Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Craig Sheppard, May 11, 2007.
Storypeddler, I want in your tournaments. Sound fun.
One other point I absolutely HAVE to make after reading all the earlier posts on this subject. There are clearly a good number of tennis players who still look on this as an elitist sport, a country-club sport, and one where they can use their money and position to keep out anyone they consider beneath them, either socially or economically. That's one of the saddest things about the whole discussion. Well, if you charge $50.00 to enter a singles tournament, you will certainly keep put a lot of players who aren't members of the country-club set. That's for sure. But you can't have it both ways. You can't market a sport to the masses and then set unattainably high standards for them to be involved. I've played in tournaments where clubs players sat around laughing at the less-than-fashionable attire of public parks players or their games which were not predicated on thousands of dollars of lessons from a club pro. They were okay with taking their entry fees though. On the other hand, I've seen a lot of club players who, over the years, spent a small fortune on lessons and the "right" clothes and all the accoutrements, and they were low-end 3.5 players when they started and they were still low-end 3.5 players 20 years later. Speaking only for myself, I absolutely despise this particular country-club mentality (as applied to tennis or life in general), and I never took greater delight than when I brought my self-taught, unorthodox game to tournaments and pounded my way through a series of club players to win it all. You know why so many people love the NFL and the NBA? It's because average people can go out and play these sports together and participate, becoming a part of the game on some level. If tennis ever wants to grow beyond a peripheral sport, it is going to have to step back from the classism and elitism that still exists in a lot of clubs and reinvent the way it wants to be seen by the rest of us.
I know that for road races, blocking off the roads / paying the cops is a HUGE expense (and the main reason people are paying ~$100 for marathons).
What are the expenses associated with a tennis tournament? What are some of your fixed vs. variable expenses?
How many entrants do you normally project as your break-even number?
In your experience, what makes for the best tournament experience (and are you basing this on feedback from participants)?
The prime downtown Tennis club in the Chi charges that much.
It's only single elimination which makes life even worse.
Still i pay for it because, its a damn nice club and a chance to play there is pretty nice, because im not about to drop over $2,000 annually for membership/court fees/etc.
But in the grand scheme of things, its still a big price to pay.
You spend ~$10K / year to play tennis? And this is just for yourself? Do you have any clubhouse minimums (like at a country club)?
I can get a season pass at a nice golf course for $1,500. Probably cost me $500 if I wanted to golf some place crappy. I can also get a season pass at Alta and Snowbird (combined) to ski for $1,700 (which is $500 bucks more than it was when I got it 10 years ago).
The cost of living in So. Cal (that is where you live, right) is incredible.
It doesn't have to be that expensive... I live in the SF Bay Area, which in general has an absurdly high cost of living. And sure, you can spend a lot of $$$ if you want to play at a private club. But there are also many public and semi-public facilities that are free or very cheap.
I play out of several such facilities and I pay a total of maybe $300 a year for court use.
Elitism? Do you even know what the word means???
Cary Tennis Park is anything but elite.....ANYONE can play there....provided a court is available.
Our fixed costs are really just the court rentals, garbage clean-up fees, etc. that the school or park & rec department charges. That runs approximately $400. I have to rent chairs for the players and a few tables for the tournament desk, sponsor tables, etc at about $50 a tournament. I also buy several containers of Gatorade powder, cups, and a few other things which costs about another $50. Occasionally I will need to rent a portable restroom if the location doesn't already have their own. So the total for fixed costs is about $500. We may also buy fruit, pizza, etc. for players depending on our budget and the number of registrations.
Our variable costs are only tennis balls (one of the most expensive costs for a tournament) and trophies. I generally budget $4/person for balls and $5/person for trophies.
This gives us a break even point of about 25 singles players or doubles teams with an entry fee of $30 for singles and $40 for a doubles team. As I said before, we also give registration discounts for registering early or for registering for singles and doubles ($40 total).
Unfortunately, Minnesota doesn't have the park tennis community other states have, otherwise I would love to make the tournaments even cheaper and attract 100-200 players consistently, and be able to afford an official like storypeddler. Our tournaments only get about 50-60, so I feel I am setting the price at a reasonable level to balance keeping the tournaments affordable, giving players an enjoyable experience, and being able to make a little bit of money.
@Storypeddler: I would love to learn about how you worked your tournament. I would love to run tournaments the way you do and would love to play in them. I am a tournament player, and I care about giving tournament players a fun experience. I would like to make our tournaments even better and make them something people talk about and want to come back to next year.
^^ That seems reasonable.
It's funny how people make fun of trophies, but if you didn't award them, people would be disappointed.
Is it prize money?
I just paid $70 to play a single elimination tourney. All I have to show for it is a used can of balls covered with clay. It was my first and perhaps last tournament. Maybe flex league or team league is a better way to go (??).
May I ask what section this was? NTRP or open or seniors?
for $70, I hope your winning some kind of gold plated trophy or gift certificate to the olive garden for dinner?
Please move to Maryland.
TA is pricing common man out of tennis as well.
Now $60-70 Singles / $35 doubles entry for even the lowest level Australian national rankings event.
Now for your money don't even get into the main draws. With 2012 changes only allowing 16 direct entries and 4 wildcards / 4 qualifiers.
Events that used charge $40, are now generic branded with $65 online entry.
I'm sorry that is too much in this economy.
Making from 5K-10K profit per three day event. Some TA staffers are getting fat and it isn't the grass roots volunteers.
Level of commercial control over tennis is a disgrace.
In Texas these days the sanctioned tournaments I've played have been charging an average of $33 for singles. I miss the days (80's) when there were several tournaments (Sanctioned and non-sanctioned) that offered t-shirts and other goodies for the participants. But I can say that out of the 6 tournaments I played in 2011, I got shirts in 2 and goodies in a 3rd so that was cool.
I wish there were events like the Rockdale Open, Groesbeck Open, Temple Open, and Taylor Open (all in Central Texas). What I liked about those is that they were $20 and you got a t-shirt. If any of my fellow players in Central Texas know if these tournaments still exist, let me know. I know the Temple Open does not but I wonder if those in the other towns do?
The one thing I do appreciate here in Texas is that there are enough tournaments to play every weekend. But because of the cost, I limit my tournaments to those in Central Texas, essentially the I-35 corridor. Is the pricing steep? Sure if you play a lot. But it's a hobby for me which I enjoy. And what I love the most is going out for a beer and food after a match anyway...
New York metro area. It was an NTRP tournament. Eh...it was my first tourney and I wanted to see what it was like. Now I know, plus I know some areas of my game I need to improve upon. Expensive lesson I guess. :-|
I just signed up for my first tourney, it was $38.13 for the first singles and then $25 for any additional singles. I signed up for 3.5 and 4.0, and it is single elimination. I had never done a tournament like this before, so I wanted to give it a shot.
I did not realize how expensive USTA tournaments are. I recently joined USTA just so I can join random tournaments. I was thinking they cost around 20-30 bucks. Boy was I wrong. It looks to be more around at least 40 bucks for singles elimination... Not even doubles included in it. For a grad school student with a ton of student loans... that's pretty much unaffordable. Oh well.
Play USTA flex league, and team tennis -much cheaper.
Since you are at grad school I would look into intramural and club tennis.
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk, my friend
Craig - Are you a member at CTP? I'm guessing that's where this tournament is.
How would you rate being a member there? Is it worth the $300/year?
you guys have it so good...
it costs $20 for the privilege of being able to have one of my friends play with me as a guest at the tennis club where i am member.
it's not like the courts are busy with other members to hit with, they're mostly chillaxing at the bar, the pool or with their kids in one of the playgrounds. the only members available to hit with are bored housewives.
Yep it really is that expensive! I have paid between $45-50 the last 6 months.
Don't join USTA. The OPs post is dated 2007, probably up to 60 to 65 dollars by now. You can play a lot of tennis without paying those type of rip-off fees. If you have a local city tennis club see if someone can set up a tennis league and a 1/4 the cost of a one time single elimination tournament fee. Saturday afternoon tennis groups are great, pickup matches. USTA like any bureacracy is getting bigger and bigger with a larger staff that is getting paid to organize and grow bigger. Enough, I say. Tennis should go back to what it was before USTA. It's not helping grow promising junor players as they sold it initially. Save your money!
It's a lot, but I don't think it's THAT crazy. I have paid that, and more, a couple of times. But, the events were worth it, IMO - nice facilities, good competition, well-run, guaranteed multiple matches, etc.
As ridiculous as tourney fees can be, it's not like you're agreeing to something unknown. The cost is upfront, so you can decide accordingly if you think it's worth it before shelling out any cash.
I agree and disagree. Pickup matches are too variable with players all over the place in ability. Spending the one of the few days of the week you get to play tennis with some 3.0s can be a waste. If you arrange things on your own, you get bored of playing the same group of people over and over. Leagues can provide you weekly play with good opponents.
USTA keeps upping the costs of things and it will get to a point where I have to decide whether to continue. Right now tourneys are not worth it for me from a money or time constraint problem so they are out of the picture. The leagues are worth it. But if they keep raising fees I will cut down the number of leagues or stop altogether and do something else.
I'd generally agree about simply playing on your own if I lived in some tennis hotbed like Atlanta or Florida or California. But, I live in Springfield, Illinois. If I ever want to see good players that are different than the handful of players I play with all the time, I really have to play tournaments. I like to compete and I like to play different players, so it's a no brainer for me, but I totally understand why it's not worth it for some people, depending on their situation.
I used to run tournaments as well as play. I used public Parks & Rec. facilities, but I NEVER charged more than $20.00 for entry into a singles draw. The tournaments held at clubs keep raising prices and will eventually price themselves out of the market altogether. They either don't care or don't have a clue. Frankly, I think it is just another cash cow for the clubs. I refuse to play any tournament at that price. I can always find matches of equal or better quality by making a couple phone calls and pay nothing. I used to love to play tournaments, but I won't pay $50 to play a couple of weekend matches. If a tournament director wants to, he can STILL host a tournament with relatively inexpensive entry fees AND have some decent perks for the players. Do the math. Say you have a tournament with a 16 player men's draw in 4.0. At $20/head, that's $320. You only give 2-3 trophies or awards in a division, so you get a deal from someone local on tournament t-shirts, and STILL come out ahead. In fact, at the lower cost, you get MORE players signing up, and with multiple divisions, you keep increasing your disposable income. You can feed players, offer door prizes, whatever you want. I did it repeatedly, and you still can, but it takes a willingness to put on a great tournament instead of trying to make $2000-$3000 profit in a weekend. That's what the clubs are doing now and that's why the fees are so unnecessarily high. It kills tournament play.
USTA Adult Membership is $44.00/year. It was about $25.00.. 5 years ago. It allows you to play USTA league tennis. The USTA is one big money making operation that is really run in great part by volunteers. Most of the money goes into the USTA bureaucracy and very little comes out to help grow the game. I was in the inside for a very long time and saw 1st hand how it all worked. I dropped my membership about 3 years ago. Save your cash... get into a few groups that play a good level of tennis and enjoy.
Here's the issue for the players ranging between the young juniors and the juniors entering in college: You can't be signed by a DI or DIII school without some sort of USTA National or Sectional Ranking. This means that you have no choice but to sign up in sanctioned tournaments.
Directors should know that if you charge with a decent price, you will get more players! In texas, no one is going to pay $40+ to play in a 1-3 match garunteed tournament!
This is bull.
But this only applies to Americans because foreigners don't even need a national or sectional ranking..
You're right about pickup matches, you can end up playing lower level players, but sometimes you can get a good match and then if you both like to play then you have a partner. It's still fine with me if I play someone that I can beat easily, I work on a stroke and it's social tennis, too. The drawback to $60.00 tournament fees is if you lose in the first round, that's a lot of money for a few hours tennis. I agree on League play, I have a gripe with the USTA so I try and find non-sanctioned leagues for a lot less money and hastle. I really don't care about a USTA ranking or a USTA NTRP rating either. Non-sanctioned leagues don't get hung up on your NTRP rating. I have no use for the USTA.
Actually, somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 of all new college players have no USTA or sectionals rankings. That's becuase they are foreigners. Now that is bull.
This is ridiculous.
But this isn't their fault, it's the American coaches who have failed to develop their players properly before being recruited or signing up to a college.
What do you believe should be the alternative for Americans? Video? Relying on high school match results? Neither of those would work.
Indoor or outdoor? Given the cost of indoor courts in the NY metro area, it doesn't seem all that unreasonable. Also, if you win a round or two, then you are more than getting your money's worth.
I recently played in a NTRP tournament for $70 and didn't think it was unfair.
I know, they won't.
But the heavy reliance on USTA rankings in sanctioned tournaments is ridiculous. Not everyone wants to pay $30 for a 1-2 match garunteed tournament (especially me when money is a little tight during some times). With $30, I could easily purchase 5 sets of BB co-poly to restring my racquets with, several rolls of lead tape, or several leather replacement grips...
Of course $70 wouldn't seem unfair to you. You probably have a decent-paying job and have the capability of spending more than others because it's New York.
I went there last year, and the local stringer asked $35-$45 to restring my racquet... I thought he was delusional. I could sign up for tournaments using this! That's why I believe it's more important to restring racquets near the West and East Coasts because the prices are substantially high compared to other areas.
Yuppers if you live in NYC...$70.00 is no big deal.. and $35 to $45 for a basic restringing In NYC is not out of line. Where I live...way out of line.
That's why tennis is still considered an elitist sport.
There's really no reason why the sport of tennis couldn't be as available to the general public as are YMCA basketball, city softball leagues or even bowling leagues for that matter.
Instead, the USTA has hi-jacked the sport and imposed all their rules, regulations without adding any value to the sport.
It is justified because it promotes junior tennis, yet for a country the size of the United States we don't produce the players we once did. What does that say about USTA?
At one time tennis tournaments, leagues were open to all people. Now, you you don't make a move unless the USTA permits it. A person can still play without be a USTA member, but it's getting harder. Maybe some day joining a Tennis club, tennis clinic, tennis lessons will also require you have to join the USTA.
I'll reluctantly pay the high entry fee for a USTA-sanctioned tournament, because most of the ones I've played in are well-run. USTA leagues are another matter. We've been running our own non-USTA leagues here in Transchoptankia for 35+ years, singles & doubles. We live 7 miles from another state with lots of tennis players nearby. USTA told us we could not have league play with them because that state is in a different USTA section. USTA is a fossilized organization. They are incapable of change. Like the ABA and the AMA, USTA is controlled by a bunch of hacks only interested in preserving their own power. The only thing they do right is youth tennis and adult sanctioned tournaments.
I don't know where you are, but I am in one of the most expensive areas of the country (SF Bay Area) and yet tennis can be very affordable.
Plenty of free public courts, a good tennis community, and enough places where you can get pick up games if you don't have your own network to arrange games.
Assuming you have a racquet, you can play pretty much year round for just the cost of balls and restringing from time to time (pretty cheap if you restring yourself).
Now I happen to choose to be a member of USTA and play leagues, so that sets me back maybe $100 a year for membership and team rostering fees, but even that's not a huge amount for organized sports.
Of course you can also drop more cash on tournaments, and by joining private clubs etc, but really that's not needed - it's possible to get lots of good tennis on he cheap.
I just put down $38 for a tournament (Singles) in Oakland, CA. I am a sucker for tournaments! I call myself a sucker because I keep losing in the first round. Dear Tennis Gods: Please help me! Looking for some wins this time!
What side of the Bay are you on? I need 4.5 (ish) practice partners!
These rates are what I see too. 25-30 bucks. And I bet they do lose their shirt when it rains.
FWIW, I don't believe the USTA sets rates. That is the tourney directors decision and the USTA only gets the tennislink fee.
If you pay $49 to enter, there is probably a reason (give aways, prizes, refreshments,etc). If not, the tourney director should have complaints directed at them.
IMO you'd get better value for money out of flex league. But good luck in the tournament!
These days I play out across the tunnel - along the 24 and 680 corridors. I used to live in Albany though several years ago and some good tennis around there and the Berkeley area also.
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