On March 14, Jon Muir received the 2009 Tennis News Person of the Year Award from Tennis News Publisher Bob Larson and Steve Bellamy on Center Court of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden during the BNP Paribas Open. Prior to the ceremony, Muir also received a congrats from Wilson’s top player Roger Federer.
Jon Muir, the 2009-10 president of the Tennis Industry Association, and worldwide general manager of Wilson Racquet Division was named the Tennis News 2009 Person of the Year.
Through his leadership the TIA is evolving as an industry organization to establish industry economic objectives, an increased focus on creating frequent players/consumers for the sport, and establishing clearer communications and tools that can be utilized throughout the industry.
In 2009, the TIA held two “summit” meetings with representatives from all the major organizations in the industry to discuss concerns and develop further their focus in the following areas:
* Economic Health: TIA is embarking to measure the total size of the tennis industry to include all stakeholders and gather other key economic barometers so they can focus more on big picture goals to increase the total revenue size and economic impact of the industry, including understanding total employment that is driven by the tennis industry.
* Communication & Awareness: The TIA is building & consolidating its information into one single website (www.tennisindustry.org) that will allow all stakeholders to access basic research information, key facts & updates, and general messaging information for the sport and industry that everyone can utilize to further drive interest in tennis and allow everyone to leverage shared information to drive potential non-endemic revenues into our industry.
* Frequent Players: While participation now exceeds 30 million total players and tennis is the fastest growing traditional sport in America, the TIA must focus additional efforts to translate this into more frequent consumers for our sport and industry. There are currently 5.4 million frequent players, but as Muir has stated if we can just achieve a 5% increase each year, we will exceed 9 million frequent players by 2020 and this would have a substantially positive economic impact on our industry and sport – over the next 10 years – and all stakeholders from retailers to tennis professionals, membership to events, media to manufacturers will have a dramatically larger economic pie to share in – that benefits all.
Muir has committed that the industry will begin to see the TIA evolve in 2010 to support these focus areas while still maintaining its strong research and overall participation efforts with the USTA.
One other tool of interest that the TIA has been working on is its “PlayTennis” widget concept that may provide a powerful type of tennis search engine pathway tool to everyone in the industry that helps players find local facilities, certified tennis professionals, quickstart programs, and other potential simple search filters that will support new and re-joining players finding the appropriate pathway to becoming a frequent player in the sport. In addition to this, the TIA launched its “Racket Up, America” promotion in 2009 as a first step to rally the industry focus on getting people playing tennis given the challenging economic environment and this was meant to drive consumers to buy a new racket with tennis retailers. The TIA has said it will continue to explore ways to expand the Racket Up, America promotion in 2010 for broader awareness and impact.
Muir started his career in tennis as a teaching professional in Southern California and was soon offered a sales rep position by Dave Haggerty and Steve Zalinski at Dunlop. Two years later, in 1997, he was hired by Bob Shafer at Wilson as a territory sales manager in the Southern California area. He has served in various positions at Wilson in sales, promotions, and marketing before taking his current responsibility as worldwide General Manager in 2006. Now he travels frequently, about 150 days a year with most of this internationally to support Wilson’s business and growth outside the US market.
Muir is still a current, certified tennis professional with both the USPTA and the PTR organizations as well as serving on the Executive Committee of the USTA national board as a Presidential Appointee of Lucy Garvin.