Our Serve: Repair and Replace
It’s time for an industry-supported, comprehensive campaign to educate consumers about their equipment.
One thing you can pretty much count on in this industry is that there will always be some sort of grow-the-game campaign or initiative, or even a major “focus” on a particular group or program, that’s designed to boost tennis and bring more people into the game. (In fact, over the next six months or so, you’ll probably hear much more about a major initiative by the USTA targeted mainly at youth players of all ages, including through high school.)
It’s debatable whether, over the years, these initiatives and campaigns can be considered to have been effective. In many instances, success or effectiveness depends on which segment of this industry you are a part of.
For your own business — whether as a tennis retailer, facility manager, teaching pro, stringer, manufacturer, court builder — you know when a particular campaign or initiative has had a positive impact on your bottom line. And that’s a pretty good measure of its success, at least for your business.
But there’s one initiative that we haven’t yet been able to crank into high gear. We need an all-encompassing, industry-wide campaign to start educating tennis consumers about their equipment, and how important it is to upgrade and replace equipment regularly. For tennis providers in all segments of this industry, a campaign such as this can be incredibly important.
This isn’t a new idea. In fact, a number of years ago, the TIA created a “Tennis Tune-Up” promotion to get across the idea that consumers need to restring their racquets and buy new racquets and shoes regularly. (You can still find Tennis Tune-Up on PlayTennis.com.)
And the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association, under Executive Director Bob Patterson, continues to push the idea of educating consumers about their equipment. For the USRSA, the first step in this endeavor is making sure stringers, retailers and other tennis providers have the information and knowledge they need to provide their customers with proper advice.
But this equipment “tune-up” type of campaign needs to involve all segments of this industry. Players need to know that their strings and racquets wear out, and that restringing and replacing equipment will help them to play their best and avoid injury. Which, of course, means that they will play more tennis. It’s a message that needs to come from stringers, retailers, teaching pros, league captains, manufacturers and more. And it is a message that is essential to keeping this industry vital.
Our industry needs to come together and provide resources and support to create a comprehensive campaign, to promote the idea that players must refurbish and replace their equipment regularly. One of the best things we all can do for this sport is, collectively, to encourage tennis consumers to buy tennis products and services. It needs to be an industry priority.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.
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