Our Serve: Mainstream Marketing
I was messaging recently with a colleague who left the tennis industry last fall after being heavily involved in this sport for about five years. He mentioned something to me that I really hadn’t stopped to think much about before, but now I find hard not to notice.
My colleague said now that he’s no longer immersed in tennis, he hears very little about this sport. His new job has nothing to do with tennis or sports, and he just doesn’t see or hear much about this sport that he was so much a part of.
On the one hand, I know he has other things to do in his new responsibilities and doesn’t spend his time searching for tennis online or on TV or even at his local courts. But on the other hand, it was disappointing to hear that tennis just isn’t out there in the mainstream like it needs to be. Tennis was not finding him. If you’re not involved in tennis, you don’t really hear much about it.
Think about this for a second. We’re all so immersed in tennis that we probably don’t see where this sport really fits into today’s society. With my own role in this industry, tennis is on my mind constantly, so in my world, I tend to think most people are aware of this sport to some degree. But the reality is, most people aren’t.
On a practical level, this means we need to better market this sport to the mainstream and drive awareness of tennis and all its benefits. People today have a lot of choices when it comes to keeping active. We need to make sure tennis stands out from this crowd.
How do we do this? Well, if you’ve read this column before, you know my thoughts on how we need to better market the health, fitness and social aspects of this game, along with all the other benefits tennis can bring to players of all ages and skill levels. We need to tell people why they should be playing this sport, then offering easy, social and fun ways to get them out on the courts. In a society that is getting more concerned about remaining active, both for body and mind, tennis is the perfect solution. We need to do a better job of getting that message through.
This isn’t an issue just for the USTA, or the TIA, or the teaching organizations. This is something all of us involved in this sport need to work on. Whether you’re a teaching pro, tennis volunteer, retailer, facility owner, manufacturer, avid player — whatever your connection to tennis, and whatever the reason you’re now reading this magazine — you need to be an advocate for this sport and help get the word out to mainstream consumers. We can’t rely on people simply “finding” tennis.
Peter Francesconi, Editorial Director
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.
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