WHITE PLAINS, December 3, 2020 (USTA Press Release)
The USTA today announced that recent data and information surrounding racquet sales and participation have shown that the tennis industry has shown strength amid the pandemic.
According to the Tennis Industry Association (TIA) Quarterly USA Wholesale Equipment Census, racquet sales in the entry-level category have seen significant growth in Q3 ’20 v Q3 ’19. This coincides with the timing that much of the country began to open for business following the initial wave of COVID-19. The increase is seen in both the youth and adult demographics, with shipments for youth racquets having seen an increase of 40.9% and shipments of adult racquets under $50 (entry-level) seeing an increase of 43.3%. For all price points, racquet shipments are up 37.7% in that same time period.
In addition, the Physical Activity Council has reported that participation has increased to 10.08% of the U.S. population playing tennis in Q3 ’20 v 6.75% in Q3 ’19, an increase of 49.33%. This number falls in line with the increases in racquet unit shipments.
“At the start of the pandemic, the USTA, along with its industry partners, took significant steps to ensure the viability of the tennis industry, making impactful financial commitments and providing resources to those being hit incredibly hard by this crisis,” said Mike Dowse, USTA Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director. “We are now seeing the outcome of putting those measures into place, with tennis surging. The numbers show that people are turning to tennis at this time, both newcomers and those returning to the game they love, as it is the ideal social distancing sport and gives them the opportunity to stay healthy and active in a safe manner. There is no question that many of the facilities and providers across the country went through difficult times during this pandemic, but we believe that these trends will help to bring players out to their courts, as more people are coming into the game.”
In March, the USTA announced the creation of Tennis Industry United, a collaboration of the USTA, TIA, USPTA, PTR, ITA, ATA, major endemic media partners and others, which was charged with assessing overall industry needs and making recommendations for how to best assist industry sectors in need of help, in the face of COVID-19. The following month, in April, after the first phase was completed and information had been collected and analyzed, the USTA committed to $50 million in spending to provide relief for those areas most greatly affected. This included $35 million committed to community tennis programming, $5 million in facility grants, $5 million in NJTL chapter support through the USTA Foundation, $2.5 million in Certified tennis Teaching Professional Grants, and a variety of other services and resources to help local tennis programs, facilities, and workers continue to remain viable throughout, and following, this pandemic. These efforts have continued, with a focus on providing resources, information and assistance for its constituents.