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USTA and TIA Research Study Shows Growth in Participation Among New Players

March 21, 2003 12:42 PM

The USTA and the Tennis Industry Association (TIA) today announced the findings of the most comprehensive single-sport participation research study ever commissioned in the United States by a sports organization.

The study, conducted for the USTA and TIA by independent research firms The Taylor Research & Consulting Group and Sports Marketing Surveys, contacted via telephone over 25,000 American households resulting in over 66,000 total base observations. The survey, which will be fielded annually, was designed to more accurately quantify tennis participation throughout the U.S., establish a benchmark, and to identify challenges and opportunities to increase participation in the sport.

Key top line findings include:

  • 23.5 million Americans play tennis (defined as at least one time in the past 12 months), with participation holding steady over the past three years.
  • Growth in participation among new players is fueled by increased play among younger players (under the age of 18), African-Americans and Hispanics.
  • Over 5.1 million new players, 13.3 million continuing players and 5.1 million rejoining players (those who returned to playing after at least a year off) constitute the U.S. tennis playing population.
  • The increase in new players is offset by losses in the player base: there are over 20 million lapsed players, those who at one time regularly played, but do so no longer.

Additional key findings can be found here.

"The unprecedented depth and breadth of this research and the accompanying results provide us detailed information to distinguish players from non-players, continuing players from rejoining players, and former players from those who have never played," said Alan Schwartz, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. "The information serves as a statistically reliable benchmark for participation going forward and the foundation of the development of targeted marketing strategies for us to achieve our mission: to promote and develop the growth of the sport."

"Taking the pulse of tennis participation in America enables us to better understand the current player and potential player base--what brings players to the sport, what keeps them in it, and what prevents them from playing it," said Tom Fetzer, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. "This extensive new demographic and psychographic information identifies the challenges and opportunities we face, providing a roadmap to more effectively develop and execute a variety of new marketing and delivery programs that further diversify our playing base--to recruit, retain and recover players."

"The TIA and USTA have been working together in recent years to track participation in the sport, but not to this magnitude--this study is six times the size of any previous research for the sport at the national and regional levels," said Kurt Kamperman, President, Tennis Industry Association. "The entire industry stands to benefit from this breakthrough survey."

The USTA, its Sections as well as allied tennis organizations, will lead the effort to develop new marketing initiatives to attract, recover, and retain players, specifically in targeting kids (through their parents), young single professionals, African-Americans, and Hispanics. The USTA is currently developing strategic plans to reconnect with the more than 20 million lapsed players through increased promotion and positioning of the sport as fun, social, healthy, inclusive, accessible and affordable.

The USTA and TIA will field a follow-up survey to track participation trends in the fourth quarter of 2003.

The Tennis Industry Association is a not-for-profit trade association made up of tennis related companies and organizations. The TIA’s mission is to promote the growth and economic vitality of tennis. The TIA also serves as a unifying force within the tennis industry bringing together competitive companies to work collectively to promote and grow the sport.

The United States Tennis Association is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the United States and is a non-profit organization with more than 660,000 members. It owns and operates the US Open and selects the teams that compete in Davis Cup, Fed Cup and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It invests all its resources to promote and develop the growth of tennis, from the grass roots to the professional levels.

 

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