By Barry Janoff
June 27, 2013: Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal may not be happy with their early round departures in the Wimbledon Grand Slam tennis tournament, but the groups that oversee the sport are certainly pleased with the way tennis is growing.
Tennis is a $5.57 billion business, which represents a 3% increase over this time last year, according to new figures from the Tennis Industry Assn., a not-for-profit trade association that promotes the growth of tennis and the economic vitality of the industry.
This follows on the heels of a report from sponsorship, marketing and research firm IEG, Chicago, that marketing, sponsorship and media spend at the professional and amateur level this year is predicted to top $700 million for the first time. The projected $708 million spend is up more than $40 million from last year and up more than $125 million from 2009, according to IEG.
"The tennis industry moved in a positive direction in 2012," TIA President Greg Mason said in a statement. "Like many other industries, we still have challenges, but the TIA, together with our industry partners and the U.S. Tennis Association, is focused on strengthening this industry and tennis overall.”
According to the TIA's 2013 “State of the Industry” report on tennis, which covers all segments of the sport (including instruction, court usage, equipment sales and the pro game), there was a 10% growth in the number of "frequent" tennis players, defined as those who play at least 21 times a year, to 5.31 million. Frequent players account for more than 70% of all expenditures in tennis, such as buying equipment, paying for lessons and court time, playing league tennis and more.
There also was a 4% increase in overall tennis participation, to 28 million players, the highest participation level since 2009.
Among other key growth factors, there was a 13% increase in total hours of tennis TV coverage and a 14% growth in unique TV viewers of tennis in 2012, driven by viewership of the 2012 London Olympics.
According to IEG, companies that put the most into tennis deals are led by Corona Extra, which has a role in 29% of all tennis properties; Emirates Air (21%), including the six-week Emirates Air Tennis Series that leads into the U.S. Tennis Grand Slam; Rolex (21%), Wilson (18%), FedEx (17%), Evian (16%), Ricoh (16%), Sony Xperiea (15%), Coke and PepsiCo's Gatorade (13% each), BNP Paribas (12%) and Mercedes-Benz (12%).
Six pro tennis players made the 2013 Forbe’s 100 list of highest paid athletes in the world. Federer led all tennis players (and was No. 2 overall behind Tiger Woods), earning $71.5 million in 2012, including $65 million off the court in endorsements and exhibitions. Woods totaled $78.1 million.
The top woman on the list — and also the top female tennis player — is Maria Sharapova, at No. 22, who earned $29 million ($23 million in endorsements). Other tennis players making the Forbe’s 100 are: No. 28 Novak Djokovic ($26.9 million total, with $14 million in endorsements); No. 30 Rafael Nadal ($26.4 million with $21 million in endorsements); No 68 Serena Williams ($20.5 million; $12 million in endorsements) and No. 85 Li Na ($18.2 million total, $15 million in endorsements).
Pro tennis is currently in one of its busiest times of the year. Wimbledon is in progress, the Emirates U.S. Open Series begins in July and the U.S. Open starts in late August.
The WTA this month unveiled a year-long campaign, 40 Love, which celebrates four decades of growth and achievement. The campaign is anchored by two TV spots "Give" and "Time Flies."
On June 30, there will be a gathering of 20 women who have held the distinction of being ranked No.1 since computer rankings were introduced in 1975. Among those scheduled to attend at the All-England Club in London, site of Wimbledon, are WTA founder Billie Jean King, Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams and Serena Williams.
Tennis Sponsorship, Marketing, Media To Top $700M In 2013
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