Tennis on the Rise Across Canada at the Grassroots Level
March 30, 2011 · Print This Article
Growth in participation and equipment sales recorded in 2010
Toronto, March 30, 2011– Tennis Canada and the Canadian Tennis Industry Association (CTIA) announced Wednesday that results from a 2010 research study and industry sales reports indicate that tennis is experiencing significant growth across the country with a six percent increase in participation and substantial gains in some equipment sales.
“We are thrilled to report that for the third straight year, the results of this study have come back showing increased participation and tremendous interest in tennis across the country,” said Michael S. Downey, president and chief executive officer, Tennis Canada. “We firmly believe that success breeds success, and with the recent impact Canadian tennis players like Milos Raonic and Rebecca Marino have made on the international stage, we can only assume that these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. As Canadian athletes make the headlines and more pro tennis is available on the airwaves, the interest and excitement surrounding tennis in Canada will reach new heights, leading more people to hit the courts.”
The total number of Canadians who played tennis last year was 4.8 million, up from 4.5 million in 2009. Of these participants, nearly one million identified themselves as frequent players. This makes tennis the fourth-highest ranked traditional participation sport in the country with 14 percent of Canadians aged 12 and up claiming to play frequently or occasionally. Tennis ranks sixth as a traditional sport for fan interest with 25 percent of the population claiming to be very or somewhat interested in tennis in Canada. Leading the country was Metro Vancouver, where tennis is the second most popular fan-based sport behind hockey.
The CTIA also released its annual industry report which shows that wholesale racquet sales increased by eight percent from 2009 while, after consecutive years of growth, wholesale ball sales declined five percent. However, the sales of progressive tennis balls for children aged 10 and under climbed nearly 50 percent. The spike in equipment sales illustrates an obvious correlation with the rise in participation and general interest for the sport of tennis across the country, particularly among youth.
“What is most impressive is that these results truly exemplify how tennis is a sport for life,” said Hatem McDadi, vice-president, tennis development, Tennis Canada. “We have a remarkably balanced sport with participation well-represented across both genders and all age groups. This sets the stage for further growth especially when coupled with success on the pro circuit internationally.”
The study also reflects the growing diversity of the Canadian population with 38 percent of players coming from various ethnic backgrounds, most notably citizens of Eastern European and Asian descent. This overdevelopment lends itself well to further participation growth consistent with long range population trends.
Identified as the number one barrier to increased participation, the lack of access to indoor tennis facilities prevents participants from being able to play the game year-round. According to the survey, 29 percent of players would play more often if more facilities were available. Currently, Canada has only 120 indoor facilities. This supports Tennis Canada’s mandate to increase the number of indoor facilities by assisting in the planning and funding of such projects. Tennis Canada will provide seed money and limited capital investment to new indoor facilities that are publicly owned. Tennis Canada is currently consulting on 15 projects across the country.
This study will continue to be conducted annually to assess tennis participation and fan interest in Canada.