To help grow the game of tennis and compete in a fitness market saturated with other contemporary fitness activities like spinning and kickboxing, the Tennis Industry Association (TIA) teamed up with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to develop Cardio Tennis, a group activity featuring drills to give players of all abilities a workout.
Cardio Tennis debuted at the 2005 US Open and in 500 US tennis facilities.
The TIA and USTA worked with The Sherry Group to develop an ongoing, multi-city grassroots strategy. "Our objective was to make Cardio Tennis mainstream, attract the more than 56 million people who participate in regular physical activity in and out of the tennis community, and help create an additional revenue stream for local tennis pros," says Jim Baugh, TIA president and Cardio Tennis founder.
The team first pursued top-tier media for broad-based national exposure. Then, it began targeting local markets where the program was gaining traction. And as the effort evolved, other programs were developed to strengthen the core strategy and generate consumer interest. For example, Cardio Tennis partnered with the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports for its "Get America Moving" campaign and tied it to a promotion in which 500 facilities offered free classes in June. Former tennis pro Tracy Austin also hosted events in key markets.
"Clubs around the country have seen their Cardio Tennis programs grow dramatically as a direct result of our local, grassroots PR campaign," Baugh says. Cardio Tennis is now available in more than 1,300 facilities nationwide. Media coverage included The New York Times, LA Times, Time, Shape, and Health.
Cardio Tennis and The Sherry Group have a strategic plan in place for 2007.
PR team: Tennis Industry Association (Hilton Head Island, SC), United States Tennis Association (White Plains, NY) and The Sherry Group (Morristown, NJ)
Campaign: Cardio Tennis: Bridging the Gap Between Traditional Sports
Duration: August 2006-ongoing
Budget: Less than $100,000