SportBusiness International has partnered with SMG Insight to conduct a survey of tennis fans in different regions around the world. The survey looked at how the age of tennis fans varies from region to region and also at the uplift in impressions and consideration that sponsors gain from their association with the sport.
1. Tennis fans by age/gender
The SMG Insight data underscores the appeal of tennis as a truly global sport and might be seen as showing how the axis of its appeal is changing as ‘The Asian Century’ progresses.
Our graph clearly illustrates the youthfulness of tennis’s audience in the ‘new’ tennis markets of China and Malaysia. This is in stark contrast to the established European and North American markets.
In the commercially-attractive 18-24 demographic, the US, UK and Germans score low, but there is a major spike in China, where the research covered a broader low-end age group.
Alongside this, the data shows that tennis appeals to fans of both genders in more or less equal measure.
2. UK impression of tennis majors
UK consumers have strong positive impressions of the world’s major tennis championships – even if they don’t follow the event.
The strength of the Wimbledon brand is evident in a 38.8 per cent positivity rating, although only 32.7 per cent of respondents said they followed the event and just 22 per cent said that they would recommend the event. This is to be expected from a UK sample group.
The pattern is repeated for each of the other three grand slam tournaments – the Australian, French and US Opens – where the general positive impression rating is higher than the number of respondents who actively follow each event. Also, in each case the connection between positive impression and recommendation is weak.
The difference in profile between the slams and season-ending World Tour Championships is marked, illustrating the difficulty of establishing a relatively new event as a ‘fifth major.’
3. Perception of sponsors
Tennis fans have a more positive impression of brands which sponsor the sport and are more likely to consider their products and services, according to SMG Insight’s study of attitudes to three brands carried out among UK consumers.
The data shows a significant uplift between tennis fans and the general population for both positive impression and consideration for Emirates, Peugeot and FedEx.
Globally, the study looked at perceptions of Emirates in the UK, US, Australia and China.
The greatest uplift was found in the US, where a positive impression rating of 8.1 per cent among all respondents was 14.6 per cent among tennis fans. Emirates, which sponsors a raft of highprofile ATP and WTA events, is also the official airline of the US Open. The highest positive impression levels were found in Australia with 37.2 per cent of general respondents and 48.5 per cent of tennis fans. Emirates is also a sponsor of the Australian Open.