Tennis Continues Strong Participation Growth
The latest USTA/TIA Tennis Participation Survey shows that 1.8 million players joined the game in 2008, which boosted total U.S. participation to nearly 26.9 million players, the highest level since 1992.
Nearly 6 million new players tried tennis for the first time in 2008. And frequent players, those who play at least 21 times a year, increased by 7% to 5.62 million in 2008. The annual survey was conducted for the TIA and USTA by the Taylor Research Group.
The jump in total participation is a 7% rise over the previous year’s 25.1 million players, and a 12% increase over the five-year period beginning in 2003 through year-end 2007, when total participation was at 24 million.
Related to the rise in tennis participation, data also shows that shipments of tennis racquets and balls over that same five-year period have followed this same trend. Since 2003, adult racquet shipments were up 30%, and youth racquets increased a remarkable 80%. Tennis ball shipments were up 15% over that same time period. However, total 2008 shipments are projected to be down slightly from 2007.
There are many contributing factors for tennis’s growth, including:
- The combined efforts of the USTA, TIA and other groups bringing tennis to more and more kids through school programs and other curriculum, helping to make possible the growth in youth racquet shipments.
- Our front-line of dedicated teaching professionals and facilities who attract and keep players engaged in our sport.
- Positive role models with tennis’s professional players and increased tournament attendance.
- The sport has developed, and continues to improve, a strong infrastructure that provides more places to play, programs to learn the game, and partners to play with.
- Tennis is relatively inexpensive to play and promotes a healthy, active lifestyle with great social benefits. And an hour of competitive tennis burns more calories than most other sports.
Consumer queries to the “postcards” on the GrowingTennis System to find local tennis programs doubled from second quarter 2008 to third quarter, from 13 million to 26 million. And, the number of facilities using the GrowingTennis System increased by a remarkable 67% in that same period.
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