April 27th, 2017
Tennis Steals Show at State Capital’s Florida Sports Day; Buy the ‘Play Tennis!’ License
Tennis was front and center at Florida Sports Day at the Capitol Courtyard on April 20, 2017 in Tallahassee, where USTA Florida volunteers and staff shared how the USTA Florida Section Foundation supports grassroots tennis throughout the state.
“Many sports were represented, so tennis being one of them was the right call,” said USTA Florida Section Foundation President Celia Rehm. “Particularly in view of H.B. 1375.”
The current “Play Tennis!” license plate, which supports grassroots tennis funding in Florida, could be affected by House Bill 1375. The bill becomes effective on Oct. 1, 2017, and requires at least 4,000 vehicles in Florida for a specialty plate to stay active in 2018.
“Tennis may have received the most exposure,” Rehm said. “The mascots loved our tennis racquets and balls and spent a lot of time at our booth. We were able to show where the revenue from the sale of the plate goes by tying in the community grants to the youth tennis equipment. We demonstrated the fun and healthy activity and support our grants provide to schools, public parks and recreation, communities, special populations, seniors and more.”
Legislators and others in attendance received handouts on how to apply for licence plates and additional foundation information.
“One young man said he was due for a renewal and said he was adding to our 4,000 goal,” Rehm said. “Another husband and wife interested in tennis for their kids said they were getting ‘Play Tennis!’ plates. A legislator took one of the cards for a legislator friend who plays tennis, and another legislator actually played tennis with a mascot.”
Sports is a $57 billion industry in Florida, and major-league mascots from many sports entities were on hand, including Jaxson DeVille (Jacksonville Jaguars), Captain Fear (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), T.D. (Miami Dolphins), Stuff (Orlando Magic), Burnie (Miami Heat), Stanley C. Panther (Florida Panthers), ThunderBug (Tampa Bay Lightning), Billy the Marlin (Miami Marlins), Raymond (Tampa Bay Rays) and Kingston (Orlando City Soccer).
USTA Florida Section Foundation grants, supported by revenue from the “Play Tennis!” specialty license plate, offer funding for youth tennis programs, adaptive tennis programs for those with special needs, community tennis programs in economically-challenged areas, along with facility assistance in the renovation, refurbishment and building of quality public tennis facilities. Since 2010, USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation have awarded more than $1,000,000 in grants for tennis programs serving people of all ages and abilities throughout Florida. For more information go to www.ustafloridafoundation.com.
To support Florida recreational grassroots tennis with a “Play Tennis!” plate go to www.ustafloridafoundation.com/play-tennis-florida-license-plate, and follow the One in 4000 campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/onein4000.