USTA fulfills more than $10 million in funding commitments to ensure the viability of tennis amid COVID-19
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the USTA announced a series of financial and service-based commitments to bolster and support the tennis ecosystem in the United States. Through the leadership of Michael Dowse, USTA CEO and Executive Director, more than $10 million in funding commitments has been fulfilled in 2020.
For his efforts in bringing the tennis industry together in fighting the pandemic, Dowse (pictured below) was named “Person of the Year” for 2020 by Racquet Sports Industry Magazine for his dedication to improving the sport and business of tennis. Also as part of the magazine’s “Champion of Tennis Awards,” the 2020 US Open was named “Innovative Tennis Event of the Year” for showing on the world’s stage that a major tennis event could be hosted safely.
Between the USTA’s financial support and the US Open’s role in showcasing tennis as the prefect social-distancing sport, tennis participation has skyrocketed in the U.S., with recent data and information surrounding racquet sales and participation demonstrating that the tennis industry has shown strength amid the pandemic.
“The tennis industry, like most industries and areas in this country, was hit incredibly hard by the fallout of COVID-19. The USTA recognized that keeping the tennis ecosystem alive, and putting it in a place to come out of the pandemic in a strong position, was the most important and pressing concern for the association,” said Dowse. “Although many in the tennis community did face hardships, by properly and strategically providing financial and technical aid to our key constituents, we were able to effectively help providers, facilities and programs navigate these difficult times and continue to operate and deliver tennis at the local level. Tennis is the ideal social distancing sport, and we are seeing positive trends in the industry that show many individuals are turning to tennis at this time to stay active and healthy.”
A breakdown of the USTA’s over $10 million in 2020 financial aid is below:
Facility Recovery Grants
Targeting tennis facilities in need of assistance in reopening following the various periods of shutdown or closing, a total of $4.5 million was awarded to more than 1,450 facilities across the country. These grants impacted close to 11,000 teaching pros who manage more than 17,500 courts. In addition to the grants, the USTA created recommendations and guidelines for facilities to best ensure tennis was offered in a way that most effectively mitigated risk.
Certified Tennis Professional Membership Grants
These grants were awarded to ensure that certified tennis professionals will be able to renew their membership fees in 2021, allowing these individuals to maintain liability insurance, remain Safe Play compliant and continue to have access to educational opportunities. In total, more than 9,500 coaches have been awarded this grant, with $2 million going directly to the USPTA and PTR to cover the dues fees for these professionals.
The USTA Foundation provided a series of grant, scholarship and aid packages to NJTL chapters across the country. More than 110 chapters received $3.8 million in direct funding or services, while more than $1 million in clothing and equipment was provided to these organizations. Scholarships for players and college-bound student athletes were given to 100 individuals, totaling $500,000. Technical assistance and direct training was provided by the USTA Foundation, as well, helping chapters to navigate the process of applying for Paycheck Protection Program loans, resulting in more than 65 chapters being awarded nearly $10 million in government support.
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