Toronto, September 8, 2014 – Tennis Canada announced Monday the results from a 2014 national research study on the health of the sport of tennis in Canada. The study shows that in the past 12 months, more than 6.5 million Canadians played tennis at least once. This is a 32% increase over 2012 when the last participation numbers were tracked. Popularity of the sport is also on the rise with 51% of Canadians saying they are either somewhat or very interested in the sport, up from 38% in 2012.
“We expected significant growth having not conducted this research for two years, so we are extremely pleased with these results which show that tennis continues to be on the rise in Canada at the grassroots level,” said Kelly D. Murumets, President and CEO, Tennis Canada. “There are several factors that can be attributed to this incredible development including the tremendous success of our athletes on the international stage, our two world-class tournaments, strong partnerships with provincial associations, private coaches and clubs, and dedicated volunteers and community leaders running programming across the country. The data shows that Canadians view tennis as a safe, family-friendly, affordable and accessible sport with many physical, social and emotional health benefits.”
Of the 6.5 million participants, 5.3 million play at least four times per year while nearly 1.7 million are considered frequent players who hit the courts at least twice per month during the summer. This is also a 32% increase in frequent players when compared to the 2012 report.
Also showing double digit growth is participation and interest amongst youth. More than 600,000 children between the ages of 6-11 picked up a racquet in the last year. More than half of those children played at least four times in that 12-month span; this is an increase of more than 80% for that age group. The study also shows that the majority of the new fan interest in the sport overall is coming from a younger demographic.
Participation based on region is fairly proportional to population, with British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec leading the way. Overall interest growth remains steady across the country, with the most significant rise coming out of the Maritime Provinces where fan engagement with the sport has tripled over the past two years. With three new facilities having opened on the East Coast in Fredericton, Truro and Dartmouth over the past 18 months, in addition to Halifax playing host to the upcoming Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Play-Off tie, Atlantic Canada is emerging as an important market for tennis in the country.
The study was conducted among 3800 Canadians from across the country by Charlton Strategic Research Inc. and this assessment of both participation and fan interest will continue on an annual basis moving forward.