Golfsmith International Holdings, Inc. announced its strategy to add tennis centers in up to 60% of its stores in major tennis markets by summer 2005. Golfsmith recently began operating tennis centers in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Orlando and the San Francisco Bay Area under the Golfsmith Golf & Tennis brand. Its 2005 plans call for a continued roll out to its stores in Chicago and future locations in Florida. Most of these states fall into the United States Tennis Association's (USTA) top 10 regions for number of tennis players.
“Tennis is a natural complement to our national golf business,” said Jim Thompson, president and CEO of Golfsmith, a portfolio company of Atlantic Equity Partners III, L.P., a fund operated by First Atlantic Capital, Ltd. “Tennis consumers will benefit from all the best brands at guaranteed low prices, certified racquet stringing and Golfsmith's 38 years of quality customer service.”
Tennis participation in the U.S. has remained steady since 2000 at 24 million players, according to the “2003 U.S. Tennis Participation Study” that was commissioned by the USTA and the Tennis Industry Association (TIA). According to the findings, more than 50 percent of those surveyed are regular — or “continuing” — tennis players and are also likely to play golf.
“Golfsmith's entry into the U.S. tennis market is a positive development for the industry and the health of our game,” noted Jolyn de Boer, executive director of the TIA. “Golfsmith's decision reinforces our belief that tennis is gaining in popularity. We hope to leverage the strength of their national brand to highlight the sport of tennis and ultimately grow the game.”