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Industry News

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Group to Study USTA Membership Decline

In response to a decline in USTA membership for 2012, USTA President Dave Haggerty announced the formation of a Membership Innovation Study Group to recommend models that can help boost membership in the organization.

The USTA has more than 750,000 individual members, but in an email to USTA staff and volunteers, Haggerty said membership for 2012 had declined by 1.8%, or 13,733 members, which he termed “unprecedented.”

“Historically, USTA Membership has reported modest annual increases of 2 to 3 percent in member count each year,” Haggerty wrote, adding the decline for 2012 “was in spite of bringing in over 45,000 new 10 and under members.” He also said that so far in 2013, the member count declines are continuing, to the tune of 2 percent to 3 percent each month.

In contrast, the latest USTA/TIA Participation Study showed that tennis participation in the U.S. increased for 2012. Overall participation went up 4 percent to 28.04 million, while frequent players increased 10 percent to 5.3 million.

The goal of the Membership Innovation Study Group, Haggerty wrote, “is to evaluate potential new membership models to enable us to remain relevant to consumers, while remaining sensitive to the financial needs of the sections.” USTA membership determines voting strength of the sections and section funding.

The study group met at the end of May, and Haggerty says more information about what the group is working on will be coming over the next few months. The group, which has about 15 members, is being led by USTA Chief Executive of Community Tennis Kurt Kamperman and Membership Director Sherry Elinsky, and includes Section presidents, executive directors, delegates, membership staff and committee members, among others.

ESPN to Air US Open, USOS Starting in 2015; CBS Out

The USTA has entered into an 11-year media partnership with ESPN for the television and digital presentation of the US Open and the Emirates Airline US Open Series. The agreement will begin in 2015 and run through the 2025 US Open and provide more than 200 hours of live coverage each summer, including 130 hours of US Open coverage. Current domestic television agreements with CBS, which is in about 15 million more households than ESPN or ESPN2, conclude following the 2014 US Open. CBS has carried the US Open since 1968.

ESPN will have the right to sub-license coverage with agreement from the USTA. The comprehensive deal includes rights for all ESPN platforms including cable television, digital distribution and live-streaming of US Open matches.

“By teaming with the worldwide leader in sports, the USTA will continue to ensure that tennis at every level thrives in the United States,” said USTA President Dave Haggerty.

“One of the most important aspects of the new broadcast agreement is the increased coverage of the US Open across multiple platforms, delivering tennis to more fans in the formats that today’s consumers demand,” said Gordon Smith, USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer.

Grassroots Influencers Welcome In PHIT America Alliance

The PHIT America Alliance has created a new category to help support the health and fitness campaign. “Ambassadors” include grassroots influencers such as tennis teaching pros, fitness professionals, retailers, park & rec administrators, P.E. and school teachers or any individual who wants to help spread the word about PHIT America and healthy living.

“Ever since our first News Flash article, we have been approached by grassroots influencers, coaches, professional athletes and many P.E. teachers asking how they can help support PHIT America,” says Jim Baugh, founder of PHIT America. “So, we decided to add the Ambassador category, to help promote our cause along with the 130 PHIT America corporate sponsors.”

Ambassadors will receive PHIT America News Flashes and are asked to forward them to their contacts via email, Facebook, Twitter or any other efficient way. All Ambassadors are listed on PHITAmerica.org with their professional affiliation and a link to a website of their choice.

Interested individuals can become an Ambassador by emailing Ambassador@PHITAmerica.org. Send your name, email address, professional affiliation(s) and a URL you would like to have linked from your listing on PHITAmerica.org.

USPTA World Conference to Feature New Format

The USPTA’s annual awards program will have a new look and format this year during the World Conference Sept. 23-27 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Fla. The awards luncheon, which takes place on Sept. 27, will feature keynote speaker Pat Williams. Williams is the co-founder and senior VP of the Orlando Magic, a basketball Hall of Famer and a top motivational speaker.

The luncheon will honor the recipients of the association’s highest distinctions, including: USPTA Tim Heckler Hall of Fame Award, Alex Gordon Professional of the Year Award, USPTA Master Professionals and USTA/USPTA Community Service Award.

The conference will feature 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. The conference also offers a tennis-only buying show, International Tennis Championships, networking opportunities, and more.

Visit usptaworldconference.com or call 800-877-8248.

Tennis Channel Loses Appeal to Comcast

A federal appeals court ruled unanimously May 28 that Comcast did not discriminate against the Tennis Channel by placing it in a different cable television subscription tier than Comcast’s own sports networks.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed a 2012 FCC decision that Comcast unfairly placed the sports channel in a more expensive viewing tier than its own Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network. The FCC had voted 3-2 to require Comcast to put Tennis Channel on par with its own sports network, marking the first time a cable network prevailed over a cable operator under the FCC’s 1993 federal anti-discrimination program carriage rules.

Comcast, however, argued that the FCC’s requirement infringed upon its freedom of editorial judgment and speech and that its placement of the Tennis Channel was based on the financial analysis, not discrimination against a rival.

Tennis Channel said in a statement Comcast’s “clear pattern of discrimination … warrants further review of the panel’s decision and we intend to seek that review.”

Comcast said, “Tennis Channel received exactly the carriage it bargained for and agreed to. Comcast’s decision to carry Tennis Channel was the product of legitimate business considerations, not affiliation.”

Hall of Fame Gains Top Museum Accreditation

The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, R.I., has achieved accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), which is the highest professional achievement in the museum industry. AAM Accreditation indicates that the accredited museum is operating at the highest level of museum professional standards and that it demonstrates a commitment to excellence in all that it does.

Of the nation’s estimated 17,500 museums, just over 1,000 are accredited, and the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is the first sports hall of fame to receive the honor. It is the second sports museum (American Museum of Fly Fishing) and the second hall of fame (Country Music Hall of Fame) to achieve this distinction.

Head Partners with (RED) to Combat AIDS

At the French Open, Head launched a (RED) Special Edition bag collection to help in the fight against AIDS. Head said 40 percent of the profits from each Head Red bag will go to the Global Fund to fight AIDS. The bag was carried by Head pros including Novak Djokovic, Sloane Stephens and Gilles Simon. The bag collection includes a Red Monstercombi ($110) with compartments for 12 racquets and a Red Backpack ($70). The Global Fund provides programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and (RED), co-founded by singer Bono, partners with various brands to also combat AIDS.

USTC to Bring World-Class Training to Recreational Players

The US Tennis Congress (USTC), a new initiative for adult recreational players, will deliver world-class training and education to adult amateurs at the organization’s first gathering Oct. 11-14 in Atlanta. The faculty includes Olympic silver medalist Emilio Sanchez, two-time Wimbledon doubles champion Don Johnson, and several former Top 100 professionals, in addition to top teaching pros.

“I’ve met hundreds of other adult players who, like me, are deeply passionate about achieving their personal best,” says USTC founder P.J. Simmons. “We have no illusions about ever playing like a world-ranked player, but we love the sport. We designed the USTC to help more adults experience the kind of comprehensive, cutting-edge training a junior could at a tennis academy, in order to fast-track their progress and fulfill their dreams. Think of it as a TED-style conference meets tennis camp.”

The USTC-Atlanta will be at the Dolce Atlanta Hotel & Resort and the Peachtree City Tennis Center and will feature more than 35 top experts on its world-class faculty. USTC also has created a “Teaching Pro Observer Program” for a limited number of teaching pros and coaches to audit master classes and workshops. Participants will be eligible for continuing education credits from PTR and USPTA and have the opportunity to gain certifications in Cardio Tennis and TRX Cardio Tennis. For details and registration, visit ustenniscongress.com.

Peoplewatch

Gamma Offers Orange and Green Dot Balls

Gamma Sports is shipping new 60 Orange Dot and 78 Green Dot balls for 10 & Under Tennis and ITF Tennis 10s and Tennis Xpress lessons and play.

The 60 Orange Dot ball is 50 percent slower than a standard yellow tennis ball, ideal for ages 10 and under on a 60-foot court and adult beginners. The 78 Green Dot ball is 25 percent slower than a yellow tennis ball, ideal for ages 10 and under and 11+ and adult beginners on a 78-foot court.

Visit gammasports.com or email pm@gammasports.com.

Sam Chan is New USRSA Tester Down Under

The U.S. Racquet Stringers Association announces that Sam Chan is the newest USRSA certification tester in Australia. Chan has been stringing racquets for 40 years and has been a member of the official stringing team at 17 Grand Slams and Masters events, and also at other ATP and WTA tournaments.

Chan, who moved from London to Australia in 2011, also was a stringer at the Olympic games in Athens, and in 2006 was on the official stringing teams for all four Grand Slams tournaments. He’s also a certification tester for ERSA and CRSA, and he initiated and organized racquet-stringing courses in mainland China for a number of years.

By the numbers

Tennis Racquet Performance: Specialty Stores

January-March, 2013 vs. 2012
Units 2013 119,590
2012 138,764
% change vs. ’12 -14%
Dollars 2013 $17,702,000
2012 $19,477,000
% change vs. ’12 -9%
Price 2013 $148.02
2012 $140.36
% change vs. ’12 5%

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-March 2013

Best Sellers

  1. Babolat Aero Pro Drive 2013 (MP)
  2. Babolat Pure Drive GT 2012 (MP)
  3. Wilson BLX Juice (MP)
  4. Wilson Steam 99S (MP)
  5. Babolat Aero Pro Drive GT (MP)

“Hot New Racquets”

(introduced in the past 12 months)

  1. Babolat Aero Pro Drive 2013 (MP)
  2. Wilson Steam 99S (MP)
  3. Wilson Steam 105S (OS)
  4. Head Graphene Speed Pro (MP)
  5. Babolat Aero Pro Team 2013 (MP)

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-March 2013

  1. Prince T22
  2. Adidas AdiPower Barricade 7
  3. Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour
  4. Nike Air Max Cage 2013
  5. Asics Gel Resolution 5

Top-Selling Tennis Strings at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date units, Jan.-March 2013

  1. Prince Synthetic Gut Duraflex
  2. Babolat RPM Blast
  3. Wilson NXT
  4. Wilson Sensation
  5. Luxilon Alu Power

Shortsets

USTA Partners with Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City has been named the exclusive medical services provider and hospital of the USTA and US Open. In addition to providing on-site clinical care for tennis professionals competing in the US Open, Mount Sinai’s team of experts will lead the development of policies around injury prevention and will conduct educational outreach to promote the health benefits of tennis.

In conjunction with the new partnership, Dr. Alexis Chiang Colvin, will serve as the USTA’s Chief Medical Officer. Colvin is an assistant professor of sports medicine and a specialist in the surgical treatment of sports-related injuries of the knee, shoulder and hip. In her new role with the USTA, Colvin will assist with initiatives across multiple divisions, including player development, community tennis, and diversity and inclusion. She previously served as a consultant to the USTA for the US Open.

Prince to Sponsor ‘Meet & Greet’ at IART

The 7th annual IART Racquet Technicians Symposium is set to kick off on Sept. 21, with a new format for the first day, says IART symposium founder Tim Strawn. The opening “meet and greet” will take place on the tennis courts.

Prince Sports will sponsor opening-day events beginning with Cardio Tennis, a round-robin tournament, then time for attendees to demo new Prince racquets. The group then moves inside for drinks and food provided by Prince. There will also be a trivia quiz with prizes that include autographed racquets from Prince touring pros. Prince is also offering a free “hoodie” to those who register before July 15.

In addition, Wilson will give away a Baiardo stringing machine that was used at the 2013 Australian Open. Early registration will ensure more chances to win the machine. The IART symposium runs from Sept. 21 to 25 at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa and will include USRSA certification testing, the ERSA Pro Tour Stringer exam, and a four-hour racquet customization class. Visit gssalliance.com and click “symposium,” or contact Strawn at tim@gssalliance.com or 540-632-1148.

Sport Court Completes Marine Base Renovation

Sport Court of Southern California recently completed a major recreation facility renovation at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego that included two new acrylic tennis courts, four new PowerGame modular basketball courts, the conversion of two existing cracked hard tennis courts to synthetic grass, and a new indoor track and training area.

Home to the Third Marine Aircraft Wing, MCAS Miramar hosts over 25,000 active duty military, families, civilians, and guests on any given day and is home to over 400 military families.

“This facility upgrade will go a long way to support our warriors from a fitness and readiness standpoint,” says Frank Guasti, Miramar’s capital improvements officer. “The courts, along with our new indoor track and turf area, also give our Marine’s families and children a place to play, stay fit, and have a lot of fun. We couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.”

Lobster Offers New Elite Liberty Ball Machine

Lobster Sports’ latest addition to the Elite Series line of portable tennis ball machines is the Elite Liberty. Lobster says the Elite Liberty was developed to meet the needs of beginners to intermediate players who seek advanced control of ball speeds and ball spins at an affordable price.

Ball speed can range from 20 to 80 mph. The machine, which has a suggested retail price of $899, can hold 150 balls and produce shots from groundstrokes to lobs, will a variety of spins. Battery life is two hours. Optional accessories include a wireless remote control, fast chargers, and external AC power supply. For more information, contact 800-526-4041.

Two Named PTR International Master Professionals

Felipe Alarcon of Bradenton, Fla., and Savina Diankova of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., have been selected as PTR International Master Professionals. PTR established the International Master Professional designation to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the game of tennis throughout their careers. There are only 33 PTR International Master Professionals.

Alarcon (at left, with PTR CEO Dan Santorum and Diankova) came to the U.S. from Ecuador in 2011. He currently works at Pembroke Lake Parks. Diankova has been involved with tennis for more than 37 years. She came to the U.S. after coaching in her native Bulgaria, then Turkey. She is the director of tennis at Hudson Valley Health & Tennis Club.

Congratulations to the Following for Achieving MRT Status

Beth McCaskill, Duluth, GA

Kaitlin Flaherty, Fayetteville, NC

Michael Vernon, Sunnyvale, CA

Shawn Arnette, Lawrenceville, GA

Tom Daglis, Fayetteville, NC

Member classifieds

FOR SALE: 2 Prince Impact m/p 4 3/8 for sale. They are in good shape. Please Email me at: misawagt@gmail.com. George W. Theobald

 

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