2015/07/05

Tennis Industry Association: Pope Talks Tennis at the Vatican; Cardio Tennis Debuts to Coaches in Italy

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From the Tennis Industry Association: HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (May 14, 2015) — During the qualifying tennis tournament for the Italian Open in Rome in early May, the Italian Tennis Federation (FIT) hosted a special session at the Vatican with Pope Francis, who used the encounter to speak about sports and tennis as an “educational experience.” The audience with the Pope was the opening session for the 2nd Annual International Tennis Coaches Symposium.

Nearly 7,000 tennis coaches, their families and others involved in the sport were in attendance in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall on May 8, including coaching legend Nick Bollettieri; former touring pro, longtime tennis director and current PTR President Roy Barth; past PTR President Jorge Andrew; U.S. mental toughness coach Lorenzo Beltram; well-known Italian coach Pablo Lozano; Tennis Industry Association (TIA) Executive Director Jolyn de Boer; and TIA Cardio Tennis Manager Michele Krause.

“There are three paths—three fundamental pillars—for children and young people: Education (in the school and in the family), sport and work,” Pope Francis told the coaches. “When we have all three—school, sport and work—then there exists the conditions to develop a full and authentic life, avoiding those dependencies that poison and ruin existence.

“You athletes have a mission to fulfill: To be, for those who admire you, good role models,” the Pope said. “And also you managers, coaches and others working in sport: You are called to give a good witness to human values, practitioners of a sporting profession that is always fair and transparent.

“I would … urge each of you to get into the game, not only in sport—as you already do and with excellent results—but in life, the pursuit of the good, the true good, without fear, with courage and enthusiasm,” he added.

Following the Pope’s address and blessing, the Symposium moved to the historic Foro Italico, site of the Italian Open. Hosted by the FIT, the gathering of more than 3,000 tennis professionals and coaches is the world’s largest tennis symposium. Cardio Tennis, a program managed by the TIA, was presented and demonstrated on the Grand Stand Court by de Boer and Krause.

The on-court Cardio Tennis participants wore Polar Bluetooth heart-rate transmitters and the data for each participant was displayed on the court’s large Jumbotron so the audience could see the players’ heart rates live and follow their progress as they were put through the Cardio Tennis session, burning calories and getting their heart rate into their training zones.

Cardio Tennis already is offered in more than 30 countries, including as a key pillar for tennis participation in Australia and the United Kingdom. In the U.S., more than 1.7 million people participate in Cardio Tennis.

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Recap of 2015 Tennis Industry Association Tennis Summit at Indian Wells

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From the Tennis Industry Association: RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIF. (March 25, 2015) – A high-powered lineup of tennis, sports and business executives shared their insights, issues, and concerns at the 2015 Tennis Industry Association (TIA) Tennis Summit, held March 17-18 in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Open men’s and women’s professional tennis tournament in Indian Wells, Calif. The event was held at the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in nearby Rancho Mirage.

 

Among the speakers at the Tennis Summit were TV sports broadcaster Ted Robinson, sports and performance psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Jim Loehr, USTA President and CEO Katrina Adams, Women’s Tennis Association Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster, ATP Tour Vice President of Marketing George Ciz, Life Time Fitness Founder and CEO Bahram Akradi, Sports & Fitness Industry Association President and CEO Tom Cove, U.S. Professional Tennis Association CEO John Embree, Professional Tennis Registry CEO Dan Santorum, Tennis Hall of Fame coaching legend Nick Bollettieri, tennis management company founder and former pro player Peter Burwash, Mylan World TeamTennis CEO and Commissioner Ilana Kloss, Tennis Magazine Publisher Jeff Williams, and Tennis Channel Vice President David Egdes.

 

“We brought together a terrific lineup of tennis industry executives, legends, pros, coaches and other sports and business personalities to examine the state of the tennis industry and the sport,” said TIA President Greg Mason. “Our speakers hit key topics and themes that will affect growth in every segment of the tennis industry. Plus, attendees were able to ask questions and make comments at a number of ‘Open Forums.’ The interaction produced spirited discussions that will help the sport move forward.”

 

Topics that were addressed at the Summit included:

  • How the sport can remain relevant-and grow-in today’s business climate.
  • The importance of tennis in today’s society and what the sport can learn from other sports.
  • Challenges and opportunities facing tennis, including the key tennis delivery system and teaching professionals.
  • The drive for healthy and fit lifestyles through tennis.
  • The importance of two major tennis infrastructure projects-one in Florida, the other in at the US Open in New York-to the growth of the sport.
  • The growth of the professional tours and how they’re connecting with grassroots players.
  • How digital media is changing the landscape of sports entertainment.

Mason, TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer and sports marketing research expert Keith Storey led off the Summit with the “State of the Industry.” Among the data they presented was the value of the overall “tennis economy,” which was at 5.73 billion at year-end 2014, up 3 percent from 2013.

 

Mason outlined concerns he has about the industry, including the fact that 1.5 million fewer entry-level tennis racquets were purchased from 2008 to 2014. Another concern is the age of the average tennis player is getting older. “We need to make sure we’re doing all we can to attract younger players to our sport,” he said, adding that it also extends to needing to bring younger people into the business of tennis, too.

 

One key to helping boost participation, Mason said, is the industry-wide initiative “Try Tennis Free,” which runs throughout the month of May and is designed to give new and returning players an opportunity to get into tennis for free at local facilities and with local pros. “The Try Tennis Free campaign can bring in large numbers of players, of all ages, looking to benefit from all that tennis has to offer,” he said. Mason urged all tennis providers to register their free program offers at PlayTennis.com.

 

Following Mason and the TIA, Tom Cove, the CEO of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, identified and defined key trends that will impact the tennis and sports industries, among them that health and wellness will be the “No. 1 driver” of sports participation in 2015 and that “parents want a good experience for the whole family” when it comes to sports and recreation.

 

Cove also discussed the “inactivity pandemic” in the U.S., including how 80 million Americans on a recent survey reported they do no sports or activity at all. “Inactivity has increased 28 percent over the past seven years,” Cove said. “We need to build a culture of activity based on fun sports activities.”

 

Katrina Adams, the new president, chairman and CEO of the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), talked about her priorities for her two-year term, which includes targeting the Hispanic community as a way to give tennis participation a boost in the U.S. Her goals also include finding more and better ways to reach out to recreational high school players, which she called a “huge opportunity” for the industry, and also emphasizing the importance of sportsmanship in tennis. Adams also plans to continue to increase the USTA’s collaboration and partnerships with other groups and organizations.

 

USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith discussed the ongoing improvements to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, home of the US Open. Plans call for spending more than $500 million over the next four years, including construction of a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium. “It’s important to be the leader, especially in the sports and entertainment capital of the world,” he said.

 

Smith also discussed the major, 102-court facility the USTA will build at Lake Nona, Fla., which will break ground on April 18 and has been dubbed the “new home of American tennis.” The site will serve as a training ground for players and coaches, and will be the home to the USTA Player Development and Community Tennis departments.

 

The professional game was on display with updates from WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster and ATP Tour Vice President of Marketing George Ciz, who both discussed plans for growth of the women’s and men’s tours, respectively. Allaster then joined a panel with David Egdes of Tennis Channel, Ilana Kloss of Mylan World TeamTennis and J. Wayne Richmond of the Emirates Airline US Open Series for a discussion on how the pro tours and their players connect to the grassroots.

 

World-renowned sports and performance psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Jim Loehr wrapped up the Summit’s first day with insights into how the tennis and sports industry can remain relevant to today’s athletes and culture.

 

“There is a lot of competition for kids’ participation in sports and activities,” Loehr said. “Tennis must do a better job of addressing parents to let them know how tennis is different than any other sport. How do we accelerate tennis learning? How do we make tennis friendlier? How do we make learning tennis more fun? How do we awaken the world to the value of tennis in life?”

 

Loehr added that the industry needs to do a better job selling tennis to parents, noting several points that work in tennis’s favor, including how the sport provides a full-body workout, exercises the brain, can be played for a lifetime, and helps to make a better, more fully functioning person.

 

The second day opened with Emmy Award-winning TV sportscaster Ted Robinson, who offered his take on the importance of tennis in today’s society and on what tennis can learn from other sports. “Tennis is unique in that some of the greatest players still talk about tennis and are great ambassadors for the sport,” he said.

 

To bring more spectators and participants into the sport, Robinson said technology was vital, especially for embracing millennials through digital content. “Be proud of tennis,” he said. “It’s a phenomenal activity.”

 

Life Time Fitness founder and CEO Bahram Akradi, named Tennis Industry magazine’s “Person of the Year” for his company’s commitment to tennis, explained why tennis has been a wise investment for his business and how he is looking to help the sport grow through his facilities. Life Time Fitness is the largest operator of indoor courts in the U.S. At Life Time facilities, “Tennis courts change the space from a fitness club to a country club,” Akradi said. “If there’s any chance to put in tennis courts, we will. Tennis is here to stay, and we plan to grow it at every opportunity.”

 

The USTA’s chief executive of Community Tennis, Kurt Kamperman, led a panel discussion and Open Forum on the challenges and opportunities of growing tennis at the recreational level. Panelist included the heads of the two main teaching professional organizations: Dan Santorum of the PTR and John Embree of the USPTA.

 

“Millennial parents want more local sports, shorter play formats, and non-elimination formats,” Kamperman said. “We’ve got senior players covered, but we still have work to do with youth players and getting them into the game.”

 

Peter Burwash, a former pro tour player and founder of a major tennis management company, and frequent speaker for Fortune 500 companies, discussed lessons he learned in his personal and professional life in tennis and how they can apply to growing this sport. He gave his list of the characteristics of a good leader: enthusiasm, great creativity, expanding your horizons, empathy and appreciation. “The strongest leaders are lifetime learners,” he added.

 

Immediately following the Tennis Summit, on March 18-19, top tennis facility managers and consultants shared their knowledge and experience at the third annual Tennis Owners & Managers (T.O.M.) Conference, also presented by the TIA.

Coaching legend Nick Bollettieri, who received the highest honor in tennis last July when he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, spoke at a lunch kicking off the T.O.M. Conference, praising tennis and asking what other sport you can play well into your 90s. “Keep your mission top of mind at all times,” he told the crowd, “and don’t be afraid to fail-it’s critical to success.”

 

“As a follow-up to both the Tennis Summit and the T.O.M. Conference, we’re meeting to outline a plan that we hope will go a long way to achieving transformational change within this industry,” said de Boer of the TIA. “These conferences examined the industry and our sport, and where it’s headed, and helped to define ways to ensure growth. We want to make sure we’re on the right path for the long-term.”

 

The TIA plans to present its annual Tennis Forum on Aug. 31 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, as the US Open begins. Details for 2016 tennis industry events will be announced in the near future. Visit TennisIndustry.org for more information.

 

TIA Board of Directors

adidas: David Malinowski
America Sports Builders Assoc.: Fred Stringfellow
ATP World Tour: Linda Clark
Babolat: Eric Babolat
Dunlop Sports Group: Kai Nitsche
ESPN: Jason Bernstein
HEAD Penn Racquet Sports: Greg Mason (TIA President)
IHRSA: Meredith Poppler
International Management Group: Kevin Callanan
International Tennis Federation: Dave Miley
International Tennis Hall of Fame: Todd Martin
Mylan World TeamTennis: Ilana Kloss
Prince Sports: Mike Ballardie
Professional Tennis Registry: Dan Santorum
Sports & Fitness Industry Association: Tom Cove
Tennis Channel: David Egdes
Tennis Magazine: Jeff Williams
U.S. Professional Tennis Association: John Embree
U.S. Racquet Stringers Association: David Bone
U.S. Tennis Association: Kurt Kamperman
Wilson Sporting Goods: Cory Springer
WTA Tennis: Stacey Allaster
TIA Retail Representative: Jim Fromuth

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