Tuesday
May192015

'Try Tennis Free' Nationwide Campaign

This news release was provided to IHRSA by the Tennis Industry Association

Nearly 2,000 Tennis Facilities Offer 'Try Tennis Free' in Nationwide Campaign

Facilities and teaching pros across the U.S. are offering free introductory tennis sessions in the month of May as the tennis industry rallies around a key campaign to get more people on the courts and enjoying the sport's many benefits.

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C., May 19, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As the tennis-industry-wide "Try Tennis Free" national campaign passes the midpoint in the month of May, nearly 2,000 facilities across the country have signed on to offer free tennis sessions designed to bring non-players and former players into the sport.

Consumers, particularly new or returning players, can visit PlayTennis.com or TryTennisFree.com to find local facilities and tennis teaching professionals offering a free introductory session, lesson, clinic or other event.

"By participating in Try Tennis Free, Americans of all ages and ability levels will find that tennis is a fun, easy, affordable way to get active or stay in shape," says Greg Mason, the president of the Tennis Industry Association (TIA), which is managing the nationwide campaign. "We're receiving a tremendous response to Try Tennis Free. Our partners in this industry have been pushing out the message that tennis is for everyone and all types of players can easily get into the game and enjoy all the health and fitness benefits tennis has to offer."

Industry partners promoting Try Tennis Free include the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), Professional Tennis Registry (PTR), U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), USTA Sections, the WTA and ATP pro tours, World TeamTennis, equipment manufacturers, Cliff Drysdale Tennis, Community Tennis Associations, tennis media, and more.

"Even midway through the month of May, the number of facilities offering free introductory tennis sessions continues to grow," notes TIA Executive Director and COO Jolyn de Boer. "We'd like to see every tennis facility, teaching pro, park and rec department, and Community Tennis Association offer a free session to help bring new and returning players into the sport."

The number of facilities offering a free session has increased 300% from last May, de Boer adds. So far, the campaign has seen at least a ten-fold increase in social media traffic in May compared to previous months, including increased social media engagement from the tennis industry. Also, traffic on the key PlayTennis.com and TryTennisFree.com websites in May has tripled.

The Try Tennis Free campaign is designed to help people quickly and easily find a program that is right for them, helping to fight America's "inactivity pandemic." The latest research by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) shows that 80 million Americans, including 20 percent of this country's youngsters, are completely inactive.

"We need more unified campaigns like Try Tennis Free to help get America healthy again," says Tom Cove, the president and CEO of the SFIA. "Tennis is a terrific sport, loaded with physical, mental and social benefits for players of all ages."

While the broad-based Try Tennis Free campaign runs throughout the month of May, facilities are also encouraged to continue to offer a free introductory tennis session year-round. "TIA research consistently shows that 65 percent of people who begin tennis in introductory programming will continue playing the sport," de Boer says.

Tennis facilities and teaching professionals can offer whatever type of free session they think will best encourage new and returning players to step onto the court, de Boer notes. Free offers can include introductory lessons, clinics, Cardio Tennis, Play Days, and more.

Additionally, there have been modifications to tennis equipment, courts and play formats to make it easier for new players of all ages and abilities to learn the game, including new tennis balls (red, orange, and green dot balls), shorter courts and racquets, and formats that will have people playing tennis within the first session.

Tennis providers such as facilities and teaching professionals can join the Try Tennis Free campaign by easily signing up at PlayTennis.com. For consumers and new and returning tennis players, visiting PlayTennis.com or TryTennisFree.com will allow them to perform a simple search to find facilities and free introductory tennis sessions and events in their area.

About the TIA

The Tennis Industry Association, the not-for-profit trade association for tennis, is THE unifying force in the tennis industry whose mission is to promote the growth and economic vitality of tennis by working closely with the U.S. Tennis Association and industry partners to develop and implement initiatives to increase tennis participation and improve the health of industry businesses. Core TIA activities include producing more than 70 research reports annually on participation and consumer/trade research, in addition to Grow the Game Initiatives such as PlayTennis.com, Try Tennis Free, Youth Tennis, the GrowingTennis System™, Tennis Welcome Centers, Cardio Tennis, Careers in Tennis and Tennis Tune-Up Campaign. Visit TennisIndustry.org or call 866-686-3036.