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Tennis Participation Grows by more than One Million Players to Reach Highest Participation Level in 13 Years

December 5, 2005 10:28 AM

Nearly 25 Million Americans Play The Sport

Tennis is Attracting and Retaining More Players According to Largest Annual Survey in Sports; Frequent Players Playing More Often

Other Indicators Point to Growth of Sport Including Racquet and Ball Sales, Attendance and TV Ratings

The USTA and the Tennis Industry Association (TIA) recently announced that according to the findings of its annual participation research study 24.7 million Americans are playing tennis, the most since 1992 and a significant increase over last year.  The study, conducted by independent research firms, The Taylor Research & Consulting Group and Sports Marketing Surveys, is the largest participation survey in sports.

More than 25,500 American households were contacted for the annual study which is designed to accurately quantify tennis participation throughout the U.S. and to identify opportunities to increase participation in the sport.

Key top line findings for 2005 include:

  • 24.7 million Americans are playing tennis, the most since 1992. Participation grew by 1.1 million players, up 4.1% vs. 2004.
  • 5.8 million new players began playing the game in 2005.
  • Frequent players (those playing more than 21 times per year) topped 5 million players, up 8.8% vs. 2004.
  • Total play occasions are up 14% in 2005 and up 23% in the past two years, driven by increase frequency of play especially by the most avid players.
  • Player retention has improved over the past two years, with 80% of players continuing with the sport in 2005 (vs. 74% in 2004).

The USTA has invested significant resources in new initiatives to grow the game, including Tennis in the Parks, the US Open Series, Tennis Welcome Centers, major advertising campaigns for recreational and professional tennis, increased diversity and multicultural programs and a greater push in schools and college campuses.  These participation increases coincide with a number of other indicators of the sport’s growth, including increases in racquet sales and tennis ball sales.  In addition, television ratings and attendance at pro tournaments in the U.S. were up significantly, led by the all-time attendance record of 659,538 at the 2005 US Open.

“The USTA has dedicated itself to energizing the sport of tennis on every level and has initiated a number of successful programs that are making a difference,” said Franklin Johnson, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “It’s rewarding to see our decision to make a significant increase in spending to grow the game have such an immediate impact.”

“The collaborative efforts across the entire industry are growing the game and positioning tennis for further growth and we would like to thank the USTA sections and all of our industry partners for their efforts,” said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. “By developing and promoting key programs like Leagues and Team Tennis, we’re keeping more players in the game and spurring them to play more frequently.”

“We are seeing healthy indicators across the board in the sport as more people play tennis, more racquets are purchased and more interest develops in the game,” said Jim Baugh, President of the Tennis Industry Association.  “With all of the tennis constituents, including manufacturers, retailers, teaching professionals, the TIA and the USTA, focused on a single goal, the sport is growing.”

The USTA is currently developing strategic plans to further connect with new and lapsed players through increased promotion and positioning of the sport as fun, social, healthy, inclusive, accessible and affordable.

 

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