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TGAs offer opportunities to grow the game ... and your business

October 18, 2013 11:47 AM
TGA began a youth tennis component in 2011, partnering with the USTA to expand tennis opportunities in schools and beyond.
TGA caters to all levels of tennis players, incorporating drills, games, fitness and competitive matches as well as lessons about rules, etiquette and the history of the game.

By Erin Bruehl, USTA.com

For Mark Thornewell, it was a no-brainer to add tennis to his already successful TGA Premier Golf franchises.  

The territory director for TGA Premier Golf and Tennis in Rockland and Westchester Counties in New York, Thornewell had already established great relationships with elementary and middle schools in the area. So when the USTA partnered with TGA two years ago, he jumped at the opportunity, and he hasn’t looked back since.

Nearly every school Thornewell was affiliated with added a tennis program, and he and business partner Kevin Rooney have seen the results and their revenue only go up from there.

“For anyone who is passionate about youth sports and has always dreamt of running their own business, TGA really is the perfect match,” Thornewell said. “I am able to have a flexible schedule and spend time with my children as well as building a successful career for myself in something I enjoy immensely.”

TGA Premier Youth Tennis (TGA), is an innovative, youth sports franchise firm that brings tennis to elementary and middle school students across the U.S. In the program, children learn and fine-tune their tennis games while also gaining valuable life skills through enrichment programs that incorporate physical activity, character development and academic-based lessons.

TGA started as a series of golf enrichment after-school programs in 2003 and expanded to include tennis programs in 2011, partnering with the USTA to help grow the game among youth from pre-Kindergarten to eighth graders.

TGA caters to all levels of tennis players with a five-level program, incorporating drills, games, fitness and competitive matches as well as lessons about rules, etiquette and the history of the game. Moreover, children who participate in TGA programs can transition to junior camps, clinics and USTA programs at facilities across the country.

Also, under this program, which features a structured model and curriculum, tennis providers like Thornewell and Rooney have the opportunity to own and operate their own franchises – running a profitable business while also growing the game in their own communities.

“As far as I’m aware, TGA is one of the cheapest franchises to buy into and the initial costs are not too high,” Thornewell said. “In my opinion it is a great investment as long as you are in a county with good school districts and you commit full-time to TGA.”

For Thornewell, the proof is in the product. In just 18 months, the number of schools he works with in Rockland County has doubled to reach 20 and the number of participating students in Westchester County has increased from 100 per quarter to 150 per quarter. As a result, revenue has risen every quarter, with TGA of Rockland grossing $36,000 for just the first two quarters of 2013 and revenue in Westchester increasing from $10,000 to $15,000 per quarter since the programs began.

Behind that growth, within six months of buying into the tennis franchises, Thornewell made back all the money from his initial investment. He said he found the support from TGA headquarters to be extremely helpful, including a three-day training session after becoming a franchisee.

And he is not alone. Happy franchise owners dot the country and they include such bold-faced names as tennis legend Todd Martin, the former No. 4 player in the world and a two-time Grand Slam finalist.

“The character elements are what differentiate it,” Martin said of the TGA programming. “It is a source of pride for me, knowing my business is providing the program, the kids are going home and there’s something that they learned in ‘tennis class’ that they can talk to their parents about.”

Proof of Martin’s happiness with the program comes in the form of his 5-year-old daughter, who attends the after-school tennis program at his franchise, TGA of the First Coast, in Jacksonville, Fla., which he started earlier this year.

“There is no better way to grow the base of tennis, at the grass-roots level, than to get into the schools of our communities and introduce the sport to the kids there,” Martin added. “The principals all love the curriculum, with its educational and academic-character attributes, and that’s a great indicator of what the product can be. Then beyond that, the business side is laid out very well by TGA. The greatest asset I believe is the curriculum that is provided to the franchisee.”


For more on how to get your child started in tennis, and to find the right equipment and a program and facility near you, visit YouthTennis.com.

And please visit the TGA Premier Youth Tennis website for more on the TGA program.



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