Tennis Industry magazine

 

Industry News

James Blake Named Chair of USTA Foundation

Former World No. 4 pro player James Blake has been named chairman of the USTA Foundation’s Board of Directors. The Foundation is the USTA’s national charitable organization. In his new role, Blake will serve as the Foundation’s spokesperson and ambassador to promote the mission and impact of its national outreach efforts.

Blake will help promote the Foundation’s mission of providing tennis and education opportunities to under-resourced youth and individuals with disabilities. He succeeds former pro and longtime tennis journalist and advocate Mary Carillo, who served as chairwoman from 2009 to 2014.

“I’m honored to have been selected. I admire the Foundation’s pursuit to support the combination of tennis and education and the impact it has on so many youth around the country,” said Blake. “I grew up playing tennis at a young age and participated in a National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) program. It was there that I learned the value and influence tennis can add to my life while being encouraged to stay academically focused.”

Blake’s professional career spanned 14 years, in which he won 10 ATP singles titles, seven doubles titles and a Davis Cup Championship. He also reached the semifinals of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and climbed to a career-best No. 4 in the world, ranking as the top American during that time. Blake turned pro in 1999, following his sophomore year at Harvard.

Jack Thompson Honored as PTR Pro of the Year

Jack Thompson of Salisbury, N.C., has been named the PTR Professional of the Year at the 2015 PTR International Tennis Symposium, held on Hilton Head Island, S.C., in February. The award is presented to the PTR Professional who has displayed the highest standards of conduct and service to both tennis and PTR.

A PTR International Master Professional, Thompson has been a PTR member since 1983. During his 36-year career, he has been involved in virtually every aspect of tennis teaching, including a director of tennis, head pro, and head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C. Currently, Thompson is head pro at Cabarrus Country Club, and co-director of the Performance Tennis Academy at the Sportscenter in Concord, N.C.

From 1998 to 2004, Thompson’s Catawba College teams compiled win records of 70 percent, logging the best records in school history. He has produced 17 Virginia junior state champions and 11 North Carolina junior state champions. He also served as professional coach for Leigh Thompson in 1982-’83 when she ranked No. 26 in the world. With a graduate background in Exercise Physiology and Motor Learning, Thompson is co-author of “Power, Speed and Stamina for Tennis: A Complete Guide for the Player and Coach.”

Register Programs Now For ‘Try Tennis Free’

Don’t miss this chance to boost your business and bring more people into tennis with the industry-supported “Try Tennis Free” (TTF) campaign, which will run throughout the month of May.

“Tennis providers who participated in the inaugural TTF campaign last May reported that on average, facilities saw 30 new and returning players hitting their courts,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer.

The free sessions can vary depending on the location, as each facility or certified tennis professional can choose the best introductory session or program they feel will encourage new and returning players to step onto the court. Free offers can include lessons, clinics, Cardio Tennis, Play Days, and more.

Providers can easily sign up at PlayTennis.com to participate in TTF and receive free customizable marketing material to download to promote the campaign locally.

Industry numbers

Tennis Racquet Performance Specialty Stores

January-December, 2014 vs. 2013

Units 2014 677,157
  2013 690,171
  % change vs. ’13 -2%
Dollars 2014 $100,077,000
  2013 $100,709,000
  % change vs. ’13 -1%
Price 2014 $147.79
  2013 $145.92
  % change vs. ’13 1%

Top-Selling Racquets at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars

Jan.-Dec. 2014

  1. Babolat Aero Pro Drive 2013 (MP)
  2. Babolat Pure Drive GT 2012 (MP)
  3. Babolat Pur Drive Lite 2012 (MP)
  4. Babolat Aero Pro Team 2013 (MP)
  5. Head Graphene Radical MP (MP)

“Hot New Racquets”

(introduced in the past 12 months)

  1. Wilson Juice 100 S (MP)
  2. Wilson Pro Staff RF 97 Auto (MP)
  3. Babolat Pure Strike 100 (MP)
  4. Wilson Juice 100 2014 (MP)
  5. Wilson Juice 108 2014 (OS)

Top-Selling Tennis Shoes at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date dollars, Jan.-Dec. 2014

  1. Asics Gel Resolution 5
  2. Prince T22
  3. Nike Air Max Cage 2013
  4. Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour
  5. Babolat Propulse 4

Top-Selling Strings at Specialty Stores

By year-to-date units, Jan.-Dec. 2014

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

(Source: TIA)

People Watch

PTR Inducts Ashe, Names 2015 Award Winners

The late Arthur Ashe was inducted into the PTR Hall of Fame at the PTR Awards Banquet on Feb. 19.

The tennis legend and humanitarian, who died in 1993, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985 and posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993. He joins Dennis Van der Meer, Jim Verdieck and Dr. Jim Loehr in the PTR Hall of Fame.

Others honored at the 2015 PTR International Tennis Symposium are:

Short Sets

‘Green’ Solutions Can Save You Money

 The Tennis Legacy Fund is a non-profit committed to increasing the awareness of sustainability within the tennis industry and community. To help tennis providers operate a more profitable and sustainable business, TI magazine will run occasional tips by the Tennis Legacy Fund in partnership with Greenlight Solutions and a sustainability initiative by students at Arizona State University

Shoes Take-Back Program: Tennis facility members go through many pairs of tennis shoes, and those used shoes can make your facility some money. Do you ever wonder where your members’ old shoes go when they arrive with a new pair to play? That’s where shoeboxrecycling.com can help your business. Sign-up on their website, receive prepaid boxes/labels, send it back and make 50 cents for every pound of shoes. — Devon Edwards

Sport Court, Prince Form Marketing Partnership

 Sport Court and Prince Global Sports have announced a joint, multi-year partnership designed to enhance awareness of their respective brands and products. The agreement will focus on marketing strategies including co-branded sponsorship of major tennis events and grassroots promotion of the sport using Sport Court modular courts and Prince products.

“Sport Court is extremely pleased to join the prestigious Prince brand in the promotion of our products centered on the engineered safety of our surfaces and the growth of the sport of tennis,” says Lee Sponaugle, director of National Accounts and Tennis at Connor Sport Court International.

As a centerpiece of the new alliance, Prince will use a unique Sport Court/Prince branded 36-foot PowerGame court as part of a variety of marketing and grassroots initiatives and events.

“As an innovative tennis brand, we are committed to finding new and exciting ways to grow and promote the game of tennis. Our alliance with Sport Court moves us firmly towards our goals,” adds Paige Miller, Prince’s director of brand marketing.

Tennis Channel to Broadcast Squash

The Professional Squash Association (PSA) and Tennis Channel announced a multi-year agreement in which Tennis Channel will become the exclusive North American broadcast partner of the PSA and show close to 170 hours of top-tier squash competition on the network and its digital subscription service, Tennis Channel Plus.

Ten PSA tournaments will appear on Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel Plus throughout the year, among them prestigious events like the British Open, US Open, PSA World Series Finals and PSA World Championship. Tennis Channel Plus will carry all matches live and on-demand, with delayed telecasts of select events to follow on the linear channel, including a weekly "Squash Sunday" program.

Triple-Court LED Kits From Access Fixtures

Access Fixtures of Worcester, Mass., has introduced triple-court LED tennis court lighting packages, for three adjacent tennis courts.

“While Access Fixtures has been providing customized LED lighting solutions for tennis clubs, country clubs, resorts and schools, we created standard packages based on repetitive requests for similar LED lighting solutions," says Access Fixtures CEO Steven Rothschild. "Our new LED tennis court lighting packages expand the offering from single and twin LED tennis court lighting kits. Standardization adds value for our customers.”

Compared to HID sources like metal halide, LED has instant-on/instant-off capabilities, reduced energy use, reduced maintenance, and max/min factors for more even lighting levels, says Access Fixtures (AccessFixtures.com or 506-657-8600).

Prince Signs Sponsor Deal with BB&T Atlanta Open

Prince Global Sports, which relocated to Atlanta within the past year, has signed a three-year agreement with the BB&T Atlanta Open, an ATP World Tour event, in which the equipment brand will be the presenting sponsor of the tournament’s Family Zone.

As a centerpiece of the new Family Zone in Atlantic Station’s Central Park, Prince will lay down its new Prince Sport Court. Additionally, Prince will be the tournament’s official racquet, string and grip and will provide the official string service at the event. The tournament will be held July 25-Aug. 2.

Babolat Offers New M7 String

Babolat’s newest tennis string is the M7, a multifilament the company says offers competitive players a blend of power and durability without compromising comfort.

Developed in France, Babolat M7 combines a patented multifilament construction composed of seven monofilaments/100 percent polyamide — the first of its kind. “The Babolat M7 is ideal for a competitive junior or club-level player looking for the soft feel and power of a multifilament, but with more durability,” says Babolat String Product Manager Franck Fernier.

Babolat M7 is available in 17/1.25mm and 16/1.30mm gauges. Suggested retail price is $15.95.

WTA Sees Increase in TV, Digital Audiences

The WTA announced 2014 year-end global TV and digital audience figures that are up 22.5 percent from 2013, according to a report by SMG Insight, for the dedicated broadcast of 22 WTA premier tournaments.

The most-watched tournament of the year was BNP Paribas WTA Finals presented by SC Global Singapore, attracting 26.9 million viewers across seven days of tennis. The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells provided the season’s most-watched day of broadcast in 2014, with 4.6 million fans accessing the semifinals. The event also generated the largest growth in audience, a rise of 95.4%, almost doubling from 11.76 million viewers in 2013 to 22.98 million in 2014.

USTA Foundation Awards $2.3 Million in 2014

USTA Foundation, the national charitable organization of the USTA, has completed its 2014 funding cycle by awarding $741,500 in grants — both program grants and capacity building grants — to 44 organizations nationwide. Those organizations were recognized for their efforts in providing tennis and education to under-resourced youth and individuals with disabilities, as well those organizations with a need for program infrastructure support.

Combined with previously awarded grants and scholarships, this latest grant funding brings the total awarded by the USTA Foundation in 2014 to more than $2.3 million.

“The USTA Foundation is honored to recognize such outstanding organizations around this country, which greatly impact so many deserving students, children in need and the communities in which they live,” says Dan Faber, executive director of the USTA Foundation. To date, the foundation has awarded more than $19.5 million in grants and scholarships to hundreds of programs.

New Ashaway Badminton Strings

Ashaway Racket Strings has added two new 22-gauge (0.66 mm) badminton strings. Both ZyMax 66 Fire and ZyMax 66 Fire Power use Ashaway’s proprietary BETA polymer fibers, and are constructed using the company’s special ZyWeaVe string core technology. But by varying the polymer formulation slightly, ZyMax 66 Fire has been optimized for precision shot making, while ZyMax 66 Fire Power maximizes power and repulsion.

USRSA Announces New MRTs

Alex Simon - Estero, FL

Thomas Sangyun Dwak - Korea

 

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