SBJ/20100830/SBJ In-Depth

USTA advertising campaign highlights community initiatives

Did you know attending the U.S. Open may be a charitable endeavor? While that may be a stretch, the U.S. Tennis Association, which owns and operates the tournament, is breaking an ad campaign this week designed to explain the importance of the tournament to the group’s mission of promoting tennis. The ad campaign will also focus in general on the group’s efforts.

Most of the USTA’s past ad campaigns have promoted events or encouraged people to play the sport. But this campaign, titled “Making Tennis Make a Difference,” promotes the USTA itself.

The ads revolve around the theme
“Making Tennis Make a Difference.”

One print ad featuring fans at the U.S. Open says: “You’re more than just a fan. While you’re watching the best compete … you’re also serving the community. Proceeds from your involvement allow over 220,000 youth annually to participate in National Junior Tennis and Learning, which seeks to develop the character of young people through tennis and education.”

Some of the other ads will look at the many tennis, educational and other programs the USTA funds.

The ads are directed primarily at the 750,000 USTA members, who internal surveys showed did not understand the link between the glitzy Open and grassroots programs, nor have a full appreciation of everything the USTA does. The Open, which generates a profit of more than $100 million, funds the USTA’s budget. Last year, the USTA directed $45 million to grassroots programs.

The 14 ads were created by New York ad agency Rivet. The ads will appear in print in tennis specialty publications like Tennis Magazine, as well as on broadcasts on each of the three U.S. Open broadcasters. The USTA is spending a mid to high six-figure amount on the campaign, but in full value it is worth more because the USTA did not pay for the TV spots, but received them as promotional inventory in the broadcast deals.

“The USTA is the major funder and driver of tennis programming and development in the United States,” Lucy Garvin, USTA president, said in a prepared statement. “The goal of the campaign is educational — to better build the connection between all the USTA does on behalf of the sport with our fans, participants and USTA members.”

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