Tennis Industry magazine


Our Serve: A Winning Game

By Peter Francesconi

If we truly value research in this industry, let’s focus on Cardio Tennis’ winning numbers.

It’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. That’s why research into the tennis industry is so important.

The research resource for this industry is the Tennis Industry Association, which produces dozens of reports each year, geared toward both the overall industry and specific segments. Facilities, retailers, manufacturers, colleges, teaching pros, USTA sections — even park & recs and other community-based organizations — all can benefit from research the TIA compiles. A taste of this research appears in this issue, starting on page 33.

To be honest, the numbers indicate that there’s not a lot we should be celebrating right now. Overall participation, while up slightly from a year ago, is essentially flat. Total “play occasions” are down slightly, which is a concern. Youth tennis participation is up a bit from a year ago, which is nice to see as we begin “Net Generation,” an initiative to bring in more young players.

But one of the bright spots in tennis participation is, yet again, the increase in the number of people playing Cardio Tennis — from 1.82 million in 2015 to 2.12 million at year-end 2016. Since first being measured by the Physical Activity Council in 2008, Cardio Tennis has seen a 156 percent increase in participation.

In 2016, of the 118 sports and activities measured in the annual PAC report, Cardio Tennis ranked No. 1 in year-over-year growth. That’s a great statistic, and it’s one we need to trumpet throughout the country.

I’ve long been a fan of Cardio Tennis, for a number of reasons. The high-energy fitness workout combines the best features of tennis with cardiovascular exercise. When it was first created, many in the industry could see how Americans were ready for something that was more exciting than the usual gym workout or daily run.

Many also saw an opportunity for the sport of tennis. Cardio Tennis is a natural way to get more people playing the sport, and it’s a great way for pros and facilities to make additional money. It puts a lot of people on the court at one time, gets them fit, is fun and ensures they’ll keep coming back. It’s simple: Cardio Tennis creates frequent and “core” tennis players — and that’s what all segments of this industry need.

This isn’t rocket science. Look at Cardio Tennis’ track record. Look at the numbers and the trends. Then, let’s make decisions — for this industry, and for your business — that take advantage of what’s working.

Peter Francesconi

Editorial Director

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.



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