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Industry News – October 2023

Hello to Clubmatch

Clubmatch is the TIA’s newest member. It is an app for tennis clubs that enhances members experiences at their club, gives club coaches a tool to build a more successful business and delivers management teams and committees detailed data and analytics surrounding club member engagement.

Clubmatch aims to provide solutions to club level tennis that supports engagement, development and the safeguarding of members to increase the enjoyment of the sport at all levels. Created by a successful tennis club chairman and a tennis coach with over 25 years experience, clubmatch provides the digital answer to many issues that members, coaches and committees face.

Members can find others to play with at the same level and at the same time which in turn expands a network of players driving member retention.



Initial approval for Wimbledon’s expansion plans despite public protest

Merton Council have approved Wimbledon’s expansion plans of building an 8,000-seater show court and 38 other grass courts on the former Wimbledon Park Golf Course, despite public protest; A petition organised by ‘Save Wimbledon Park’ has attracted more than 13,000 signatures.

Wimbledon’s ambitious expansion plans – which involve building an 8,000-seater show court and 38 other grass courts – have been approved by Merton Council, who met to greenlight the move on Thursday night despite public disapproval.

When the result for the vote was announced, a spectator in the public gallery shouted that the council chamber had become a ‘climate crime scene’ and was asked to leave. Planning officers did advise that proposals would result in ‘physical harm’ to Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) – but concluded ‘very special circumstances’ meant ‘substantial public benefits would clearly outweigh [the] harm’.

A spokesperson for the London Borough of Merton said: “After considering the officer’s report, relevant submissions, and the relevant planning framework, the independent planning committee, made up of councillors from all parties, voted to approve the application made by the All England Lawn Tennis Ground (AELTG) for expansion of its site at Wimbledon.

The application will also have to be considered by Wandsworth Borough Council as part of the site is within its boundaries. As the site is within MOL, the Mayor of London has also to formally accept or reject the Councils’ decisions.

Courtesy: Skysports.com

Beyond the Baseline

The LTA, has unveiled a digital docuseries taking viewers behind the scenes of professional tennis in Britain. Beyond the Baseline, presented by Lexus,  aims to shine a spotlight on the players rising up the rankings and delve into what it takes to compete at this level of the professional game.

Each 12–15-minute episode tells each player’s personal story with tennis – showcasing the highs and lows of striving for success, the hard work and dedication that goes into training, and on-court action throughout the summer season.

Beyond the Baseline will be available to watch on the LTA’s YouTube channel from 24 October 2023 with one episode being released each week until late November.

Government plans to get extra 3.5m active by 2030

The government has launched a new initiative with the target of getting an additional 3.5 million people physically active by 2030. The new initiative follows a decline in activity rates. Figures from the Sport England Active Lives Survey indicate that 25% of adults are currently deemed to be inactive in England, with over 11 million doing less than 30 minutes of activity in total a week.

And statistics indicate that 53% of children and young people are not meeting the guidance of taking part in at least 60 minutes of activity a day. As well as increasing participation in sport, the strategy aims to:

  • Set the vision for the future of the sector in the country
  • Improve how integrity issues, such as misconduct, doping and corruption are dealt with by sporting bodies
  • Ensure the sector moves towards a more sustainable future, both financially and environmentally
  • Continue to support UK Sport, governing bodies and host cities to bid and successfully host major sporting events

Published in August, central to the strategy will be a focus on ensuring that children establish a lifetime of engagement with sport and physical activity, with the introduction of national targets for participation to help hold government and the sector to account for delivering the change that is needed.

Get Active is a call to arms for organisations across the country who deliver sport and physical activity to go further to ensure they are prepared for both future challenges and opportunities. This strategy updates and builds on Sporting Future, the previous sport strategy which was published in 2015.

Get Active: a strategy for the future of sport and physical activity

More tennis ‘innovation’

As highlighted by Desiree Fields at the TIA UK Spring Forum, tennis is becoming increasingly attuned to the need for new approaches as the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) and Australian Open courtside bar illustrate.

UTS is a new tennis format that seeks to capture the imagination of fans by tweaking with the traditional tennis format, and supercharging it to make for a more exciting, memorable fan experience. It seeks to offer something different to tennis fans who want to know their favourite players on a more intimate level and find and interact with younger fans which may have not discovered the joy of tennis.

Over a five-week period in 2020, the likes of Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini were among the competitors to try out the quick-paced format behind closed doors in France. Eight-minute quarters, player nicknames, in-match interviews, no second serves, relaxed code of conduct, sudden death tiebreaker and bonus cards (being able to hit a winner for three points!) were among the conditions and innovations.

December at the ExCel centre in London, will see UTS set to bring back its fresh take on the sport through a global four-event series.

The AO Courtside Bar, a two-storey structure overlooking Court 6 in Melbourne Park is set to literally raise the bar in the entertainment and lifestyle stakes at the Australian Open in January. It plans to offer more than 400 fans a brand-new experience where they can enjoy food, drinks and a rotating roster of DJ’s with a birds-eye view of all the tennis action below. 

“We expect this will quickly become known as the ‘party court,’” says Craig Tiley, Australian Open tournament director, “and it’s a model we’d like to expand further across the site in the future.”

Tennis Club Business Report 2023

The 2023 Tennis Club Business Report will be published at the end of November. Copies will be sent automatically to TIA UK members and to the clubs that participated in this year’s survey. The report also includes a summary of the presentations from the 2023 Spring Forum and also profiles most of the TIA UK Industry membership.

2024 Spring Forum

The date and content for the second Spring Forum will be announced soon. The event will again be hosted at the offices of Pinsent Masons, TIA UK’s Legal Partner near Liverpool Street, London.