MONTREAL, November 30, 2018 (Press Release)
Tennis Canada unveiled on Wednesday the results of a nationwide study on the health of the sport. The results of the independent study demonstrate that over the past 12 months, nearly 6.6 million Canadians have played tennis at least once, which represents 18% of the population. In addition, 4.5 million Canadians played the sport at least four times throughout the course of the year. This represents an increase of 15% compared to when the research was last conducted in 2016. The popularity of the sport is also on the rise. In fact, nearly 60% of Canadians say that they are interested in tennis, placing tennis in fifth position among the 14 sports tested. This is one spot higher than in 2016. Quebec leads the country, with tennis having the second-best fan following, behind hockey.
“While it is gratifying to see participation in our sport, inspired by the global success of our Canadians currently playing on the ATP and WTA tours, continue to grow, particularly among more frequent players in the summer, we know that we need to help facilitate recreational players’ ability to play tennis year-round,” stated Michael Downey, President and CEO of Tennis Canada. “Canada has a dire shortage of accessible covered courts, especially when compared to other leading tennis nations. There are only 750 accessible covered courts in all of Canada, which represents around 1 for every 50,000 Canadians. European nations, on the other hand, count 1 for every 15,000 or less. Therefore, in 2019, we will launch a new municipal partnership framework in which we hope to successfully advocate for municipalities across Canada to invest in the health and well-being of their communities by partnering in affordable and accessible ‘bubbled’ tennis courts in parks. An affordable six-court bubble can accommodate up to 1,000 children and adults, allowing them to play tennis throughout the year”.
Of the 6.6 million participants, 2.9 million play the sport regularly, meaning that they play at least once a week during the summer tennis season and are thus considered frequent players. This represents a significant 37% increase compared to the 2016 research.
Participation among young people and their interest towards the sport have also seen a strong rise. Over 510,000 kids between the ages of 6 and 11 played tennis in the past year. More than 70% of these kids played at least four times over the course of the last 12 months, which is an increase of more than 8% for this age group. The study also demonstrates that the majority of new fans are coming from a younger audience.
While Serena Williams (26%) and Roger Federer (25%) continue to be the most followed players, Canadians are following the success of our local players with great interest. In fact, Eugenie Bouchard (21%) ranks just behind Williams and Federer, while Milos Raonic is ranked fifth (20%) and Denis Shapovalov is eighth (17%). Furthermore, 49% of the population recognize that there is a strong next generation of talent in Canada.
This study was conducted by Charlton Strategic Research Inc.