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Tennis Australia Promotes Cardio Tennis

Developed by the TIA and USTA, Cardio Tennis rolls out to consumers Down Under in major campaign during the Australian Open.

In just six years, Cardio Tennis in the U.S. has more than 1.5 million participants, according to data by the Physical Activity Council. But the health, fitness and tennis program also has been popular globally, expanding into more than 30 countries.

Now, Cardio Tennis (visit CardioTennis.com), which was developed by the U.S.-based Tennis Industry Association (TIA) in conjunction with the U.S. Tennis Association, is a cornerstone of a major tennis participation program by Tennis Australia, the governing body of tennis in that country of 23 million.

Tennis Australia launched its major consumer tennis participation campaign to coincide with the 2012 Australian Open, currently being played in Melbourne. Michele Krause, the TIA’s Cardio Tennis Program Manager, has been working with Tennis Australia for more than a year to help roll out Cardio Tennis Down Under and train that country’s nearly 400 national coaches.

“What an amazing experience, seeing the promotional force put behind Cardio Tennis by Tennis Australia,” said Krause shortly after returning from Melbourne in mid-January, where she spent time with Tennis Australia officials who were overseeing the consumer launch. “I was standing in front of Rod Laver Arena as thousands of people were walking by in the first days of the Australian Open, and in front of me was a huge Cardio Tennis sign. It’s thrilling to see this level of excitement and engagement.”

“We are so keen to progress our tennis mission statement of ‘more players, more often,’” says Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood, “that we’ve decided to significantly increase our focus and resources on … two major initiatives—Hot Shots [a starter program for kids] and Cardio Tennis. Tennis is truly a game for life and all of us at Tennis Australia will be working toward seeing every child with a racquet in their hand and adults rediscovering the joys of tennis through Cardio Tennis.”

Since the Australian Open is run by Tennis Australia, it was a natural tie-in to launch a consumer participation initiative at the same time. “That’s been a key to the exposure Cardio Tennis has received throughout Australia,” Krause says. “There have been multiple Cardio Tennis ‘showcases’ on the main courts at the Aussie Open, which have included celebrities and professional dancers. They even have people positioned within the stadium to encourage audience engagement.”

Besides on-court demos and signage throughout the grounds of Melbourne Park, other exposure at the Australian Open included a “mini flash mob” in a plaza area featuring a Cardio Tennis workout, a national free lesson promotion and a Cardio Tennis booth in the Grand Slam Oval.

Cardio Tennis also has been featured on the popular Aussie morning TV program “Sunrise” and mentioned in numerous newspaper, magazine and website stories. Tennis Australia has been running a series of advertisements in men’s and women’s health magazines, along with sponsoring a national radio advertising campaign. The program also has been visible as part of the lead-in tournaments to the Australian Open, and in each of Australia’s six states. Tennis Australia’s Community Tennis Organizers have all been trained in Cardio Tennis as well.

“We’re very pleased Tennis Australia reached out to the TIA to incorporate Cardio Tennis into their efforts to drive tennis participation in their country,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “We are excited to see the energy and enthusiasm displayed by this group in recognizing the pure benefits that a program like Cardio Tennis can provide in Australia—not only for their clubs and coaches to engage their members and local communities, but also to help make a real impact in play frequency and people’s overall health.”

“Cardio Tennis is a great way for people of all ages and abilities, particularly for time-poor young adults, to enjoy tennis as a fitness program,” says Travis Atkinson, Tennis Australia’s manager, coach development. “Cardio Tennis will revolutionize the way tennis clubs and coaches attract and communicate with their members and their local communities.”

In the U.S., Cardio Tennis participation increased 35% from 2009 to 2010 and 81% since its inception in 2005, according to 2011 data from the Physical Activity Council, which tracks participation in 117 sports. The PAC study also says 1.5 million Americans play Cardio Tennis. According to the TIA, Cardio Tennis is now offered at more than 1,800 U.S. tennis facilities, and is in 30 countries. For more information, visit CardioTennis.com.

 

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