TIA Recognizes 12 Southern Tennis Welcome Centers

May 12, 2009 04:32 PM

in alphabetical order by facility name

Bluegrass Yacht & Country Club, Hendersonville, TN
Cary Tennis Park, Cary, NC
Center Court Youth Tennis Association, Arnaudville, LA
Cooper Creek Tennis Center, Columbus, GA
Family Circle Tennis Center, Charleston, SC
Greenville Country Club, Greenville, MS
Hamilton Family YMCA Tennis Center, Chattanooga, TN
Lake Charles Country Club, Lake Charles, LA
Lexington County Tennis Complex, Lexington, SC
Millbrook Exchange Tennis Center, Raleigh, NC
Raleigh Racquet Club, Raleigh, NC
Reynolds Plantation Lake Club Tennis Center, Greensboro, GA

Twelve Tennis Welcome Centers from around the South are among the "Top 50 Tennis Welcome Centers of 2008" that have been recognized by the Tennis Industry Association, U.S. Tennis Association and the trade magazine Racquet Sports Industry as leading the charge in the growth of the sport by providing well-rounded programs to new and current players of all ages and abilities.

The tennis facilities honored all exhibited excellent participation figures involving new and returning players, support of industry programs and community tennis development, and were active with Tennis Welcome Center facility requirements, among other criteria.

“All of the more than 2,500 Tennis Welcome Centers have played a key role in the increased tennis participation we’ve seen in the last few years in the U.S.,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “These Top 50 Tennis Welcome Centers have been doing an exemplary job of creating a positive tennis experience for people in their communities. Tennis Welcome Centers serve a vital role in delivering tennis. The TIA, together with the USTA, is very pleased to recognize these efforts with this award.”

“Tennis teaching professionals, facility managers and the staff of these TWCs play a critical role in ensuring the continued growth of players in our sport,” says Glenn Arrington, the USTA National Manager for Tennis Welcome Centers. “The USTA remains committed in our support of the TIA and of the Tennis Welcome Center Initiative, which helps introduce thousands of new players to tennis each year.”

To choose the Top 50 TWCs, an independent research firm, Sports Marketing Surveys USA of Jupiter, Fla., received nominations via an online survey. The company then used extensive criteria measures to determine this year’s winners, which also were reviewed by an Awards Committee. This is the third year that this prestigious recognition has been awarded.

The Tennis Welcome Center initiative is backed by all sectors of the industry, from governing bodies and manufacturers to media, retailers, teaching organizations, pro groups and facilities. Popular pro players Maria Sharapova and James Blake are spokesmodels for the program, which is free to tennis facilities that wish to support industry efforts to grow participation through specific programming and marketing.

The TWC initiative has been a key factor in tennis reaching nearly 27 million recreational players in 2008, which is the highest participation level in 15 years. In addition, according to a study by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, from 2000 to 2008 tennis participation has grown 43%, by far the fastest growing traditional participation sport, well ahead of its nearest rival (racquetball, at 11.6%) and far surpassing sports such as golf, soccer, basketball, swimming and baseball, most of which saw declining participation over the same eight years. Also, industry research shows that both racquet sales and ball sales have increased for the last five years from 2003 through 2008.

The Tennis Welcome Center initiative is a joint effort by the Tennis Industry Association and U.S. Tennis Association to promote the growth of tennis. Participation in the program is free to facilities that agree to meet qualifications in programming and other aspects. All Tennis Welcome Center locations receive valuable benefits and promotion. For information on becoming a TWC, visit http://partners.tenniswelcomecenter.com or growingtennis.com or email info@growingtennis.com.