Tennis is way too expensive to be a broad U.S. sport..

edge

Banned
ATP tennis will never have a broad base representation of U.S. players and hence will never be a broadly followed sport in the USA. Basketball, football, baseball and even soccer development is supported by communities and schools. These athletes are sponsored school systems, continuing through colleges. Tennis players need to pay for court time in the winter. Tennis is also a skill sport which requires countless hours with an instructor which cost betweeen $75-120 per hour in the northeast. Entering local USTA tournamnet cost $65, which rises every other year. Now if your good enough to be highly ranked in your section, you can qualify for Nationals which cost oodles of $$$ for travel flights, hotel rooms and restaurants and additional $75 -100 entry fees. Only middle class or wealthy families can support a gifted player from the ages of 6 to 18 through the monetary demands of professional tennis development. The ascent of the Williams sistas into the pro game is an anomaly. In the U.S., professional player will typically come from the well to do. I don't see anything that the USTA will nor can do to broaden the sport.
 

Exile

Professional
There is enough hype on the equipment to use now that takes up of all the costs.
(decent)rackets cost from 49.99 to 300+
Strings range from $5-$50+. Multiply that by the number of rackets you own and how many times you need to restring, that ALONE takes 50-70% of tennis expenses.

To continue, decent coaches are $10-120+ an hour. Half the time they just teach you crap you could learn online or from recording yourself. Really you just need a ball machine/balls, a camcorder, and a friend who knows what to do, or a computer with internet access.

The entry fees are absurd, not to mention the USTA membership renewal for us 1 year cheap skates =).

I've been playing since I was 8 but I know due to my financial standing I could almost never turn pro unless i find a miracle in HS for my college year(thank god I have a comp sci major to fall back on with a kinesiology minor for added backup)

There are just too many expenses in tennis, but if you can be successful then it really doesn't matter, its just too difficult to deal with the absurd prices of equip. and fees.
 
Maybe to get to the pro level. I grew up in a lower middle class family. I started with an old, beatup garage-sale racket. I made #1 on my HS team and got offered 3 scholarships to play Div 2 tennis. It's ironic--I took an academic scholarship instead to a Div 1 school and didn't play tennis. If I'd have really been smart, I'd have gotten 4 years of good coaching and still have gotten a degree.
 

VictorS.

Professional
I don't think anything can replace proper instruction in any sport. I played both basketball and tennis growing up. And I honestly cannot stress how important it was to learn the basic fundamentals properly. So many kids these days, especially in basketball, really don't know how to play the game properly. With the immense success of and1 street ball, there seems to be a shift away from proper fundamentals. For example, shooting percentages are way down now. In addition, players are reluctant to pass the ball and quick to take bad shots. I could go on and on....but I don't want to put anybody to sleep.

You look at the countries that are producing great tennis players (ie spain, argentina). I bet you anything guys like nadal, nalbandian, and coria all received top notch instruction. If anything I think the united states right now is lagging behind in sports instruction. You look at the success many european teams are having against are basketball teams. All these teams play the game of basketball properly..."the right way" so to speak. In addition, our talent pool in tennis has never been so shallow.
 

Z-Man

Professional
I'll bet tennis is expensive where you guys live, but here in the southeast, you can play all day all year for free on public hard courts. For $250, your whole family can play on clay all year. I'll bet it's much more expensive in European countries, and yet why do they kick our butts while our free public courts yield so few pros? It's all coaching and access to competition. Also, our best athletes choose other sports.

Let me be bold here and suggest another reason as to why American tennis is dying. Americans in general are so fat and out of shape that not that many of us can play tennis anymore. Golf is so much easier for guys who can no longer see their d1cks.
 

raftermania

Banned
Tennis is like the world of drugs.

The Story of Joe SixPack:
  • First your buddy gives you a sample of what tennis is like with one of his racquets.
  • Now that he has got you interested, you go to your local Walmart and buy a cheap stick
  • You're now officially addicted to Tennis
  • You gain tolerance to the sport and need more stimulation to get the same satisfaction
  • You tell your buddy that the Walmart racquet is not doing the trick anymore, you aren't winning enough matches
  • He then refers you to the local drug lord er I mean tennis pro shop
  • At the pro shop, the salesman introduces you to new, more expensive and sophisticated racquets
  • Persuaded that these more expensive racquets will boost your game, you give in, the high you will get is unparallelled
  • Telling the pro shop salesman that's all you need, he then laughs in your face telling you that you'll be back, followed by a sinister laugh
  • Now equiped with your new racquet you hit up your community courts to get your fix
  • Unfortunately your game has developed so much that you have now outclassed the locals
  • Your buddy then refers you to the local country club for better competition
  • You go to visit the country club and find yourself in heaven
  • After touring the facilities: the clay courts, the grass courts, the hard courts, the spa, and the higher leveled players - you find yourself in a state of sensory overload
  • The tour concludes at the courtesy desk where you are introduced to the fee schedule, at first sight, your heart stops for several moments
  • You take the pamphlet home and after thorough contemplation, you succumb, you sell your car and your child's dog
  • You are now a full-fledged country club member, one of the greatest highs you can get
  • The competition that you dreamt of is finally at your feet, you relish the intense rallies, 100 mph serves and the smell of a freshly openned can of tennis balls.
  • Soon after your membership, other members begin to comment on your attire, that old high-school gym shirt and basketball sneakers just doesn't cut it around there
  • You then return to the pro shop salesman on your hands and knees, you tell him you need more, more, more!!!
  • The salesman laughs in your face and shows you the nicest tennis shoes you've ever seen; you buy them
  • He then details the strict dress code of the country club and throws a number of collared shirts, vests, shorts and a warm-up suit on your bill.
  • He also suggests: Several extra racquets, an oversized tennis bag, tennis balls, strings, a stringing machine, wristbands, headbands, hats, overgrips, ball hopper, instructional videos and books and several other necessary items - you oblige
  • Now in tears, you grudgingly give your nearly maxed out credit card to the shop owner to his devilish delight
  • You've now sold your house, you're wife and family has left you and you live at the YMCA

Kids, now that you have heard the depressing story of Joe SixPack, please just say NO to Tennis

If this scenario sounds similar to you or a loved one, do not hesitate to contact me, I run the TAA or Tennis Addicts Annonymous. I can help you get out of tennis and back on your feet in my short 12 step program. To begin you must pass the first step, admitting you are addicted to tennis.

Tennis Addiction is a serious mental health issue, don't take it lightly, act now and stop it in it's tracks. I accept Mastercard, Visa and Debit. Thank you and good luck.

[size=-2]*Individual results may vary, satisfaction is not guaranteed. The truth is you are stuck in tennis forever, mwahahaha[/size]
 

Deuce

Banned
It would seem to me that golf is more expensive than is tennis...

A brief comparison:

Playing the game: Tennis can be played on free public courts. Golf can be played for free on public courses, as well - but not legally... and so, golf is more expensive to play.

Equipment: In tennis, one can get by with one racquet. But let's say two racquets, for argument's sake. Two racquets =, say... $300. In golf, one cannot get by with one club. Nor with two. Or three, or four... to play the game as it is meant to be played, one requires at least 10 golf clubs. 12 is better. I'm not sure of the prices of golf clubs, but a set of 10 or 12 clubs will surely cost far, far more than the $300 spent on two tennis racquets, the quality being equal.

Of course, there are strings to factor in with tennis. And stringing costs. Still, I think the set of golf clubs costs more - even in the long run. (Especially because the average golfer buys a new putter every 3 months or so...)

Shoes: Ok - tennis shoes cost more - simply because they wear out and need to be replaced. Ever see golf shoes wear out from walking on grass? Of course, the tennis player can save money here by playing on grass... but then the grass courts are likely to cost more to play on...

Balls are about the same cost for both sports, as is coaching/lessons, I assume.

So, overall, I think golf costs more than tennis does - perhaps not incredibly more, but significantly more.

When we're talking about kids, even sports like football and hockey probably cost more than tennis. Think of all the equipment they outgrow. Plus the cost of joining leagues, etc. Better off with baseball and basketball, where the equipment costs are far less.
 

johnmcc516

Semi-Pro
The single most expensive thing in tennis is getting a racquet restrung. I don't have a stringer machine and it costs $25 a racquet.
 

johnmcc516

Semi-Pro
paulfreda said:
Golf is much much more expensive than tennis unless your father is a greenskeeper at a public course IMHO

I agree with you on this point. To play golf you have to either pay greens fees or a monthly membership.
 
The single overriding cause, other than lousy weather for 4 months in the populous north, for the lack of popularity among top athletes in the US is that a grand total of maybe 15 players can hope to even be in main draws of ATP events! And less than 10 can earn what a 4th starter or bench warmenr in team sports does. Case closed.
Unless one has the game in one's genes, an athelte goes elsewhere in the States. Except for few school players in mid summer, I never see 15 to 30 year olds on public courts. As recent as the 80's there were lines to get an hour of court time becuase of charismatic male stars and rivlaries. Now even Roger Federer gets almost no US media play; yes, Kournikova even in 2005 gets more media play than does Federer.
 

spirit

Rookie
raftermania said:
Tennis is like the world of drugs.

The Story of Joe SixPack:
  • You're now officially addicted to Tennis
  • You gain tolerance to the sport and need more stimulation to get the same satisfaction ...
  • The tour concludes at the courtesy desk where you are introduced to the fee schedule, at first sight, your heart stops for several moments
  • You take the pamphlet home and after thorough contemplation,

...

[size=-2]*Individual results may vary, satisfaction is not guaranteed. The truth is you are stuck in tennis forever, mwahahaha[/size]
LOL. I'm at about this stage in the process.
 

Marius_Hancu

Talk Tennis Guru
Deuce said:
It would seem to me that golf is more expensive than is tennis ...
Agree with you.

But it's probably more popular with people with money, because of its status symbol and the connectivity it's perceived to help.

And you don't have to work this hard physically for being OK at it.
 

fan_of_reds

New User
jaap deboeck said:
...Except for few school players in mid summer, I never see 15 to 30 year olds on public courts. As recent as the 80's there were lines to get an hour of court time becuase of charismatic male stars and rivlaries...QUOTE]


I don't know where you are, but here (in Pennsylvania) the courts are always active with 15-30 year olds. In fact, during the summer (and really, weather permitting, all the way through October or November) we have an informal league with players from age 14 to 70...and we are constantly adding people! In fact (as one of those 15-30 year old males you mentioned) I didn't even decide to play tennis until my senior year of college...(this year)...and I only decided to go out for the team because I've played two years in this mixed league and finally feel confident that I know enough of the game to give it a try.
 

gmlasam

Hall of Fame
johnmcc516 said:
The single most expensive thing in tennis is getting a racquet restrung. I don't have a stringer machine and it costs $25 a racquet.
An investment on a starting out stringer machine and putting time and effort to learn how to string will solve that problem. The stringer will also pay for it self after 4 to 5 string jobs. :)
 

tennissavy

Hall of Fame
You think tennis is expensive? Well, yeah it is if taking private lessons, playing indoors in bad weather... but figure skating takes the cake. tennis racquets- wait until the wholesalers liquidate and buy yourself a top of the line, cream of the crop racquet for $50 now. Buy custom made figure skates- $575-$800+, blades are sold seperately $350+, lessons are usually no less than 30 minutes - $30, costumes are ridiculous -hundreds to thousands each costume...try replacing all equipment and costumes about every year or so as the little ones are growing! It costs a lot more than tennis that's for sure.
 

Gus

New User
Golf is way more expensive than tennis- at least in the US. I am a greenkeeper and GM at a public course in So Cal and my kids play tennis. I discourage talk of golf and skiing whenever possible. Sad, but those past times were affordable when I was a kid but no longer. No shortage of free courts in So Cal. or other kids to play with. Coached group sessions with quality open tournament level kids $15 for 1.5 hours Last year's racquets are affordable to all, and a klippermate keeps the strings cheap. SCTA tournaments are relatively cheap $25-30.

Heck, even team sports like soccer and football are extremely expensive. At least with tennis there is a cheap route available. Kids sports is a huge industry in the US.

PS- There are loads of juniors in SoCal from all backgrounds playing good tennis.
 

tennisToad

New User
Hey since we are bashing about the cost of tennis and U.S. acceptance...

The Usta makes so much $$$$ off of the U.S. Open and other u.s. tournaments (davis cup)(fed cup) etc that they could probably afford to give every member a free hour lesson a week from a usta pro. They do absolutely nothing for public tennis in the northeast that I can tell. If you want to join a league or god forbid a tournament (that if you lose your out) it is between $45 and $100 and unlike golf tournaments they aren't giving away beer and hot-dogs. I haven't read or seen anything about them helping public courts around where I live. Hell we would die for some lighted courts in my hometown. There are 60,000 people in my town and only 3 good public courts in the town(good meaning no less than 4 cracks per court). But there are 4 good public golf courses.(of course you have to pay to play on them but comeone courts are smaller) Some dedicated guys run a beginners program every year and they get like 25-35 people and the usta doesn't help or contrib at all. We had a fed cup match two years ago in our area, The usta paid the william sisters like a million dollars to beat up on some former soviet rebublic for the opening weekend of the Tennis channel. But did they dump any of that money into public tennis. Not that I've ever noticed.. Maybe it's different in new-haven or florida.
The usta seems to not care about promoting tennis to anyone who can't afford to play and pay at a Club. We have nice usta banners at our tennis club.
Oh and I just love the discounts we usta members get for the open and other events..hell this year we can get 2nd teir seats in A.A stadium instead of just 10kfeet seats and no cost discount. But then again anyone who loves tennis doesn't waste their time in that stadium anyways..

Man this is fun I could rip the Usta all day long. Now lets talk about how they routinely screw over good u.s. players.
 
F

Free_Martha

Guest
Money is a non-issue because skiing, football, and hockey among other sports are more expensive than tennis.
 

Aykhan Mammadov

Hall of Fame
To post No 1.

I'm not in USA. I agree that tennis is comparatively expensive sport. Even if there is some kind of cheap equipment, but courts themselves are expensive things. So there is not way to make it cheaper than running or jumping. Also I didn't understand do u mean 120$ for instructor per hour ? It is very expensive, maybe if Lundgren or Gilbert or somebody else ??? U don't need such an instructor if u are not going to become PRO. 10-15-20 $ per hour is sufficient for yr instructor.

The last thing - if tennis is expensive even in USA - one of richest countries in the world - then what to do others ?
 

fastdunn

Legend
#1 reason why it was too expensive to fostering world class tennis player in developing
nations, was of course the money. And the largest percetange of that cost used to be,
believe it or not, the tennis balls. That was the reason about 10 years ago, I'm not
sure about now. They have he tennis court. The coaching was dirt cheap.
The cost of providing fresh tennis balls was the highest.

The relative cost of tennis balls may be lower now compared to 10 years ago.
But I think Tennis is still the sport which we spend the most money on balls to play with.
How many balls they consume every 4 (or 8?) games in pro tour?
 

farwellbooth

New User
I recently got into tennis b/c it's a lot cheaper than the other sports I do. With windsurfing a board is a grand (nice to have more than one), sails are 500 and you need several, wetsuits, masts, boom, on and on and on. I want to learn to kite board and that's just a whole nother can of financial worms. And skiing with the cost of fuel of just getting to the mountains. I'm in Portland, OR and there are beautiful public courts always available. Yes I have to pay in the winter but for 8 bucks and can play 2.5 hours of coed mixers at a public court. The best 8 bucks I ever spend.

I don't think tennis is marketed very well?! Unfortunately I didn't start until I was 30 and really had no clue how challenging and fun it is. When younger I was busy windsurfing, skiing, doing other things I perceived to be as more cool. It just looked boring. Now I'm paying the price!!!!
 

MegacedU

Professional
Here in the northeast where you have to buy court time 7 months out of the year it's very expensive. To have a designated time slot at a club at a certain time will cost you upwards of 1000 dollars. And that's no typo one thousand. That's expensive for anyone. If you're not a member at the club, it'll cost you 50 dollars. For an hour.

But hey it's only money and you only go around once - live it up.

EDIT* - Btw, exile - your signature made me want to cry. Andy Roddick is the reason people watch tennis on tv. Let's face is, Fed is just not as fun to watch.
 

gmlasam

Hall of Fame
MegacedU said:
Here in the northeast where you have to buy court time 7 months out of the year it's very expensive. To have a designated time slot at a club at a certain time will cost you upwards of 1000 dollars. And that's no typo one thousand. That's expensive for anyone. If you're not a member at the club, it'll cost you 50 dollars. For an hour.

But hey it's only money and you only go around once - live it up.

EDIT* - Btw, exile - your signature made me want to cry. Andy Roddick is the reason people watch tennis on tv. Let's face is, Fed is just not as fun to watch.
How much do you pay for that seven month membership if you dont mind me asking?
 

FiveO

Hall of Fame
MegacedU hit the nail on the head. Unless you are in the warm weather areas of this country, tennis can be prohibitively expensive to play year round. At least in NY, after the late 70's early 80's tennis boom, a decade in which they were built more indoor courts, those facilities are now being converted into multi-use facilities (health clubs, indoor soccer, deck hockey), where the operators can generate more dollars per/hr/sq ft.. In the worst case scenario they've actually torn down some indoor clubs to exploit the land they sat on, in a booming seller's real estate market. Indoor time in NY is becoming more expensive and less available.
 

mido

Rookie
It costs well over $1,500 a month (in Florida) to support a 13-year-old junior who plays local, sectional and national tournaments weekly.
Tennis academy about 4.5 hours daily, fitness, private lessons @ $50/hr, three racquets, new shoes every three weeks, 2-3 restringings a week, clothing, tournaments entries from $35-$90 per event every week, several hotel nights a month, gas, air tickets, car rental, etc.
 

gmlasam

Hall of Fame
Wow. I didn't realize that tennis is that expensive at the East Coast. I guess Californians take thier tennis for granted as we have tons of public tennis courts to play for free ;)
 

mido

Rookie
Court time, public or club, is irrelevant.
If you pay $50-60/hr for private lesson or $1,000/ month for junior academy (or $1,000 a week at Bollettieri Tennis Academy) that includes court time.
 

Andy Hewitt

Professional
gmlasam said:
Wow. I didn't realize that tennis is that expensive at the East Coast. I guess Californians take thier tennis for granted as we have tons of public tennis courts to play for free ;)
Same here in Chicago, just played today. Nice weather :D
 

tom-selleck

Professional
gmlasam said:
An investment on a starting out stringer machine and putting time and effort to learn how to string will solve that problem. The stringer will also pay for it self after 4 to 5 string jobs. :)
what type of stringing machine??? the ones sold here on TW seem alot more expensive... maybe pay for themselves over 20 stringings... they looked more $400 and up
 

MegacedU

Professional
gmlasam - you pay by the year. Unfortunately the year ends in August. So at my club, it's $145 for the year. But if I bought one now, I'd have to renew it in August. Pointless. So basically you get screwed over. BUT even if you have a membership, you still pay the $28 court fee in addition! Plus if you want to play with a non member, then it's ten dollars extra. It's ridiculous. I'm a junior player, so my membership is less and I can't really complain because I'm not the one paying for it. But yeah I feel guilty sometimes for the amount of money that is spent on tennis.
 

katarddx

Semi-Pro
at least in USA we can play in parks for free...In MODT of Europe you have to club member and pay enormous fees...If you think here is expensive...Not saying it is not, but cosider everything i would say it is O.K.
 
How often do you see CEOs of companys playing tennis....... like never.How often do you see them playing golf ......... everyday. tennis also relies on someone eles being on the other side of the net and being able to get the ball back consistantly.
 

gmlasam

Hall of Fame
schaefferm46 said:
How often do you see CEOs of companys playing tennis....... like never.How often do you see them playing golf ......... everyday. tennis also relies on someone eles being on the other side of the net and being able to get the ball back consistantly.
Personally, I know of CEOs that do play tennis regularly, much more than they play golf. You can't generalize that all CEOs only play golf. Everyone has diferent interest in sports they play regardless where they are in socio-economic status. Let us not generalize.
 

bee

Semi-Pro
Down here in The South we play year round. There's nice city-owned courts available for small fees ($6.00 for a couple of hours). My favorite place to play is right at my apartment court. Yep, the apartment where I live has a really good quality hard court and it's almost always available. Most folks are inside watching the tube or playing video games, I suppose.
 

tennissavy

Hall of Fame
bee said:
Down here in The South we play year round. There's nice city-owned courts available for small fees ($6.00 for a couple of hours). My favorite place to play is right at my apartment court. Yep, the apartment where I live has a really good quality hard court and it's almost always available. Most folks are inside watching the tube or playing video games, I suppose.
I think you hit the nail on the head. Most people are sitting home getting fat. I don't have too many people with whom to play against in my area. The public courts are deserted and on the odd occasion I find someone, he is usually too fat to compete against me. It's depressing how this country is going.
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
It is really like any other one-on-one sport. Look at boxing and wrestling. Yes, wrestling is funded by schools, but not many student attempt to participate. With that in mind, tennis is not doing too bad. I do believe cost is a factor, because it certainly affects the level of my participation, but I don't believe it is the ultimate limiting factor.
 

MegacedU

Professional
gmlasam said:
Personally, I know of CEOs that do play tennis regularly, much more than they play golf. You can't generalize that all CEOs only play golf. Everyone has diferent interest in sports they play regardless where they are in socio-economic status. Let us not generalize.
I agree - here everybody who's somebody plays tennis. Like if you have money, they know you at the country/tennis club. But it could be because the golf courts are all MUD 9 months out of the year.
 
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