Tennis Industry magazine

 

Court Construction & Maintenance Guide: Mark-Up Your Courts!

Tennis court contractors are adding logos, monograms and more to personalize courts.

By Mary Helen Sprecher

Bumperstickers on cars. Engraving on silverware. Tattoos. Somewhere deep in the human psyche must lurk a special gene that craves personalization of what was previously unadorned.

These days, it’s expressing itself on tennis courts.

Tennis court contractors are reporting increased interest among court owners and facility managers in the development and placement of logos and other artwork on court surfaces. “In the past several years, we have been asked to do logos on courts,” says Matt Hale of Halecon Inc. of Bridgewater, N.J. “Some of the logos are very intricate, multi-colored and detailed.” Hale’s experience has included adding logos to basketball courts, something many contractors have also experienced.

In many cases, the contractor is following an owner’s wish for self-expression. “I have always enjoyed doing jobs with logos because it is a way to make a standard tennis surface unique,” says Lee Murray of Competition Athletic Surfaces in Chattanooga, Tenn.

And then, Murray adds, there are the times a project can speak volumes about a sense of humor. “About 20 years ago, I worked on a project for a developer who was building a community that straddles the Tennessee/Georgia border. He designed the tennis courts so that the net line would be exactly on the border. If you were in Tennessee, your opponent was in Georgia. To raise awareness of this, we installed Georgia (G) and Georgia Tech (GT) logos on the Georgia side, and Tennessee (UT) and Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) on the Tennessee side. Each gate in the cut corner also had a corresponding logo at the entrance. We also installed a dashed line on the border, similar to what is printed on a map. This is a great example of how painted surface logos, relatively inexpensive, can create a unique facility.”

Traditionally, club and resort courts have had their logos emblazoned on windscreens. Courts on school campuses have made use of logos at the net line between courts and in some cases, schools have had their courts surfaced to match the school colors. (And since schools have long put logos at midfield in football stadiums and in the centers of gymnasiums, it’s easy to see where those ideas originate.) It’s a way to express school pride — and a way for a team to let opponents know whose turf they’re on and whose house it is.

Unlike basketball or football, though, tennis is steeped in its own conservative traditions, and its rules prohibit too much territoriality. Friend at Court (2013 edition) spells this out pretty clearly in Appendix III:

  1. Advertising is permitted on the net as long as it is placed on the part of the net that is within 3 feet (0.914 m) from the center of the net posts and is produced in such a way that it does not interfere with the vision of the players or the playing conditions.
  2. Advertising and other marks or material placed at the back and sides of the court shall be permitted unless it interferes with the vision of the players or the playing conditions.
  3. Advertising and other marks or material placed on the court surface outside the lines is permitted unless it interferes with the vision of the players or the playing conditions.
  4. Notwithstanding paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) above, any advertising, marks or material placed on the net or placed at the back and sides of the court, or on the court surface outside the lines may not contain white or yellow or other light colors that may interfere with the vision of the players or the playing conditions.
  5. Advertising and other marks or material are not permitted on the court surface inside the lines of the court.

Pretty explicit directions, but for all their strictness, they do seem to allow the use of appropriately colored (and non-distracting) logos outside the playing lines.

The use of logos, writing and so forth does open up the door for not merely establishing an identity and generating advertising revenues, but for listing major sponsors and donors. However, notes Art Tucker of California Products Corp. in Andover, Mass., because the area outside the lines is still used by players (for example, the clear-playing back space or the space just outside the sideline where a player might chase a ball), precautions should be observed when placing logos and decorating a court.

“Logos should be textured to avoid a slippery spot in a significant play area,” Tucker says. (Those who have ever walked across a wet parking lot in rubber-soled shoes and felt their feet slip on a painted line can attest to this hazard.)

The rules governing the placement of logos, however, don’t apply to residential courts, where sanctioned matches will never be played. In these cases, contractors have free rein, and are able to fill owners’ requests for logos, artwork, designs, monograms and more in various places on and around the court.

One person in favor of the trend of personalizing courts is Lee Murray. “Look at what they are painting on wood basketball floors now,” notes Murray. “Nearly the entire floors have artwork painted on them. Perhaps tennis would become even more exciting if they got creative with logos.”

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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.

 

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