Like most sports in Australia over the past ten years, tennis has had a declining membership. Tennis has tried several methods to increase membership and clearly all have failed as our membership continues to decline.
With this in mind, Tennis Australia and its Member Associations have been developing a new membership model, which is not based on the membership fees of registered players. It is a model which is based on facilities (entities). This model is used overseas and it has been very successful.
Tennis Australia has funded a trial of the new membership model in South Australia. The trial is about to end its first year of operation and there has been a 25% increase in the number of registered players on the South Australian My Tennis database.
No individual player registrations are payable in Tennis SA. Obviously, Tennis SA has foregone income by changing its membership model and Tennis Australia has funded this shortfall. The South Australian trial has been closely monitored by the board of Tennis NSW.
What does this mean? Basically, there is no individual registration fee payable for players. The club or association is registered by paying a once-a-year fee based on the number of tennis courts it operates and its individual members automatically become members of the state tennis association and Tennis Australia.
The once-a-year fee paid by the club/association covers all the club/association insurance; that includes public liability, which is compulsory for most tennis centre leases; personal accident for each registered player; professional indemnity, directors and officers insurance (voluntary workers) for the committee and any employees.
What’s the catch? There isn’t a catch. The main benefit in the new model is that most clubs/associations will be better off financially. In some instances in South Australia, associations fees to Tennis SA have been reduced by more than 50%.
That means the club has extra funds to spend on their centres and/or their members. The requirement though is that clubs/associations must register all their members on My Tennis. My Tennis enables an effective method of communication, which is important for the sport.
What about New South Wales? At its April meeting, the Board of Tennis NSW resolved to be the second state to adopt a membership model based on facilities. This means that player registration fees will cease to exist in future.
Clubs/associations/court operators can affiliate to Tennis NSW by paying a once-a-year fee. Those clubs/associations/court operators will receive their insurance package and all of the individual members will become members of Tennis NSW and be eligible to play competitions and tournaments and be fully insured. The financial implications for our clubs/associations/court operators will be detailed in the information sessions across the state.
When does this start? The board has decided that the 2013-2014 year will be the first full year of operation. The board has also determined that an information and communication plan be developed and implemented over the next six months.
All Tennis NSW clubs/associations/court operators will receive invitations to information sessions where the new membership model will be explained and your questions answered. These information sessions will be held in regional centres as well as metropolitan venues.
The sessions will provide clubs/associations/court operators with indicative costs of the new model and the anticipated savings available as well as the other benefits of the new system.
What do I need to do? As a president, secretary, treasurer or committee member of a club/association/court operator member of Tennis NSW, we need to you to attend an information session. The information session will distribute details of the new model, seek your feedback and answer queries.
All Tennis NSW Community Tennis Officers (click here to view) will be taking part in the information sessions and are available to assist clubs/associations/court operators with their understanding of this new model for membership. Information sessions begin in May and will be communicated as wide as we possibly can to ensure our members are informed.
For more information on the new model including the associated materials and a testimonial video click here.