Full list of tennis programs being wiped out due to COVID

I've not been with the ITA for years but was working to help college tennis as the CEO of Universal Tennis (UTR).

So, you have no suggestions or aren't prepared to share them. OK.
Keep trolling. I have a ton of ideas but why would I share them with a failing organization? UTR will be done soon as the USTA will have their own system. Nice pattern. Congrats.
 
Minnesota cutting mens tennis. Freaking ridiculous. One of the least costly Olympic sports and a successful program at a massive school and athletic program like that.
 

bobleenov1963

Hall of Fame
Many/most non-revenue programs do raise their own money. Usually from former player alumni, other alumni and friends of the program.
But do they raise enough money to sustain the program? Obviously NOT. Otherwise, they would not need money from the football and basketball program revenue. Please correct me if I am wrong. I want what is fairness for the athlete. I don't want football/basketball revenue, most of them are minorities, subsidize sports like tennis, golf, swimming, which is mostly white. Is that fair to you?

Bob likes to show off his Marxist and MSM indoctrination accusing people of things he knows nothing about. He also excels at unsubstantiated generalizations and displays an ongoing myopic view of OSU athletics from his time there when he was a Woody Hays disciple. HAHA
I was at OSU when Earle Bruce was the head coach there.
 

J_Ring

New User
Minnesota cutting mens tennis.

That's what happens when your football team is not allowed to play and generate revenue.
 
UTR will be done soon as the USTA will have their own system.
LOL. What is it about some people in the United States that think the whole world revolves around the USA?

USTA would be a total outlier if it tries to implement its own system. Every other Tennis playing country in the world is in the process of adopting UTR for reasons which should be totally obvious to the USTA.

Europe has been dominated world Tennis for the past two decades. In spite of all the efforts of the USTA, the United States has only produced a sprinkling of Male players over that time that have done anything significant on the world stage.

Europe, Africa, South America, Asia and Australia are embracing UTR. Imho, the USTA ignores the rest of the world at its own peril.
 

jcgatennismom

Professional
@Collegetennisrules @Karma Tennis No way UTR is going away-at the competitive levels, the only number more important than UTR is ATP rankings. UTR is nimble because decisions can be made at the local level. USTA is an albatross with a lot of bureaucracy and top down decisions. UTR events were the first to return after the pandemic closing. At one time, USTA and ITF were working together to come up with a world ITF number that would compete and/or maybe replace UTR. However, with all the layoffs at the major tennis organizations, creating another number to rank/rate tennis players is no longer a priority, and UTR will continue its rise to dominance.

UTR gives players of all levels more choices and makes it cheaper for players to compete. USTA juniors used to have so many hoops to jump through for players to earn a national ranking to attend a national 1 tourney to be seen by college coaches. Players would have to earn points at the state/division level to be able to compete at the sectional level to be endorsed to play the top Nationals. Many US juniors played close to 20 USTA tourneys a year to follow all the rules to earn that endorsement to National Hardcourts. Now with UTR, players can have a comparable verified rating after 8 matches-maybe just 2 tourneys. An individual UTR hosted event may be attended by juniors, collegians, young pros, and adults. If a talented unranked/unrated player trains hard and is really prepared for higher level UTR tourneys, that player can earn a UTR ranking at a fraction of the cost, that person would have spent to earn a similar ranking in the past via USTA. Most USTA hosted men's open tourneys are now seeded and/or selected by UTR.

UTR includes all USTA, ITF, ITA, ATP results but does not include all the national and lower level tourneys within countries outside the US. Europe has different and stronger data privacy standards than the US, so that is a main driver in missing international results. In light of the pandemic and the seeming waste of funds to continue pursing another world ranking number, I hope UTR can work with ITF federation to improve data privacy and include more international results. I hope to see the return of more ITF events in the US-both at the junior level and Futures. Those were fun and inexpensive to play and gave US players the exposure to high level tennis without all the prerequisites that similar high level USTA jr tourneys required. One year my son played a local jr ITF tourney with no ITF ranking-he just had to play the Qualis. However, after making it through the Qualis, he got to play blue chip Americans and international with ITF rankings-only cost $40 and no prereq tourney besides the Quali.

Prior to the pandemic, Mexico and the Caribbean hosted 50+ jr ITF tourneys compared to the US's only 17. I think USTA must have had a role in the low number, especially proportional to population, of US junior ITFs. One positive aspect of the pandemic is all these organizations appear to be cooperating instead of competing this fall just to save tennis and get some events going-ITA, USTA, UTR, etc. USTA has made some improvements to junior tennis over the last couple of years but possibly too little too late. The UTR genie is out of the bag, and players have realized they can find cheap local competition without the USTA.
 
No way UTR is going away-at the competitive levels
The UTR genie is out of the bag, and players have realized they can find cheap local competition
AMEN to that !!!

@jcgatennismom, what a fantastic post. And your last statement pretty much reflects exactly what is happening / going to happen here in Australia. Finally it seems Tennis Australia is going to get something right at the local level. Pity it took a Global pandemic to get them to wake up. But at least it is better late than never.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
In the mid-90s, when I was young and free, after completing my undergrad, I was a part-time assistant men's tennis coach at a Division 1 school, which I really enjoyed. So much, that I wanted to quit my boring regular job in IT and become a full-time college coach. I got a masters degree in sports science and taught tennis on the side. I interviewed for several coaching jobs and almost took one in another part of the country. However, my wife and I had our first child around the time I finished my masters, and I had an epiphany that I would never really be able to provide for my new young family like I wanted in coaching. Sure, some of the top coaches are paid well, but most college coaching jobs don't offer much...

So I gave up on the coaching idea and put all my efforts into my IT career instead. When I see what is going on right now, I am SO GLAD that I made that decision. Being an IT manager might be boring, but I've traveled all over the world on projects and have a salary that is 5 times what I would have made as a coach. And during the pandemic, I've been able to work remote.

I really feel bad for all the men and women who made coaching their career, and for all the players that are losing their programs now.
 
The ITA and USTA will save college tennis. Stay tuned.
While I'm not directly affected by what is going in with US College Tennis, I'm interested to know why your posts seem to be so negative and / or sarcastic here.

You appear to be way off the mark regarding the impact of UTR too.

What are you actually trying to say?
Are you being directly affected by what is happening at the moment?
What would you like to happen?

I don't understand why you are wasting your time making meaningless contrite posts that add no real value to the conversation.
 

bobleenov1963

Hall of Fame
While I'm not directly affected by what is going in with US College Tennis, I'm interested to know why your posts seem to be so negative and / or sarcastic here.

You appear to be way off the mark regarding the impact of UTR too.

What are you actually trying to say?
Are you being directly affected by what is happening at the moment?
What would you like to happen?

I don't understand why you are wasting your time making meaningless contrite posts that add no real value to the conversation.

He might be sarcastic but he does have a point though. What have USTA and ITA done to save college tennis? I haven't seen much from USTA and ITA, at least publicly, while tennis programs have been dropped left and right since the start of the pandemic.
 
While I'm not directly affected by what is going in with US College Tennis, I'm interested to know why your posts seem to be so negative and / or sarcastic here.

You appear to be way off the mark regarding the impact of UTR too.

What are you actually trying to say?
Are you being directly affected by what is happening at the moment?
What would you like to happen?

I don't understand why you are wasting your time making meaningless contrite posts that add no real value to the conversation.
Please use your brain. Can you do that for us?
 
He might be sarcastic but he does have a point though. What have USTA and ITA done to save college tennis? I haven't seen much from USTA and ITA, at least publicly, while tennis programs have been dropped left and right since the start of the pandemic.
Thank you for having a brain. Too many programs have been dropped. But don't worry the ITA is on it!
 
Please use your brain. Can you do that for us?
Simple questions that you cannot answer ... so you resort to rudeness instead.

My brain tells me you might be a Coach who has recently been stood down by a US College or perhaps a parent of a student that was looking forward to joining a program at a College that no longer exists, or indeed a student in a program that has now been shut down.

Unfortunately, it appears that US College Sporting programs are often run as Businesses. So they aren't immune to changes in the Economic environment.

Oh Well, I'm sorry that you are so aggrieved. But whinging isn't going to get you anywhere. Never does.
 
Last edited:
He might be sarcastic but he does have a point though. What have USTA and ITA done to save college tennis? I haven't seen much from USTA and ITA, at least publicly, while tennis programs have been dropped left and right since the start of the pandemic.
Being in Australia, I don't know much about the role of the ITA.

But the USTA is a completely different kettle of fish. I equate it to Tennis Australia (TA)

TA does not directly involve itself in School or University related Tennis programs in Australia. That is left to the relevant School bodies and Universities directly.

The role of TA is to promote the sport to the public at large through the funding of Tennis Clubs, training of Tennis Coaches, development of elite junior players, and various Tennis Tournaments.

In Australia there is a clear distinction between the Education Sector and the Sporting Sector. There is no intermixing here in a way that it occurs in the US with US College Sporting programs. And personally, I don't think there should be. But that's for another thread.

Saying all that, HE IS BEING SARCASTIC. (And he obviously fails to understand that money doesn't grow on trees!)

His quite rude response to my post is clear demonstration of that. I asked him some simple questions. Instead of providing some rational answers, he responded in an abusive manner. That is also an indication perhaps he doesn't understand the primary role of organisations like TA and the USTA. That says it all.
 

andfor

Legend
Being in Australia, I don't know much about the role of the ITA.

But the USTA is a completely different kettle of fish. I equate it to Tennis Australia (TA)

TA does not directly involve itself in School or University related Tennis programs in Australia. That is left to the relevant School bodies and Universities directly.

The role of TA is to promote the sport to the public at large through the funding of Tennis Clubs, training of Tennis Coaches, development of elite junior players, and various Tennis Tournaments.

In Australia there is a clear distinction between the Education Sector and the Sporting Sector. There is no intermixing here in a way that it occurs in the US with US College Sporting programs. And personally, I don't think there should be. But that's for another thread.

Saying all that, HE IS BEING SARCASTIC. (And he obviously fails to understand that money doesn't grow on trees!)

His quite rude response to my post is clear demonstration of that. I asked him some simple questions. Instead of providing some rational answers, he responded in an abusive manner. That is also an indication perhaps he doesn't understand the primary role of organisations like TA and the USTA. That says it all.
Your insights to his motives are quite brain like. Surprised Bob wants USTA dues to subsidize college tennis when he's against Football and Basketball subsidizing non-revenue sports.

Posting ideas or privately messaging them to interested parties that remotely have a chance to help "might" be slightly more effective than insulting them.
 
Last edited:
Posting ideas or privately messaging them to interested parties that remotely have a chance to help "might" be slightly better than insulting them.
In my long experience, those whose default position is to insult others aren't usually interested in helping anyone.

Tennis Australia's main mission is to run the Australian Open and garnish as much money as possible from the Australian Governments and local and international Media Broadcasters. Growing the sport of tennis in Australia is a distant secondary goal. I can't imagine the USTA's main mission is much different.
 

andfor

Legend
In my long experience, those whose default position is to insult others aren't usually interested in helping anyone.

Tennis Australia's main mission is to run the Australian Open and garnish as much money as possible from the Australian Governments and local and international Media Broadcasters. Growing the sport of tennis in Australia is a distant secondary goal. I can't imagine the USTA's main mission is much different.
Here's the USTA mission statement. "The USTA is a progressive and diverse not-for-profit organization whose volunteers, professional staff and financial resources support a single mission: to promote and develop the growth of tennis".

With that I can see where some would display frustration to see college programs go to the wayside with little USTA public support of preventing those programs being cancelled. Conversley the USTA may contend the "growth" aspect is focused on the grass-roots, special needs, underprivileged, juniors and adult members. Maybe they have a college initiative somewhere, for me I haven't seen it.
 
Last edited:

bobleenov1963

Hall of Fame
Your insights to his motives are quite brain like. Surprised Bob wants USTA dues to subsidize college tennis when he's against Football and Basketball subsidizing non-revenue sports.
USTA members are overwhelmingly white and so are the vast majority of college tennis programs.

Football and basketball players are overwhelmingly minorities and their revenues are being used to subsidizing non-revenue sports that are overwhelmingly white. Are you seeing anything wrong with this here?

This is 2020, not the year 1619.
 

andfor

Legend
USTA members are overwhelmingly white and so are the vast majority of college tennis programs.

Football and basketball players are overwhelmingly minorities and their revenues are being used to subsidizing non-revenue sports that are overwhelmingly white. Are you seeing anything wrong with this here?

This is 2020, not the year 1619.
Your choice of the year 1619 speaks volumes. You're aggrieved mentality is also a choice.
 

silentkman

Professional
Here's the USTA mission statement. "The USTA is a progressive and diverse not-for-profit organization whose volunteers, professional staff and financial resources support a single mission: to promote and develop the growth of tennis".

With that I can see where some would display frustration to see college programs go to the wayside with little USTA public support of preventing those programs being cancelled. Conversley the USTA may contend the "growth" aspect is focused on the grass-roots, special needs, underprivileged, juniors and adult members. Maybe they have a college initiative somewhere, for me I haven't seen it.
Are you saying that you want the USTA help fund college tennis programs? What's your proposal specifically? How much money has anyone on this forum spent to help college tennis? I'm willing to bet that the money that you spent on college sports, tennis was not in the equation. Unfortunately, everything is about the money.
 

andfor

Legend
Are you saying that you want the USTA help fund college tennis programs? What's your proposal specifically? How much money has anyone on this forum spent to help college tennis? I'm willing to bet that the money that you spent on college sports, tennis was not in the equation. Unfortunately, everything is about the money.
No, but wouldn't rule out their involvement in helping save college tennis programs out.

I was responding to @Karma Tennis post and his comparing TA to the USTA.

The USTA has an entire section of their website devoted to college tennis. What that proposal would like like and since I'm not all out suggesting they step up, is not a plan I have in my back pocket. Given they just cut some huge number of high performance tennis coaches and personnel, my guess is that due to current revenue issues related to CV19 we won't see their involvement here anytime soon.

As for me, I've donated to my alma mater where I played, where my son played college tennis and another program. If I had more would be happy to donate more. Maybe more in my golden years, haha!
 
Last edited:

silentkman

Professional
No, but wouldn't rule their involvement in helping save college tennis programs out.

I was responding to @Karma Tennis post and his comparing TA to the USTA.

The USTA has an entire section of their website devoted to college tennis. What that proposal would like like and since I'm not all out suggesting they step up, is not a plan I have in my back pocket. Given they just cut some huge number of high performance tennis coaches and personnel, my guess is that due to current revenue issues related to CV19 we won't see their involvement here anytime soon.

As for me, I've donated to my alma mater where I played, where my son played college tennis and another program. If I had more would be happy to donate more. Maybe more in my golden years, haha!
I believe it's roughly about 1.5 million or so to run a tennis program. I didn't play college tennis, but you probably need donations from people that just have an interest. I'm asking what more can be done to save a second or third tier non revenue sport? are you going to raise those activity fees for every student to pay for tennis? Somebody mention making the matches more regionalize to save money. Honestly, I wish I had the answer.
 

bobleenov1963

Hall of Fame
I'm not going to address your comparing apples to oranges along with your social justice motives mixed in questionable historical curriculum here.
What did I say that is comparing apples to oranges? You didn't dispute the fact that football & basketball (minority athletes) revenue support other non-revenue sports (white athletes).
 

andfor

Legend
What did I say that is comparing apples to oranges? You didn't dispute the fact that football & basketball (minority athletes) revenue support other non-revenue sports (white athletes).
1. You don't want FB and BB to fund other non-revenue sports, but you want the USTA to fund college tennis. Apple/Oranges
2. You like to sight race as your rational. In this case that's just buffoonary.
3. Persisting in discussions such as these are subject to the mods deleting them.
4. Having to explain is a futile effort.
5. I only responded this time because this is absurdly comical.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
Interesting article on the cutback of men's track and field programs amongst the non-revenue sports that are being targeted now:


You could easily swap in "tennis" where it mentions "track" and see that the issues mirror each other.

One of the things that stood out to me was that the University of Oregon, one of the premier college track programs, has only had 2 home track meets in the past 2 years. A big part of this is because Hayward Field (where they run) was being rebuilt into an Olympic level stadium. However, the article points out how head-to-head track meets have fallen out of favor, replaced by sending individual groups of track athletes to separate invitationals all over the country. So on any given weekend, the sprinters could be in southern California, the distance runners in Texas, and the throwers in Georgia for different competitions. This makes the sport hard to follow and dissolves some of the connection that fans might normally have. Plus, it precludes any chance of actually generating revenue through having a home meet.

Translating this to tennis, I think programs need to look for creative ways to lower operating costs, connect with local fans, and generate some revenue to cover their expenses. One idea might be the regionalization of competition with more local matches and reduction of travel costs. It would probably behoove teams to market to local tennis enthusiasts to solicit more interest and funding. This is where the USTA could potentially help in terms of a marketing partnership. For instance, one of our local NCAA D3 teams has lately decided to open up their tennis facility to USTA teams, local tennis lessons, and hosting of USTA and UTR tournaments. They also have drop-in hitting sessions that include the opportunity to play against some of the team members. They also advertise their local matches and sell "fan packages" that include a t-shirt and some other cheap goodies, which helps generate revenue. Even if fans don't buy tickets for home tennis matches, there are still other ways that a team can generate loyalty and sponsorship from them so that the whole burden of cost is not pulled from the athletic budget.

(I saw a comment that the typical D1 budget for a tennis team is $1.5 million. I played college tennis at a lower level than D1 and I can tell you that we played a full regional schedule each year at a much, much lower cost than that!)
 

silentkman

Professional
Interesting article on the cutback of men's track and field programs amongst the non-revenue sports that are being targeted now:


You could easily swap in "tennis" where it mentions "track" and see that the issues mirror each other.

One of the things that stood out to me was that the University of Oregon, one of the premier college track programs, has only had 2 home track meets in the past 2 years. A big part of this is because Hayward Field (where they run) was being rebuilt into an Olympic level stadium. However, the article points out how head-to-head track meets have fallen out of favor, replaced by sending individual groups of track athletes to separate invitationals all over the country. So on any given weekend, the sprinters could be in southern California, the distance runners in Texas, and the throwers in Georgia for different competitions. This makes the sport hard to follow and dissolves some of the connection that fans might normally have. Plus, it precludes any chance of actually generating revenue through having a home meet.

Translating this to tennis, I think programs need to look for creative ways to lower operating costs, connect with local fans, and generate some revenue to cover their expenses. One idea might be the regionalization of competition with more local matches and reduction of travel costs. It would probably behoove teams to market to local tennis enthusiasts to solicit more interest and funding. This is where the USTA could potentially help in terms of a marketing partnership. For instance, one of our local NCAA D3 teams has lately decided to open up their tennis facility to USTA teams, local tennis lessons, and hosting of USTA and UTR tournaments. They also have drop-in hitting sessions that include the opportunity to play against some of the team members. They also advertise their local matches and sell "fan packages" that include a t-shirt and some other cheap goodies, which helps generate revenue. Even if fans don't buy tickets for home tennis matches, there are still other ways that a team can generate loyalty and sponsorship from them so that the whole burden of cost is not pulled from the athletic budget.

(I saw a comment that the typical D1 budget for a tennis team is $1.5 million. I played college tennis at a lower level than D1 and I can tell you that we played a full regional schedule each year at a much, much lower cost than that!)
i'm referring to the total cost of running a program for a year. scholarships etc. if i'm incorrect, please provide a number.
 

bobleenov1963

Hall of Fame
i'm referring to the total cost of running a program for a year. scholarships etc. if i'm incorrect, please provide a number.
there are 4.5 scholarships for men and 8.8 scholarships for women. Take University of Virginia for example, it costs about 35k/year to attend (tuition, fee, room & board, book):

35k X 4.5 + 35k X 8.8 = 465.5k

You have about a little over a 1M for traveling, equipment expenses, court time, etc... This is the part that I am not sure.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
i'm referring to the total cost of running a program for a year. scholarships etc. if i'm incorrect, please provide a number.
I wasn't trying to call you out. Here's a real budget from 2012 at the University of Oregon, which runs a pretty average D1 tennis program in a Power 5 conference:

https://uoregon_ftp.sidearmsports.com/pages/athlfin/FY2012-Budget-Breakdown-Programs-Departments.pdf

Men's tennis team budget:



The women's tennis team budget:



So, for the men, it came in around $460k and for the women, around $600k. The difference is mostly in the scholarship money, as men are limited to 4.5 scholarships by the NCAA, while the women have 8.

Even accounting for cost increases from 2012 and "bigger" programs, I don't think we are looking at north of $750k, even for a top tennis program.

For example, disgraced coach Michael Center, who led the University of Texas men's team (which won the last NCAA team title) had a salary of $232,338. Let's say the Texas operating budget for men's tennis last year was double that of Oregon, $210k. And that cost of scholarships was $250k (verses Oregon's $159k in 2012). The total then would be around $692k.

There are a LOT of tennis programs out there that operate on a lot less than $500k or $700k.

I played for an NAIA school in the 90s. I think our coach made around $50k, and he had other duties aside from coaching. Our equipment budget was really low... like around $200 per person. We had a deal with Pro Kennex for racquets (we got them for around $30 per frame - I usually bought 3 per year) and Alpha for strings (no idea the cost, our strings as players were free). We also got one pair of shoes from the school, two shirts, two shorts, and a warm up jacket. For travel, we drove everywhere in vans. We usually stayed in the Embassy Suites because of the free breakfasts and evening reception, 3 to a room (4 rooms total for the team, plus coach). Daily meals were per diem at $15. We usually ate at buffets like CiCi's Pizza or cheap fast food like Taco Bell. For scholarships, I think I was getting around $2,000 per year (subsidized by additional academic aid and a part time school job). I'm sure the entire annual budget for our team was less than $100k... probable more like $75k!
 

silentkman

Professional
I wasn't trying to call you out. Here's a real budget from 2012 at the University of Oregon, which runs a pretty average D1 tennis program in a Power 5 conference:

https://uoregon_ftp.sidearmsports.com/pages/athlfin/FY2012-Budget-Breakdown-Programs-Departments.pdf

Men's tennis team budget:



The women's tennis team budget:



So, for the men, it came in around $460k and for the women, around $600k. The difference is mostly in the scholarship money, as men are limited to 4.5 scholarships by the NCAA, while the women have 8.

Even accounting for cost increases from 2012 and "bigger" programs, I don't think we are looking at north of $750k, even for a top tennis program.

For example, disgraced coach Michael Center, who led the University of Texas men's team (which won the last NCAA team title) had a salary of $232,338. Let's say the Texas operating budget for men's tennis last year was double that of Oregon, $210k. And that cost of scholarships was $250k (verses Oregon's $159k in 2012). The total then would be around $692k.

There are a LOT of tennis programs out there that operate on a lot less than $500k or $700k.

I played for an NAIA school in the 90s. I think our coach made around $50k, and he had other duties aside from coaching. Our equipment budget was really low... like around $200 per person. We had a deal with Pro Kennex for racquets (we got them for around $30 per frame - I usually bought 3 per year) and Alpha for strings (no idea the cost, our strings as players were free). We also got one pair of shoes from the school, two shirts, two shorts, and a warm up jacket. For travel, we drove everywhere in vans. We usually stayed in the Embassy Suites because of the free breakfasts and evening reception, 3 to a room (4 rooms total for the team, plus coach). Daily meals were per diem at $15. We usually ate at buffets like CiCi's Pizza or cheap fast food like Taco Bell. For scholarships, I think I was getting around $2,000 per year (subsidized by additional academic aid and a part time school job). I'm sure the entire annual budget for our team was less than $100k... probable more like $75k!
this is fascinating stuff. Thanks so much for the info. The Embassy Suites can handle three pretty easily. I'm sure you were going through shoes at a rapid pace. I guess a million is more than enough to run a top notch tennis program. It would be interesting to know how an AD feels about tennis as a program. The schools want to make money, and tennis does not. I don't know if tennis can be saved. ODU cut wrestling instead of tennis because it cost a million and tennis didn't provide enough cost savings. I was surprised that wrestling would cost much more tan tennis.
 

AlexSV

Rookie
Really unfortunate to see programs close. I'm amazed by the lack of spectators at tennis tournaments. In my area, tennis is free to watch except for the one Challengers tournament. Otherwise, you can watch all the collegiate and ITF tennis you want for free. No one takes advantage of this great opportunity.

The only people there besides a handful of random spectators like myself are coaches, pros who train some of the players, and some family.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
Really unfortunate to see programs close. I'm amazed by the lack of spectators at tennis tournaments. In my area, tennis is free to watch except for the one Challengers tournament. Otherwise, you can watch all the collegiate and ITF tennis you want for free. No one takes advantage of this great opportunity.

The only people there besides a handful of random spectators like myself are coaches, pros who train some of the players, and some family.
A few years back, there was a women's challenger event held at the tennis center across the street from where I work that was free. I went over and watched during every break I could get. There were two players ranked inside the top 100 in the world, as well as the current NCAA champion in the draw. I couldn't get any of my co-workers interested in checking it out. For several of the matches, including the ones where I saw the NCAA champ and a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist play, I was the only person watching! I remember thinking that the lower levels of professional tennis are a joyless and lonely world. You could be in the top 0.0001% of your profession in the entire world, and nobody cares. Certainly, not something I would wish for my son or daughter.

To be fair, not all challenger level events are the same. I attended the Vancouver Open in Canada a couple years ago, which is dual event with both men and women, in a beautiful setting that is marketed well. Ticket prices there were on par with a grounds pass at a bigger event like Indian Wells. The stands were pretty packed and I saw some very spirited tennis.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
The following article that references the recent decision made by the University of Minnesota provides an interesting perspective. > Mismanaged Money, Not Covid, Killed ‘Non-Revenue’ College Athletics
Great article! I feel like athletics - specifically football and basketball - have taken an outsized importance at many colleges.

My son is not an athlete, but he goes to a school that competes in NCAA D-II. They gave up their football program about 15 years ago because it was too expensive and it wasn't really generating enough revenue to be self-sustaining. Instead, they sunk the money saved from the football program into academic buildings and a new recreational center instead. The campus is beautiful and we were very impressed. They have a decent array of collegiate sports available, as well as a huge amount of funded clubs (200+ options, everything from stand-up comedy, sailing, to tennis). Of the varsity sports they do offer, they win an NCAA championship in one of them every 5 years or so. However, the athletic department doesn't dominate the conversation at the school, which seems like the way it should be.
 

andfor

Legend
A few years back, there was a women's challenger event held at the tennis center across the street from where I work that was free. I went over and watched during every break I could get. There were two players ranked inside the top 100 in the world, as well as the current NCAA champion in the draw. I couldn't get any of my co-workers interested in checking it out. For several of the matches, including the ones where I saw the NCAA champ and a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist play, I was the only person watching! I remember thinking that the lower levels of professional tennis are a joyless and lonely world. You could be in the top 0.0001% of your profession in the entire world, and nobody cares. Certainly, not something I would wish for my son or daughter.

To be fair, not all challenger level events are the same. I attended the Vancouver Open in Canada a couple years ago, which is dual event with both men and women, in a beautiful setting that is marketed well. Ticket prices there were on par with a grounds pass at a bigger event like Indian Wells. The stands were pretty packed and I saw some very spirited tennis.
I've been to some local challengers and futures held here locally and can tell you there's some attendance. Not big crowds, but way more than the 1 or 2 you experienced, a steam of spectators throughout the early rounds. For the semifinals and finals of those events somewhere between 200 or so fans maybe a little more. From what I've seen, generating those fans to show up has been driven by the tournament directors efforts. Phone calls, emails, social media, getting local sponsorships, holding pro-ams, kids clinics and player buffets with VIP access for the sponsors etc.

In the end the Futures and Challengers is the minor leagues, much like baseball it's not intended to be a final destination. If players can't make it to the top challenger or the ATP level, it's not intended to be a career sustaining place for the athlete to land. That said a little more prize money would help sustain those who at the Futures level have some ray of hope to actually climb the rankings, but that's a subject for a different thread.
 

bobleenov1963

Hall of Fame
I've been to some local challengers and futures held here locally and can tell you there's some attendance. Not big crowds, but way more than the 1 or 2 you experienced, a steam of spectators throughout the early rounds. For the semifinals and finals of those events somewhere between 200 or so fans maybe a little more. From what I've seen, generating those fans to show up has been driven by the tournament directors efforts. Phone calls, emails, social media, getting local sponsorships, holding pro-ams, kids clinics and player buffets with VIP access for the sponsors etc.

In the end the Futures and Challengers is the minor leagues, much like baseball it's not intended to be a final destination. If players can't make it to the top challenger or the ATP level, it's not intended to be a career sustaining place for the athlete to land. That said a little more prize money would help sustain those who at the Futures level have some ray of hope to actually climb the rankings, but that's a subject for a different thread.
I have never seen more than 50 fans at a challenger events and I have been to several of them. Back in 2016, I was at Sanchez tennis academy in Naples during spring break, and the academy also happened to host a Women ITF 25K BMW tournament. The winner of the event gets 25 points and $2,400 USD. There was a tennis player that stood out of my mind there, and her name is Arantxa Rus. She looks beautiful and is a really good tennis player (2008 AO Junior champion). There was another Canadian player at that tournament and her name is Sharon Finchman (not sure what happened to her). I was there from the first round on Monday until the final on Saturday. I do not recall seeing more than 50 people anytime throughout the tournament. I've seen the same at other similar ITF tournaments that were held in Charlotteville as recently as two years ago.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
I've been to some local challengers and futures held here locally and can tell you there's some attendance. Not big crowds, but way more than the 1 or 2 you experienced, a steam of spectators throughout the early rounds. For the semifinals and finals of those events somewhere between 200 or so fans maybe a little more. From what I've seen, generating those fans to show up has been driven by the tournament directors efforts. Phone calls, emails, social media, getting local sponsorships, holding pro-ams, kids clinics and player buffets with VIP access for the sponsors etc.
Yep, I think that the marketing of the tournament is everything. That women's challenger level event I wrote about only lasted that one year and there were almost no advertisements for it other than an email that the USTA sent out to members in our Section. I thought it was a real shame because people should have been really excited about the opportunity to see that level of tennis up close. Alison Riske was one of the two top 100 players in the draw and she made the final. Nicole Gibbs was the 2 time defending NCAA champ I watched.

I dug up an old story about that tournament and it mentions that the tournament directors pulled the event together in less than 90 days, so I guess they didn't have much time to plan and market it. The story also claims that 300 people were there for the semis, but less for the final. I was there sporadically Monday through Friday for the earlier rounds, and it was basically empty of any fans beyond a handful of passer-bys. Probably because it was during the work day and nobody really knew what was happening.

The Vancouver Open is much heavier advertised and has drawn some big names in the past. For example, Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova are past champions. When I last attended, Leylah Fernandez, one of the new Canadian players and a junior French Open champion (who just knocked of #31 seed Magda Linette in the 1st round of Roland Garros today) made it to the semifinals, so there was a lot of local Canadian interest. As I mentioned, the stands were packed, but I think that is different than most challengers.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
I have never seen more than 50 fans at a challenger events and I have been to several of them. Back in 2016, I was at Sanchez tennis academy in Naples during spring break, and the academy also happened to host a Women ITF 25K BMW tournament. The winner of the event gets 25 points and $2,400 USD. There was a tennis player that stood out of my mind there, and her name is Arantxa Rus. She looks beautiful and is a really good tennis player (2008 AO Junior champion). There was another Canadian player at that tournament and her name is Sharon Finchman (not sure what happened to her). I was there from the first round on Monday until the final on Saturday. I do not recall seeing more than 50 people anytime throughout the tournament. I've seen the same at other similar ITF tournaments that were held in Charlotteville as recently as two years ago.
Yep, these are probably the most typical examples of what the futures and challenger level attendance is like. It's really a shame to miss out on a great opportunity to see future stars. The really good players don't stay down at that level for long.

(I've heard of Rus! She almost beat Serena at the Western and Southern this year - I think she even had match points. Beautiful indeed.)
 
Last edited:

J_Ring

New User
They gave up their football program about 15 years ago... Instead, they sunk the money saved from the football program into academic buildings and a new recreational center instead.
When I was at college, our football coach complained he didn't have an indoor practice field and wanted $20 million or whatever it cost to build one. The University agreed but only if it was part of a recreational facility that would be able to be used by all the students. So we got an indoor football/soccer field, basketball-volleyball-badmintin courts, indoor running track, a swimming pool, and an exercise gym with free weights and cardio machines (bikes, stair machines). It was a definite win-win for everybody.
 
Top