More than 50 companies showcased the latest equipment and services to the US tennis industry on the eve of the US Open on 24 August 2014
The US Tennis Show, which was staged by the US Tennis Industry Association at the Grand Hyatt in New York, was a vibrant showcase of products and services. Staged between 6pm and 10pm, it was a trade-only show, staged under the strapline “Celebrating the business of tennis”.
Exhibitors included the main manufactures, from adidas to Volkl, as well as smaller companies promoting innovative products like “Hop-a-Razzi”, which is billed as “the only tennis ball basket with built-in wheels, adjustable height handles and available in two vibrant colours”. The “Hop-a-Razzi” certainly reflected the atmosphere created by the pumping music and the large numbers who passed through the show in those four hours. The Tennis Teachers Conference that was staged in tandem with the show ensured there was a keen interest in new coaching aids.
One of the new products on display was “Eye Coach”. The brainchild of inventor Lenny Schloss, the device (pictured right) aims to train the eye to watch the ball. A static ball is mounted on a portable device, which enables a player to strike the ball, which, one hit, returns to its original position, ready to be struck again. The device aims to strengthen the eye, help with shot-making and improve balance. There are two models, the Eye Coach Professional and the Eye Coach Junior.
The product is endorsed by Billie Jean King. Quoted by Schloss, she said: “The Eye Coach is the most exciting idea in tennis coaching I have ever seen. In just 10 minutes a day for five weeks you’ll change your game for ever.”
Companies at the show offered visitors more then $20,000 worth of prizes in the form of merchandise and services. Visitors also received a “Virtual event tennis bag” which enabled them to go online and view, save and redeem offers from exhibitors and companies that were unable to exhibit at the show.
Peter Francesconi who is in charge of communications for the US TIA, estimated that more than 1,000 people attended the show this year. He said that the feedback from exhibitors had been very good.
Glenn Arrington, USTA National Manager of High School Tennis, Tennis on Campus & Tennis Service Representatives, said: “The [US] TIA hosted a great show. All the exhibitors I spoke with commented it was the best ever by a long shot. We had plenty of action in our booth and the space provided for good energy and lots of interaction.”
Kai Nitsche, Vice President and General Manager of Dunlop Sports Group Americas, said: “I thought The Tennis Show was fantastic. We have three brands we represented at the show and felt it was very successful for all our brands. We definitely would love to see this continue.”
Francesconi added: “The last time a show like this was held in the US was two years ago, in a different space in a different time with fewer exhibitors, so it’s difficult to compare this year with previous shows. However, that show two years ago was very well attended.”