There is a possibility that if tennis does not pick up the numbers in who plays the sport in Britain regularly, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) might have a deduction in their funding by Sport England. Funding for all sports in Britain comes from Sport England. They are a governing body who funds and invests money into sports in an attempt to get more Britons being proactive. However, they are now revaluating whether to continue investing the amount they do into the LTA or to look for other ways to invest in tennis.
Sport England’s director, Phil Smith, has said that he is encouraged with the changes the LTA have already made but it is vital to get the participation numbers up if the amount of investment is going to stay the same. The LTA plan on using this year’s summer to try and drive participation into British tennis as in only one week’s time, the British Grand Slam beings, the Wimbledon Championships.
Wimbledon is watched by hundreds of thousands of people each year around the world and whenever it is on, the interest in British tennis is higher than ever. The fact that Great Britain finally have someone, known as Andy Murray, who can challenge the big names for the Wimbledon title boost the interest even more making the participation in British tennis rise even further, but will it rise high enough?
Simon Long, the LTA’s chief commercial officer, has revealed, “Over the next few months, we are delivering a series of promotional events around the country to encourage people to play tennis. At the centre of this activity is a marketing campaign which focuses on personal experiences by imagining what tennis means to different people. We are also working with a range of partners from the commercial sector, public sector and through our club network to deliver the right offers to people interested in playing tennis to encourage them to get involved in our sport.”
At the end of last year, Sport England reduced the funding in British tennis from £24.5 million to £17.4 million. A recent survey revealed that British tennis has had an increase in the amount of over 16s playing it by 0.95% in the last year (April 2012 – April 2013). The current number of people playing British tennis in this survey was 424,300 and the LTA have said they can raise that to 450,000 by December and if not, they are likely to have a deduction in the investment.
The survey showed that Swimming is the most popular sport in England whilst the second most popular, Football, has had a deep decline in the past year. Running and Cycling have dropped ever so slightly but both overtake Football in the survey taken from April 2012 – April 2013. Swimming, Football, Running and Cycling are by far the biggest sports in England followed by Tennis, with around a quarter of Cycling’s population. However, Tennis is still almost double Cricket and Rugby’s population.
Author Daniel Foster.
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