Ball Shortage: Especially Wilson

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Is anyone else seeing this?

My club has a contract with Wilson and provides balls for league and tournament matches. They have standing case orders that arrive weekly (something like 2 pallets of cases per week). They stopped receiving their orders a few weeks back as Wilson said they are no balls in inventory.

Locally inventory at stores is picked over at best. Club has had to resort to Costco Penns for the time being which is less than ideal.

I see that some online stores have some stock but TW is out until the 20th

Anyone know why? My guess is that "increased demand" is not the answer for the lack of stock of premium tennis balls.
 

derick232

Rookie
Broken supply chain due to Covid-19 would be my guess. Seems odd that this is just happening a year after the pandemic started though. Could be something else not related to covid at all.
 

silentkman

Professional
Is anyone else seeing this?

My club has a contract with Wilson and provides balls for league and tournament matches. They have standing case orders that arrive weekly (something like 2 pallets of cases per week). They stopped receiving their orders a few weeks back as Wilson said they are no balls in inventory.

Locally inventory at stores is picked over at best. Club has had to resort to Costco Penns for the time being which is less than ideal.

I see that some online stores have some stock but TW is out until the 20th

Anyone know why? My guess is that "increased demand" is not the answer for the lack of stock of premium tennis balls.
A case of Wilson Open balls was increased by $5 to $95. The Wilson site has not had any balls for awhile. I picked up a case last week from a place in Maryland. it arrived in two days to Virginia.
 

Chalkdust

Semi-Pro
Locally inventory at stores is picked over at best. Club has had to resort to Costco Penns for the time being which is less than ideal.
What's your beef with Costco Penns? Nothing wrong with the Penn ball, and getting it at Costo where turnover is high ensures you are getting a 'fresh' case rather than one that's been sitting on the shelves for ages.
 

silentkman

Professional
What's your beef with Costco Penns? Nothing wrong with the Penn ball, and getting it at Costo where turnover is high ensures you are getting a 'fresh' case rather than one that's been sitting on the shelves for ages.
not sure the turnover is that high at Costco. I like the US Open ball better.
 

Chalkdust

Semi-Pro
not sure the turnover is that high at Costco. I like the US Open ball better.
Fair enough, can't argue with personal preferences, but the Penns are completely playable. Complaining about having to resort to them is definitely a first world problem!

Everything at Costo has high turnover, that's how they make money since their per-unit margins and so thin. If an item isn't moving then they discontinue stocking it.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
What's your beef with Costco Penns? Nothing wrong with the Penn ball, and getting it at Costo where turnover is high ensures you are getting a 'fresh' case rather than one that's been sitting on the shelves for ages.
For general play and social tennis absolutely nothing wrong with the Penn. But for tournament or league play, I greatly prefer US Open or Babolot balls. I believe they maintain their bounce longer and more steady throughout a long match. The Penn that you get at Costco drop off after the first set IMO.

And note: not exactly complaining ... "less than ideal" is not complaining ... but I am curious about a shortage at this time and wondering if anyone knows why.

Also curious is that TW is really promoting Dunlop balls .... and they are much cheaper. I am not a fan of those little rocks myself. Guessing no supply chain problems with those.
 
The costco penns are "perfectly playable"--I've bought many a cases when I used to shop there. But, they are the lowest denominator of balls. For $1 more you can buy a better quality ball and maybe a 4-ball sleeve of Dunlops. I have had an occasional can of the costco penns that were dead out of a new case. When I brought the can back to CS they said I had to return the entire case for a refund or exchange. This was years ago and don't know if that is still their policy--I didn't hassle with returning the case, it wasn't worth another trip. The costco penns are playable but don't last as long as other balls--you get what you pay for.

Senior Tournaments do not use them nor any pro tournaments. They're ubiquitous in rec play--when I open a premium ball for rec dubs play they may be looked askance at, I'll ask them to open a can of their balls if they prefer--they never do though. The costcos get mixed up with neighboring balls and rec players seldom pay attention to what number ball they are playing with adding to the confusion. They're ok for a couple of sets or an hour and a half--if two cans were used that would be better but that ain't gonna' happen at the rec level--that would really throw everyone for a loop.
 
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A reason for the ball shortage could be that many new people are playing tennis because it has been deemed more socially acceptable due to covid restrictions on other sports.
 

silentkman

Professional
Fair enough, can't argue with personal preferences, but the Penns are completely playable. Complaining about having to resort to them is definitely a first world problem!

Everything at Costo has high turnover, that's how they make money since their per-unit margins and so thin. If an item isn't moving then they discontinue stocking it.
obviously the balls are "playable", I never heard anybody say that they weren't. its just a conversation, I know people who like Dunlops. I stated my preference. sheesh
 

Chalkdust

Semi-Pro
For general play and social tennis absolutely nothing wrong with the Penn. But for tournament or league play, I greatly prefer US Open or Babolot balls. I believe they maintain their bounce longer and more steady throughout a long match. The Penn that you get at Costco drop off after the first set IMO.

And note: not exactly complaining ... "less than ideal" is not complaining ... but I am curious about a shortage at this time and wondering if anyone knows why.

Also curious is that TW is really promoting Dunlop balls .... and they are much cheaper. I am not a fan of those little rocks myself. Guessing no supply chain problems with those.
Fine to have a preference, was just wondering what you disliked about the Penns. For me they seem to last the same as other balls (i.e., ok for about 1.5 hrs of play and then into the trash). For what's it's worth, for USTA play, the Penns are "The Official Ball of USTA Leagues", whatever that means (they paid USTA for the endorsement?).
Anyway, sorry to derail your thread.

The costco penns are "perfectly playable"--I've bought many a cases when I used to shop there. But, they are the lowest denominator of balls. For $1 more you can buy a better quality ball and maybe a 4-ball sleeve of Dunlops. I have had an occasional can of the costco penns that were dead out of a new case. When I brought the can back to CS they said I had to return the entire case for a refund or exchange. This was years ago and don't know if that is still their policy--I didn't hassle with returning the case, it wasn't worth another trip. The costco penns are playable but don't last as long as other balls--you get what you pay for.

Senior Tournaments do not use them nor any pro tournaments. They're ubiquitous in rec players--when I open a premium ball for rec play and they look askance at them I'll ask them to open a can of theirs if they prefer--they never do though. The costcos get mixed up with neighboring balls and rec players seldom pay attention to what number ball they are playing with adding to the confusion. They're ok for a couple of sets or an hour and a half--if two cans were used that would be better but that ain't gonna' happen at the rec level--that would really throw everyone for a loop.
You got me - yes I'm just a rec player :D

Seriously, as long as a new can of balls is opened, which brand of balls is used matters little to me. Maybe different brands have a slightly different feel, but no more difference than it being a bit hotter or colder on the day (makes balls play softer or harder), and a myriad other things that we subconsciously adjust to every time we play.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
Here's a Youtube video from a tennis store owner in California talking about the tennis equipment supply shortage:


At the 4:15 mark, he starts talking about tennis balls and mentions that demand has doubled since the pandemic started. He says Penn has been doing a great job keeping up with this demand, while Wilson specifically hasn't.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
For general play and social tennis absolutely nothing wrong with the Penn. But for tournament or league play, I greatly prefer US Open or Babolot balls. I believe they maintain their bounce longer and more steady throughout a long match. The Penn that you get at Costco drop off after the first set IMO.

And note: not exactly complaining ... "less than ideal" is not complaining ... but I am curious about a shortage at this time and wondering if anyone knows why.

Also curious is that TW is really promoting Dunlop balls .... and they are much cheaper. I am not a fan of those little rocks myself. Guessing no supply chain problems with those.
Look at ProPenn marathons. All the local tournaments up here in BC use those balls. I like them for hard courts and they certainly hold their bounce and felt through a full match.

Wilson Triniti's are my clay court ball because their denser weave felt doesn't take up much water and they bounce forever.
 

nyta2

Professional
i imagine the cost of balls with match that of europe.
when i was there, it was like $9-10 USD a can
folks seemed very surprised i showed up with a new can of balls... and were like, it's ok, we'll use mine to practice... but their balls were like the ones i'd throw away from my hopper after a few months.
similarly i suspect we'll be playing with dead balls for longer if a can of balls goes up to $10...
good news, maybe tennis elbow will decline :p
 

jmc3367

Rookie
i imagine the cost of balls with match that of europe.
when i was there, it was like $9-10 USD a can
folks seemed very surprised i showed up with a new can of balls... and were like, it's ok, we'll use mine to practice... but their balls were like the ones i'd throw away from my hopper after a few months.
similarly i suspect we'll be playing with dead balls for longer if a can of balls goes up to $10...
good news, maybe tennis elbow will decline :p
do you really think it would be $10.00? Why is it $10.00 in Europe? are they the same balls we buy here?
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
do you really think it would be $10.00? Why is it $10.00 in Europe? are they the same balls we buy here?
You can look at the prices at the Tennis Warehouse Europe site:


The cheapest can of balls I am seeing on here is 4,20 €, which is $5.17 in current exchange rates. The Wilson RF Legacy Tennis 4-Ball Can is 10,81 €, which is $13.20!!!

On the US TW site, they don't sell single cans of balls, only cases. A case of 18 of the Wilson RF Legacy Tennis 4-Ball cans is $109 in the US. That same order of that amount of those balls would be $238 in Europe.

I imagine why tennis balls are more expensive in Europe is a combination of things, like taxes, shipping, tariffs, supply and demand, etc. The same reason why gasoline is also much more expensive there as well...
 
You can look at the prices at the Tennis Warehouse Europe site:


The cheapest can of balls I am seeing on here is 4,20 €, which is $5.17 in current exchange rates. The Wilson RF Legacy Tennis 4-Ball Can is 10,81 €, which is $13.20!!!

On the US TW site, they don't sell single cans of balls, only cases. A case of 18 of the Wilson RF Legacy Tennis 4-Ball cans is $109 in the US. That same order of that amount of those balls would be $238 in Europe.

I imagine why tennis balls are more expensive in Europe is a combination of things, like taxes, shipping, tariffs, supply and demand, etc. The same reason why gasoline is also much more expensive there as well...
The comparison with gasoline applies.

strange enough, but I know zero players who buy balls by the case over here. There is good reason to do it though. I know that balls like Tecnifibre X-one are premium quality at bargain price if you buy a case.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
If you order a Coke with your meal in most of Europe, you will get a can that looks like this:


And that can will cost you about 2,50 € - or around $3.05 US.

Meanwhile, in the US, you can get this for $1.49 (with free refills):



Let the comparison of obesity rates begin... :oops:
 

jmc3367

Rookie
You can look at the prices at the Tennis Warehouse Europe site:


The cheapest can of balls I am seeing on here is 4,20 €, which is $5.17 in current exchange rates. The Wilson RF Legacy Tennis 4-Ball Can is 10,81 €, which is $13.20!!!

On the US TW site, they don't sell single cans of balls, only cases. A case of 18 of the Wilson RF Legacy Tennis 4-Ball cans is $109 in the US. That same order of that amount of those balls would be $238 in Europe.

I imagine why tennis balls are more expensive in Europe is a combination of things, like taxes, shipping, tariffs, supply and demand, etc. The same reason why gasoline is also much more expensive there as well...
Wow!! 5 and change doesn't seem un reasonable to me. 13 and change is a lot.
 

nyta2

Professional
You can look at the prices at the Tennis Warehouse Europe site:


The cheapest can of balls I am seeing on here is 4,20 €, which is $5.17 in current exchange rates. The Wilson RF Legacy Tennis 4-Ball Can is 10,81 €, which is $13.20!!!

On the US TW site, they don't sell single cans of balls, only cases. A case of 18 of the Wilson RF Legacy Tennis 4-Ball cans is $109 in the US. That same order of that amount of those balls would be $238 in Europe.

I imagine why tennis balls are more expensive in Europe is a combination of things, like taxes, shipping, tariffs, supply and demand, etc. The same reason why gasoline is also much more expensive there as well...
thx for finding that... when i was in france, i think i bought a 4 can ball of babolat (definitely a premium level)?
i recally it being 10+ (don't recall euro or $usd), just remember "expensive!"
i also bought from a sports department store in a very touristy/downtown area... so that probably contributed to the cost.
but the folks i played with, seemed very unfazed by the cost
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
Whatchu talking about Willis?
They have single cans of balls for sale on TW US.
Now why would anyone buy a single can of balls from TW, that I don't know (maybe to pad up for free shipping).
My mistake - I was comparing the Wilson RF Legacy Tennis 4-Ball Can sold on the TW Europe site with what is on the US site. US TW does not sell single cans of that product, only cases... but I was not clear in my communication.

You are correct, they sell single cans of other types of tennis balls on the US site. I imagine this is done as kind of a "stocking stuffer" situation where someone throws in a couple cans of balls along with a larger order.

Whoa... I just noticed my earlier post that talked about the effects of the trade tariff on tennis ball prices and availability was nuked. As I stated, I was not trying to be political or controversial. It's just a fact that this is a factor on the original topic. Plus, I thought it was interesting that the article noted that Penn's manufacturing facility is in China and Wilson's is in Thailand, which I didn't know before reading it.
 

Papa Mango

Semi-Pro
My mistake - I was comparing the Wilson RF Legacy Tennis 4-Ball Can sold on the TW Europe site with what is on the US site. US TW does not sell single cans of that product, only cases... but I was not clear in my communication.

You are correct, they sell single cans of other types of tennis balls on the US site. I imagine this is done as kind of a "stocking stuffer" situation where someone throws in a couple cans of balls along with a larger order.

Whoa... I just noticed my earlier post that talked about the effects of the trade tariff on tennis ball prices and availability was nuked. As I stated, I was not trying to be political or controversial. It's just a fact that this is a factor on the original topic. Plus, I thought it was interesting that the article noted that Penn's manufacturing facility is in China and Wilson's is in Thailand, which I didn't know before reading it.
No worries, my internet reading skills are not up to par anyway ;)
Interesting about the tariff/trade comment getting nuked :unsure:
I believe there are major supply chain issues if something has to cross an ocean for the last few months anyway.
You can see it in the pricing and availability of goods not just tennis related.
 

nyta2

Professional
My mistake - I was comparing the Wilson RF Legacy Tennis 4-Ball Can sold on the TW Europe site with what is on the US site. US TW does not sell single cans of that product, only cases... but I was not clear in my communication.

You are correct, they sell single cans of other types of tennis balls on the US site. I imagine this is done as kind of a "stocking stuffer" situation where someone throws in a couple cans of balls along with a larger order.

Whoa... I just noticed my earlier post that talked about the effects of the trade tariff on tennis ball prices and availability was nuked. As I stated, I was not trying to be political or controversial. It's just a fact that this is a factor on the original topic. Plus, I thought it was interesting that the article noted that Penn's manufacturing facility is in China and Wilson's is in Thailand, which I didn't know before reading it.
whoa... yeah, they nuked my response with the link to a certain country's (same name as a kind of dish you eat on :p) tariff affecting US trade imports
 

BenC

Semi-Pro
The Costco Penns go soft much more quickly than I like, and it's more noticeable when you have other types of balls to compare them with back-to-back. I was with a group that was playing matches on adjacent courts, one court started with Costco Penn Championship balls and the other with Wilson US Opens. The balls eventually got mixed up as people rotated between courts but the Penns were discarded after people complained about the difference in bounce.

Seems to be a materials related too, I've tried repressurizing balls and the Penn Champs don't seem to last as long as others afterwards.

Not like it matters though, I haven't seen them in Costco for a year now and they're not even listed on the website anymore.
 

Creighton

Semi-Pro
I'm guessing the Costco Penns are just the standard Penn Championship balls? That's all we ever played back where I used to live. Never had an issue with them.

In my new area, everyone plays with the ProPenn tennis balls. I had never seen them before until moving here. But the local league also provides these balls for league play with your league dues.

I personally just buy a case of the dunlop cheap balls from Academy Sports. But I guess i'm not good enough, because I can't really tell a difference between any of the balls I've played with. I do notice the felt stays fresher on the Wilson US Open balls, but it never really affected my play.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
I'm guessing the Costco Penns are just the standard Penn Championship balls? That's all we ever played back where I used to live. Never had an issue with them.
Yes, the Penn Championship balls - generally the black top, extra duty ones are more prevalent. Years back I played with those exclusively and they were fine. More recently though, either my luck has run out, or the quality has gone down. Several times, partners or opponents opened cans purchased at Costco (I am not a member there) and 1 or more balls were dead, or even broken. And even when someone opened a can of “good ones”...increasingly, they felt like hitting rocks to me - very stiff and jarring. I switched to the US Open ball and haven’t had a problem since.
 

Papa Mango

Semi-Pro
I heard a dirty rumor my local costco doesn’t carry them anymore. Of course i heard it from my wife that is anything but encouraging my tennis habit.
They are OOS at our local costco too... or my neighbor is lying to me.
He is a member and I ask him to pick up a couple of cases every now and then, but no balls since november.
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
@OnTheLine since Wilson balls aren’t as available maybe give the Penn Tour or Marathons a try. They’re really high quality. Honestly I’ve always felt Wilson balls were smaller than Penn balls for some reason.

When I first got back into tennis 3 years ago, I was more than content with going to Walmart and picking up a case of Penn Championship Extra Duty balls. Now that I’ve gotten a little more experience, I completely admit I’m a tennis ball snob. :laughing:I’ll (begrudgingly) use the championship balls, for social tennis. However for USTA matches or higher level singles play, it has to be Penn Tour Extra Duty tennis balls.
 

StringGuruMRT

Semi-Pro
Broken supply chain due to Covid-19 would be my guess.
This is the company line that Wilson is giving. Also tennis being one of the better socially distant sports has provided a tick up in demand as well.

We have been having trouble getting the US Open Regular Duty's that we sell here in my shop. It seems to be getting better now though, so hopefully this won't be an issue much longer
 

silentkman

Professional
This is the company line that Wilson is giving. Also tennis being one of the better socially distant sports has provided a tick up in demand as well.

We have been having trouble getting the US Open Regular Duty's that we sell here in my shop. It seems to be getting better now though, so hopefully this won't be an issue much longer
My guess is that you sell more extra duty than regular? I haven't been to a tennis shop in years. we just don't have any in our area.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
@OnTheLine since Wilson balls aren’t as available maybe give the Penn Tour or Marathons a try. They’re really high quality. Honestly I’ve always felt Wilson balls were smaller than Penn balls for some reason.

When I first got back into tennis 3 years ago, I was more than content with going to Walmart and picking up a case of Penn Championship Extra Duty balls. Now that I’ve gotten a little more experience, I completely admit I’m a tennis ball snob. :laughing:I’ll (begrudgingly) use the championship balls, for social tennis. However for USTA matches or higher level singles play, it has to be Penn Tour Extra Duty tennis balls.
I also believe Wilson balls are somewhat smaller ... but not as small as Dunlop balls!

Penn Tour are okay ... but not the Penn Pro .. those are garbage. But really my favorite right now are the Babolat ... those are really good balls. If you have a chance to, try them out.

I too have become a total ball snob. But I will take a new can Penn Championship over ever playing sets with old balls ... even socially.
 

Chalkdust

Semi-Pro
I'd be fascinated to see the results of a blind ball test.... perhaps it would end up like those blind wine tastings where the cheap wines beat out the expensive ones!
 

nyta2

Professional
I'd be fascinated to see the results of a blind ball test.... perhaps it would end up like those blind wine tastings where the cheap wines beat out the expensive ones!
will be hard for me to hit a ball if i'm blind folded :p
yeah, i'd like to see what the results would be too. kinda wanna test if i'm really feeling a diff, or i'm just buying by price/packaging/marketing/etc.... without really knowing i am (obviously i don't think i am... :p)
 
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