National Tennis Month: A rallying point for the sport
This is a unique time in our sport. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us in ways that we could never have imagined. Our industry, though, has been fighting back—encouraged by gains in participation across the board, gains in equipment sales, support for tennis providers and facilities from USTA national and the sections, and rallying together to support tennis and all the great things tennis can bring to people of all ages.
And now, a key rallying point for this sport will once again be the annual “National Tennis Month,” in May.
You may remember that for many years, May was celebrated as National Tennis Month. The USTA, this industry, and importantly, the grass roots of this sport are now reviving the NTM concept for May—a time to get out on the court and experience the fun, competition and lifelong health benefits of this sport.
What’s important and exciting here is that the idea of regenerating NTM is bubbling up from the grass roots, not being directed from the top-down. The USTA’s volunteer National Advocacy Committee (of which I’m a member) was discussing ideas on how best to get the word out about the excellent Community Advocacy Handbook and the idea of National Tennis Month came up in our discussion as a perfect and natural platform to advocate for and grow tennis.
All of this happened quickly—in the last four weeks, in fact. The idea moved swiftly up the USTA volunteer chain. Normally, there’s a large lead time for a promotion like this—but we as volunteers felt this had to happen now, for this year, to capitalize on the momentum this industry has gained from the unprecedented participation growth tennis has experience during the pandemic. And we’re excited that USTA volunteer leadership and staff have shared our enthusiasm.
The NTM idea is to help retain the 4 million new players and promote the great benefits of tennis by encouraging providers, partners and community tennis organizations to help spread the good word about our sport throughout their local communities and to incorporate the hashtag #NationalTennisMonth in all their local programming and promotions throughout May. Providers and facilities don’t need to create new programming, just label what you’re doing in May as part of NTM, talk up National Tennis Month on social media and in your community, and share and repost the hashtag.
The USTA marketing team is even providing coaches, facilities, CTAs and NJTLs with professionally-designed marketing templates to promote National Tennis Month, as well as offering local marketing ideas and sharing social media best practices for providers to share within their networks.
There are plenty of other “months” out there that promote specific sports, and tennis deserves to get its month back. National Tennis Month will be a platform for everyone involved in this sport to help grow and advocate for tennis and an annual a celebration of the lifetime sport of TENNIS.
Peter Francesconi is the editor of Racquet Sports Industry magazine (www.tennisindustrymag.com)
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