Research, Task Force Efforts Highlight TIA Board Meeting

New York City was the gathering place March 1 for a TIA board of directors meeting designed to include the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup, the Madison Square Garden event for which the TIA was a participating sponsor. Also taking place that night was Tennis Night in America and the Racket UP, America! million-dollar serve.

In an afternoon board meeting, members heard about the state of the industry with a year-end research review, along with updates on trends and challenges that all sectors are facing. A key part of the meeting was an update on three task forces—Economic Growth, Frequent Player Growth, and Communications/Positioning—that the TIA created a year ago to address issues facing the tennis industry.

Special guests at the meeting included USTA Chairman of the Board and President Lucy Garvin. She told the board the USTA is looking at a long-range master plan to update the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and that recent moves within the USTA have “woven together” the Professional Tennis and Community Tennis divisions.

Dave Miley, executive director of tennis development for the International Tennis Federation, updated the group on “Play & Stay,” which is similar to QuickStart Tennis in the U.S. A proposed ITF rule change for January 2012 will say that transition balls, not regulation tennis balls, will be used for ITF sanctioned 10-and-under events.

Also attending the meeting were USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith and Jerry Solomon, who is the president of StarGames, which was one of the presenters of the BNP Paribas Showdown. At the MSG event, Christine Smith of Texas, the random winner of the industry’s Racket UP, America! promotion, was unsuccessful in her try to serve to a target for $1 million.

The next morning, there was a small meeting for retailers to discuss issues important to their business and to their relationship with manufacturers.

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