Promote National Tennis Month for the Month of May!
March 28, 2023
May is National Tennis Month! And while many would argue that every month should be tennis month, for the last few years, NTM in May has been an increasingly active platform to help grow the game.
Each year, NTM has been gaining ground, with more of a reach into the grassroots, providing a natural promotion to help get more people playing the sport for a lifetime. The overall idea is for NTM to give every tennis provider—including teaching pros/coaches, facilities, park & recs, CTAs, NJTLs, retailers and more—an annual platform to bring new players into local programs, inspire lapsed players to re-engage with the sport, and energize existing players to play more and buy more. An important focus is on the “local” aspect of these promotions. Programming and events are left up to whatever local tennis providers decide would be best for their own communities.
“National Tennis Month is a great time to celebrate our sport,” says USTA Chairman of the Board and President Brian Hainline. “We want to continue the remarkable momentum we’ve seen in tennis participation while promoting tennis as the healthiest sport on this planet—a social and fun sport for all ages and at all levels of the game.”
National Tennis Month is not new to this sport or industry; there was an effort a decade ago to help promote the sport by declaring May NTM. For various reasons, that push fell by the wayside.
In recent years, however, the call to use National Tennis Month as a platform to grow the sport came directly from the grassroots itself—key USTA volunteer committees rallied to kick-start this promotional platform so ALL tennis providers can use it to help not only grow tennis, but to grow their businesses, too.
“Three years ago, the USTA’s volunteer Advocacy Committee resurrected National Tennis Month and the entire USTA National Delivery Council (comprised of the Advocacy, Adaptive, CTA and Public Park committees) joined together to spread the enthusiasm,” says industry veteran Greg Lappin, who is the chair of the USTA’s Delivery Council. “Then, USTA staff at the national and section levels mobilized to create many tools, resources and best practices. It’s been an incredible, successful joint effort by volunteers and staff—truly the USTA at its best!”
(For tools and resources you can use to help promote NTM, and tennis in general, visit USTA.com/NTM.)
Section and local staff and volunteers also have been buying into NTM. Many are running events, exhibitions or promotions in May tied directly to NTM. In fact, a number of sections, such as Southern and Texas, offer grants for providers that run programs for NTM during the month of May. In the Midwest, for instance, the section has aligned key programming with NTM, and many sections are putting advertising and marketing dollars toward promoting the game during May.
Providers of all types—public parks, commercial and private facilities and clubs, schools, colleges, CTAs and NJTLs—are tying their regular programs into National Tennis Month, too, benefitting locally from this nationwide promotion.
“I encourage everyone to use the hashtag #NationalTennisMonth in your programming and promotions throughout May, and to make use of the digital National Tennis Month email signature (downloadable on the website) as a way of generating awareness,” says Hainline.
Last year, tennis enthusiasts in more than three dozen states and cities applied for “proclamations” to be issued declaring May as National Tennis Month. That effort is expected to grow this year, as tennis organizations realize the publicity value in a declared “month” for tennis. In some cases, such as in Wyoming last year, the governor hosted an official signing ceremony. Having your state or city issue a National Tennis Month proclamation generally is a fairly quick online application. (There are also easy-to-use proclamation templates and samples at USTA.com/NTM.)
You can also win tickets to the 2023 US Open or a USTA Prize Pack for your National Tennis Month efforts. To win Open tickets, just share an NTM success story; to win a tennis Prize Pack, get your city or state to proclaim May as National Tennis Month. Deadline to participate in both sweepstakes is June 16. (For more information, go to USTA.com/NTM.)
Many sections are also connecting with retailers to help promote National Tennis Month, and on a national level, apparel brand Athleta is supporting in-store messaging for NTM and is providing a coupon that can be used in June for tennis apparel. Other tennis and sports retail chains have expressed an interested in tying in to NTM promotions, too, but weren’t ready to announce at press time.
“Plan for National Tennis Month now and encourage those in your community to do the same,” says Hainline. “Let’s keep the great momentum of growth in tennis participation going while socializing the health benefits of tennis—THE model sport.”