How did World Tennis Day play out?
The 3rd edition of World Tennis Day took place earlier this week and was highlighted by the BNP Paribas Showdown. The goal of World Tennis Day is ‘promoting the sport of tennis and increasing participation among young players around the globe’. In an attempt to do this several fantastic events and initiatives took place around the world.
World Tennis Day Online
It is interesting to see how World Tennis Day played out online. On March 10th 5,500 tweets were sent containing the ‘official’ hashtag #WorldTennisDay (stats via topsy.com – no longer available). There was also a peak in tweets using the word ‘tennis’. Clearly World Tennis Day got people talking online and the sport of tennis got promoted along the way. Whether this translates into more active tennis players is difficult to say.
Many governing bodies – local, national and international – also got involved online during World Tennis Day. Many ‘Happy #WorldTennisDay’ were tweeted. All four Grand Slams promoted the day, just as Tennis Australia and the USTA. Most of them found a way to tie in their own event or organisation.
BNP Paribas Showdown
The highlight of World Tennis Day was the 8th edition of the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. This year Federer played Dimitrov and legends Sabatini and Seles faced off.
Tickets were still available on the day of the event with ticket prices ranging between $50 and $400. The event has major sponsors, was live broadcast and had fan interaction – all elements needed to promote tennis.
Stand out initiative on World Tennis Day
One of the best fan engagement initiatives on World Tennis Day came from Tennis Australia. They had two great online initiatives. You could book a court for free at Melbourne Park when calling a certain number and quoting ‘World Tennis Day’. Tennis fans at Melbourne Park could also tweet their photo and get a free Australian Open programme.
It is nothing new that Tennis Australia and the Australian Open lead when it comes to social media and fan engagement. They did a great job earlier this year during the Australian Open.
The future of World Tennis Day
Tennis was definitely celebrated on World Tennis Day. There was an increase in Twitter chatter and some great initiatives took place all around the world. Yet we will not hear about the many local events that took place to promote tennis within communities. This makes it difficult for World Tennis Day to become a real international movement. There is certainly a possibility to make this yearly event far bigger than it is now and to promote tennis even further.
How can the governing bodies in tennis – WTA, ATP, ITF and national associations – further leverage World Tennis Day in upcoming years?