job they did.”

USTA SmashZone Mobile Launches Third National Tour

The USTA announced the return of its SmashZone Mobile Tour, which hits the road for a 22-city tour to introduce youth tennis to kids and parents across the country. SmashZone began as the premier fan interactive attraction at the US Open before being showcased across the country. Since its inception in 2011, SmashZone has attracted more than 2 million people to its tennis courts. This year’s tour kicked off at Dick’s Sporting Goods at Robinson Centre in Pittsburgh on April 27.

SmashZone Mobile Tour will stop at fairs, festivals, airshows, retail environments and city centers. At SmashZone, children have the opportunity to play tennis games in a fun, festive atmosphere that allows participants to get active playing tennis from the start.

“The SmashZone Mobile Tour is a great platform to bring tennis to the masses through an interactive experience,” said Kurt Kamperman, USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “It provides an opportunity for kids to try tennis for the first time, allowing them to experience the fun and excitement that comes with playing the game.”

SmashZone Mobile includes a 53-foot trailer, which anchors four kid-sized tennis courts. Courts will feature games such as Xerox Rally Court, racquet drills and activities, as well as a Target Challenge. The trailer itself, which is handicap accessible, will feature activities for visitors that will include a Tennis Magazine Green Screen Cover Shoot, Wii Tennis and Touch Screen Kiosks.

SmashZone Mobile is a complement to the USTA’s youth participation initiative, 10 and Under Tennis. Visit youthtennis.com to see the tour schedule.

21 Letters

Giving Guidance

Denny Schackter’s article on mentoring (Your Serve, May 2013 issue) was of great interest to me. In the 1990s, the USPTA Southern Division set up an extensive mentoring program. We had 25 or so professionals that were on call and willing to mentor in all aspects of the tennis profession, including the areas mentioned in the article. There were other areas too, like pro shop management, programing, teaching group and private lessons, stroke production, drills, clay court maintenance, contracts and personal investments. The program was dropped as very few younger pros took advantage of these professionals who had volunteered their time.

What we came to find out were two things: First, much mentoring was accomplished at state chapter and division conventions. Those professionals who attended often would get problems solved over a beer and then stay in touch with each other. Second, the USPTA has officers in all 17 divisions who are built-in mentors.

I’d venture to say that all the division officers would be delighted to assist a member with a problem or give guidance. (Contact information can be found at USPTA.com.) I know in the USPTA Southern Division there is not one officer serving who would not be happy to answer a mentoring question or direct any constituent to someone who can answer the question if he or she was not versed in the subject. In the Southern Division, we also have four to six state officers who are available, too.

Pat Whitworth, the current USPTA Southern Division Executive Director, has taken mentoring to the next step. At the Southern Division convention each year, we have “private consultations” that any attendee can schedule with senior members who volunteer to consult. I think that what we, the USPTA, have failed to do and perhaps we can correct is to make sure our members are aware that mentoring is available and show them where to find it.

Fred Burdick
Executive Director Emeritus
USPTA Southern Division

I really enjoyed Denny Schackter’s article. I had Jim Doessell, Fernando Velasco, Rod Schroeder and Pat McKenna mentoring me (even though they didn’t call it mentoring in those days). I believe one of the reasons that we have a smaller percentage of P1 USPTA and Professional-level PTR pros is the lack of mentoring. That would be one reason I would join if I were a new pro — it makes me more marketable!

If the teaching organizations want to grow I think it will come from an initiative such as this, as well as encouraging the clubs to require certification, regardless of how good a player one is. Being a good player just means you know how to hit a good ball, it doesn’t mean you can communicate those skills to someone else.

Mark Kaneko
Head Penn Racquet Sports
District Sales Manager (IL/NW Indiana)

 

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