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Tennis Marketing: Blame It On the Night

“I often think the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day” ~Vincent Van Gogh

About a year ago, we were presented with a challenge: Host a Hispanic Family Festival, promoted by Univision, in Miami in July. 

For those of you who haven’t been to Miami (or anywhere in Florida) in July, all you need to know is that it’s ridiculously hot, it’s probably going to rain in the afternoon, and there are a ton of festivals and events every weekend. Our best option was to host the event early in the morning or later at night. We took a chance and decided to hold it at night. It was one of the most successful events we have ever done, with more than 200 attendees.

I know what you are thinking: “That’s Miami, where people love to go out at night.”

Fast-forward to this past April. We worked with another partner facility — this time in Altamonte Springs — to host a free family event the Saturday night before Easter. Some questioned whether families would attend an event at night, especially on a holiday weekend. The facility was willing to risk it, and it paid off big time. The event sold out. More than 200 people came out — most had never been there, and many had never touched a racquet before.

I’ve been to (and sponsored) a number of family events during the last five years. Very few of them are ever held at night. But, as Van Gogh so astutely observed, the night is often more alive than the day.

Night events provide a good option to bring in new participants, and not just because of Florida weather patterns:

  1. Our culture has changed. Families are ok with kids staying out later, especially on the weekend and during the summer.
  2. Fewer distractions. Adults have a lot of things they have to do during the day — trying to fit tennis in at a convenient time is nearly impossible on a weekend.
  3. Less competition. Most youth sports happen during the weeknights or early on a Saturday or Sunday. Very few sports offer the option to play on a Saturday night.

Marketing tennis is all about meeting consumer needs AND separating yourself from the pack. Night events are one way you can achieve both. Give it a try. If it doesn’t work, you can always blame it on the night.

This story originally appeared in the July/August issue of TENNIS magazine.

 

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