A new strategy from the governing body of tennis in Britain could further help boost the games in Wales. That’s the view of Peter Drew, chief executive of our client, Tennis Wales, after the launch of a four-year plan by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).
The strategy for 2015-18 aims to deliver on the mission of getting “more people playing tennis more often” to address a decline in participation across Britain in recent years.
“It’s an exciting and bold strategy to address a serious issue across Britain,” said Peter Drew.
“In Wales, we have seen growth in all aspects of participation over recent years; but we still have more work to do, and this LTA strategy will apply throughout Britain, so could provide a further boost for us here.”
Under the new LTA leadership of Chief Executive Michael Downey and Chairman David Gregson along with contribution from many partners, the new plan, approved by the LTA Board has been designed first and foremost to reverse a 5% average annual decline in weekly and monthly players in Britain over the last five years.
The average participation decline in the 16-25 age group is even more marked at 9%. This is why the relatively new participation based mission is a “no choice” mandate for tennis in Great Britain.
The focus on tennis provision within clubs, community (led by parks) and education settings aims to make the sport more accessible and more inclusive.
Speaking about the new strategy, LTA Chief Executive Michael Downey said: “This plan is not intended to be a grand statement highlighted by eye-catching investment figures or lofty participation numbers. Instead we have to clearly map out how to build the foundation for sustainable growth with the help of our partners that will focus first on slowing, then stemming the decline in participation. The long term strategy will continue to evolve as more consumer insight is applied, results are assessed and comprehensive annual plans to support the longer term plan are formulated. We don’t pretend to have all the answers at this stage, and whilst the principles of the plan will remain, the detail will continue to evolve.”
A strong financial plan underpins the strategy with targeted use of funding. Participation spending, which includes marketing, is forecasted to increase by over 50% from £17million in 2014 to £26million in 2018. The significant £9million increase will be derived from a combination of new net revenue generation (£5million), high performance savings through focus (£2million) and a more efficient governing body (£2million).
Information on all aspects of tennis in Wales is available from Tennis Wales at 029 20 463335 or www.lta.org.uk/in-your-area/Wales/ and for regular updates follow Tennis Wales on Twitter @tenniswales