The annual tennis participation tracking study has been released and for a third consecutive year, tennis participation in Canada has grown by at least 3%. Close to 5 million Canadians claim to have played the game in 2011, which represents an increase of 23% since 2008.
“We couldn’t be more proud of these results because that’s the reason we exist,” said Tennis Canada President and CEO Michael S. Downey. “This week, we’ll have the chance to celebrate this feat by cheering on our Davis Cup team as they compete in the World Group alongside the top 16 tennis countries in the world.”
The research, conducted nationally among nearly 1400 participants with different regional and demographic backgrounds, also shows an important increase in the tennis fan base with 60% of Canadians calling themselves tennis fans.
“Milos Raonic’s recent success, combined with the press coverage, the increased availability of tennis television broadcasts through Rogers Sportsnet, CBC, TSN, RDS and Radio-Canada as well as the country’s Davis Cup success are just a few of the factors that have contributed to these impressive results,” added Downey.
The tracking study revealed other interesting facts with regards to frequent player participation (those who play more than twice a month in the summer):
• Growth of 26% in 2011 to 1,2 million Canadians who play tennis frequently (4% of population).
• Overdeveloped within the 12-44 age group – the future of tennis bodes well.
• Overdeveloped among Canadian ethnicities – tennis aligns well with Canada’s diverse culture.
• British Columbia (6% of population) leads provinces followed by Quebec (5% of population).
• Nearly 50% of people surveyed believe tennis provides a good workout and tennis is now perceived by the majority as an exciting and cool sport that is becoming more popular among Canadians.
There were also impressive results for the tennis fan base in Canada:
• 33% consider themselves avid fans (up from 26% in 2010)
• 12% claim to follow Milos Raonic on the heels of his breakout year (compared to 30% for Roger Federer)
Tennis Canada will use these results to continue to develop the game in Canada. The tracking study clearly indicates that Canadian tennis players and fans want the federation to focus on increasing the number of children playing tennis, help develop world-class players and advocate for new indoor facilities, all initiatives for which Tennis Canada is already well-positioned.
“With high performance development programs in our three main markets (Montreal, Toronto and Vancouyer), Tennis Canada offers top coaching support for our up and coming players,” said Hatem McDadi, Tennis Canada’s Vice-President of Tennis Development. “Our progressive tennis approach with the right sized equipment and courts for kids has also proven to be very successful and is gaining ground. We also need to continue pushing for new facilities throughout the country as we are currently consulting on over 20 new indoor tennis facilities, which is significant in a country with only 120 indoor tennis facilities”