April 15th, 2015

Game Changer Tennis Blog: XGLOsive Shines Black Light on Millennials

General News Adult Tennis News Game Changer

Millennials… How do we attract them, and get them to play tennis? That’s the mystery everyone is trying to solve, and for good reason.

Goldman Sachs paints a pretty clear picture of why the Millennial generation is so important (click on the infographic image below for the full presentation):

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The focus on health and wellness seems to be a solid fit for tennis. And, more importantly, this younger generation’s desire for access, not ownership, is a good fit for community tennis programs — no club membership fees, open access, less “establishment” feel.

So, why then aren’t more Millennials playing our sport?

One answer to that question might be under a black-lit court in Orlando on a Friday night.

That’s when the team at XGLOsive turns tennis courts into something decidedly young and appealing.  It’s loud, dark, and open to everyone.  It’s everything tennis is not supposed to be while still being social, fun, and a great workout.  And that’s exactly what young adults love about it.

Jason Cordova is a young tennis teaching pro who organizes XGLOsive events in the Orlando area, and came up with the idea for combining the two things he and his friends did socially on a regular basis.

“We either participated in the many competitive team sports leagues — like tennis, flag football, softball, basketball — or we simply went out at night to different parties or night clubs,” he said. “XGLOsive brings you the mix of both.”

XGLOsive will be part of a USTA Florida “Social Sets Orlando” event for Millennial-age players in May in Orlando.

“Just seeing an amazed look on everyone’s face when they walked onto our blacklight court with our hip hop club music playing, motivated me even more to take this to another level,” Cordova says. “We are just finishing-up fabricating our second XGLOsive court set up. We are planning to travel and set up at other tennis facilities and will be able to handle double the amount of participants at new locations.”

XGLOsive is not the only game changer attracting a younger demographic to our sport. Other answers to the Millennial questions are out there, and also not where you might not expect to find them.

For example, Special Olympics Florida has partnered with USTA Florida on a new 30-Love service initiative. The idea behind the project is to offer college fraternities the opportunity to get on court as volunteers FIRST.  The students help host play opportunities for Special Olympics athletes, using modified equipment.

This approach fulfills the strong desire for Millennials to serve their communities AND it introduces them to the game of tennis in a way that is fun and easy to play.

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These two game changers tell us a lot about the importance of exploring different ways to share the game of tennis to attract new players.

In general, the tennis community must be more welcoming and supportive. We must all decide whether we are most interested in developing the next Pete Sampras, or if we are more concerned about fostering relationships and developing players who enjoy the game.

The Millennial generation is too large of a consumer base to ignore, and it’s time we start tailoring how we engage offer this sport to better fit their wants and needs.

What is your take on getting more Millennials (generally people under age 30) involved in tennis? Share in the comment section below.

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