Following the success of a tennis roadshow in 1996, the Sunday
Telegraph has launched a three tier junior tennis initiative in
conjunction with David Lloyd Leisure and BUPA. Tennis ’97 was launched
amid a surge of interest by young people in tennis, sparked by the
international success of British players and aims to harness this
To focus on making tennis accessible to young people at all levels and
to build the game by creating an infrastructure to provide the
foundation to develop future British champions.
API Consulting was chosen for its expertise in major sports initiatives
and was briefed six months prior to launch date. A three-tiered
structure for the initiative was developed to cater for novices,
recreational players and experts comprising: 16 Tennis-for-all Roadshows
at David Lloyd Centres offering an introduction for 8 to 16-year-olds;
prizes and benefits to encourage clubs to stage Junior Club
Championships; and a Grand Prix for the junior tennis elite with top
finishers selected for an October Grand Prix Final at the David Lloyd
Centre in Portugal.
Product sponsors - including racquet brand Wilson, court manufacturer
En-tout-cas, sportswear brand Puma and energy drink Lucozade - were
sourced for marketing support.
Australian tennis player Pat Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion, was
known by David Lloyd Leisure to be keen to get involved at junior level,
and provided his endorsement free-of-charge. Still a competitor, his
personal appearances had to be fitted in around commitments on the
circuit. The Lawn Tennis Association was involved in an advisory
A double-page launch feature in the Sunday Telegraph was planned for 4
May introducing the Roadshows, with follow-up vouchers every Sunday
until mid-October. Local media being targeted in the lead up to each
Junior Club Championship publicity and administration packs were mailed
out to over 2000 LTA affiliated clubs, with a target of 350
registrations by August.
Sixty existing junior tournaments were nominated as qualifiers for the
Junior Grand Prix.
A hotline was set up for enquiries generated by media coverage, with the
launch being tactically timed to maximise pre-Wimbledon tennis
The first two Roadshows, in Chigwell and Bristol, attracted around 250
children to each location. Local TV, radio and press covered the
After two weeks 50 clubs had registered for the Junior Club
Weekly exposure for the initiative in the Sunday Telegraph was
guaranteed from early May to mid-October.
The hotline has dealt with a steady stream of calls, which accelerated
during the build-up to Wimbledon. Feedback from specialist tennis media
has been positive: ’An initiative that seeks to introduce tennis to
young people is to be welcomed,’ says Alastair McIver, editor of Tennis
The crucial combination of cash, facilities, a media platform and timing
made this the perfect joint promotion. The three major players are each
achieving brand strengthening objectives in the community. In targeting
youth they are satisfying long term business goals, while also seen to
be serving a worthwhile aim - getting as many young people involved in
sport as possible. With commitment from all participants to make it an
annual event, ’Tennis ’97 has the muscle to become a major initiative,’
said John Feaver, LTA director of events and tournaments.
Client: The Sunday Telegraph
PR Team: API Consulting
Campaign: Tennis ’97
Timescale: May to October 1997