Tennis is Alive!

When the industry was challenged in 1994 by that infamous Sports Illustrated cover asking the unthinkable — "Is Tennis Dying?" — within a few months, on Sept. 3, 1994, to be exact, the TIA gathered representatives from most of the major tennis companies and organizations and together with the USTA, pledged to launch the "Initiative to Grow the Game." The focus of this initiative was two-fold: (1) increase tennis participation by introducing new players to tennis through free tennis lessons, and (2) change the way tennis is perceived, particularly with youth, through an image campaign.

Fourteen years later, through continued efforts, initiatives and all sectors cooperatively working together, tennis has held the No. 1 spot as the fastest growing sport and greatest participation among traditional sports for the last six years. Tennis has record growth in industry sales, tournament attendance, league growth and for the first time, since 1999, participation topped 25 million players. Not only that, tennis has positive role models — with tour professionals offering excitement, glamour and fitness appeal, and our teaching professionals helping players at all levels reach their goals and develop tennis as a lifetime passion.

This March, the USTA, TIA and industry partners launch the newest initiative, the QuickStart Tennis format for kids 10 and under. The latest effort will help us compete with popular youth sports like soccer by stressing the importance of play and team competition.

Tennis Welcome Centers, now entering its fifth year, continues to be the backbone for reaching new players. And Cardio Tennis' fitness message has pumped new life and movement into the game, and become a true media magnet with more than 270 million impressions since 2006, including television coverage and national press.

Following technology trends, we've developed an online GrowingTennis System to connect the industry to itself and to consumers. More than a million consumer queries are made monthly to the information postcards that appear on major tennis websites to promote tennis. GrowingTennis.com is a one-stop access for our trade to get involved with all the initiatives, and TennisIndustry.org connects our community of partners with industry news and sector searches. New products and services are continually added to help businesses increase their revenues (see page 27), and along with research — more than 70 annual reports and surveys — help keep a pulse on the Tennis Marketplace.

With thanks to the dedicated efforts of everyone — players, fans, teachers, businesses, organizations and industry leaders — Tennis is Alive and Growing!... and we intend to keep it that way! So Sports Illustrated, what about a new cover?

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