FINALLY COMPETITION FOR THE USTA?
BRINGING BACK FUN AND EXCITEMENT TO TENNIS
By Rich Neher
USTA + TENNIS = YAWN
How many times have you seen me write appeal after appeal to USTA CEO Mike Dowse to make tennis more exciting and welcoming? Especially for beginners. While I oftentimes hear from USTA folks and/or from Dowse about some of our content, they never react to that particular appeal. I assume there are forces within the organization that tell him not to reply because "We're not in the fun business. What we're doing is serious. Just look at the US Open. That's serious business." That's why I keep saying the USTA should change its mission statement to "Growing the US Open."
For years they have tried to get more young people interested in tennis. Why were they not successful with that? Because young folks think tennis is more boring than sitting on the couch for 5 hours playing "Super Mario Odyssey." Just let that sink in, folks. And the USTA's answer is "Sip 'N Serve." Padding themselves on the shoulder when 13 people have joined that program.
According to the US Census Bureau, there are over 126 million people under the age of 30 in the USA (2019 data). Most of them reportedly find tennis boring and you don't see a problem with that? You are sitting in your board rooms and committee meetings, spider webs between you guys, and you think tennis doesn't have a problem? I'm sorry, people, but you all deserve to be fired. The USTA is totally top-heavy anyways. Let's fire half of them and start fresh.
I know, I know, it's not going to happen and there's nothing I can do. Or is there? You cannot tell me that there's no one out there able to do the job but 10 times better than the USTA?
I'm going to do it!
I'm currently creating a nationwide, for-profit, membership-based, company that will be 10 times better than the USTA. My vision: I'm in the entertainment business. Health and fitness are welcome byproducts.
We're in the entertainment business.
Health and fitness are welcome byproducts.
Do you guys know what it means to be entertaining in sports? No, I don't mean Nick Kyrgios stuff but close. Watch this ESPN video about the baseball team SAVANNAH BANANAS and you know what I mean.
The new owner/manager of the Savannah Bananas has realized how much they are in the entertainment business and succeeded in going from 200 spectators per home game to a sold-out full capacity of 4,000.
Can that be done in tennis? You betcha! I am in the process of starting a new business that has entertainment written all over it. Its name is CONGA SPORTS and every program launched will be fun and entertaining for participants and spectators. The first stage of our new website is completed. We'll expand the site as we expand the business.
The CONGA SPORTS mission is to offer an array of entertaining, exciting, and healthy racquet sports alternatives and programs in all 50 U.S. states for all players from beginners to advanced and for kids, adults, and seniors. We will work with tennis clubs, public facilities, tennis professionals and Conga League Coordinators nationwide to grow tennis in every zip code, every city, every state, every corner of the country!
The CONGA SPORTS philosophy values fun and innovative ways to attract, support, and retain millions of members in the exciting world of racquet sports, such as tennis and many other alternative sports. My vision is to become the largest provider of racquet sports programs in the United States by creating a unique community of players, providers, and fans.
CONGA SPORTS target customers are existing racquet sports players, everyone who is interested in trying racquet sports, and everyone who wants to live a healthy lifestyle where moving is necessary and fun is mandatory.
Moving is Necessary and Fun is Mandatory!
I am making CONGA SPORTS into a household name, a network every tennis and other racquet sports player will be eager to join and use for matches, learning, networking. We have one goal in mind: Growing tennis nationwide!
The organization will eventually cover many different racquet sports like pickleball, Spec Tennis, and POP Tennis. However, we'll start with the low-hanging fruit of tennis.
During year one, CONGA SPORTS will begin offering the entire spectrum of tennis programs for kids and adults in California, such as:
Leagues (World TeamTennis format but with CONGA "flavor")
Several specific types of Tournaments (proprietary)
Several specific types of team tennis and Championships (proprietary)
Other kinds of events (proprietary)
An online social network for members
Social meet-ups for members
By the end of year one, we will also offer a line of branded CONGA merchandise.
During year two, CONGA SPORTS will expand to other states in the Western USA, add pickleball, and work with local tennis providers to start offering proprietary CONGA TENNIS beginner classes. Those beginner classes will be unlike anything currently taught in the United States. I am setting up alliances with very engaged and innovative tennis-teaching professionals right now to make a combination of their unique methodologies the nucleus of CONGA TENNIS classes.
I am planning to have all 50 states covered by the end of year four. At this time, if everything goes according to my business plan, we'll have more than 150,000 members and be well situated to expand CONGA services in other areas of racquet sports. I think the ideas for CONGA programs will be so unique and successful in the coming years that the potential for growth is exponential and may not even end with two or three million members.
CONGA SPORTS will have a small headquarter office and only minimal staff for 5 necessary positions in year one. We won't have a never-ending number of committees to decide on future programs and initiatives. Our decision paths will be short, guided by an Advisory Board that is being established right now. Some of the distinguished members already on the Advisory Board are AJ Chabria, Ken DeHart, Gary Horvath, and Adeline Arjad Cook.
I am currently creating alliances, partnerships, and collaborations with influencers, tennis vendors, club owners, and web designers.
The official launch of CONGA SPORTS in Southern California will be on January 6, 2022.
Questions? Suggestions? Want to work with us? Please email me. Thank you.
Do you want to work with us? Let's talk! We're open to all kinds of alliances with one goal in mind: Growing tennis! Nationwide!
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