The US Open is one of tennis’ biggest events of the year – and the biggest in the United States – is well into its first of two weeks of competition this year. First started in 1881, the championships are ones that the best of the best strive for every year. The last American to win a singles championship was Serena Williams in 2008. The last American man to win was Andy Roddick in 2003. Where might the next American champion come from? Where are the fans?
Tennis is played by people all around the country. Its popularity ebbs and flows often based on the number of Americans who are at the top of the game. Currently about 3.3% of Americans participate in tennis which equates to over 1 million people. Where do they live? Where might the next tennis phenom live? Looking at where pockets of tennis players live, it’s not surprising to see that many live in California and Florida – especially near the major cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, but also around other major cities such as Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, New York, and Boston. Many of these places have warm weather but also have large populations – making it easy for tennis players to find others to play with.
What type of person is typically most likely to play tennis? What type is least likely? We can use Tapestry Segmentation to classify consumers. Esri, a geographic information systems company which also does data analysis, developed the Tapestry Segmentation system that classifies US residential neighborhoods into 65 unique market segments based on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. The tapestry segments with an index of 200 or higher – meaning they are 2 times more likely than the average American to play tennis – are Connoisseurs, Laptops and Lattes, Metro Renters, Military Proximity, and Suburban Splendor. Metro Renters, for example, are young educated singles who live in some of the largest US cities.
LifeMode and Urbanization summary groups can also be used to classify consumers. LifeMode Summary Groups are characterized by lifestyle and lifestage and share an experience such as being born in the same time period or a trait such as affluence. Urbanization Summary Groups are characterized on their geographic and physical features, such as population density, city size, and location relative to a metropolitan area. In the case of tennis players, 34% of those neighborhoods in the Solo Acts LifeMode group have an index of 200 or higher for playing tennis. Members of this group are single and prefer life in the city. Not surprisingly, this likely means they have the time and energy for tennis.
Not everyone loves to play tennis. Members of Heartland Communities, Rooted Rural, and Southern Satellites are ½ as likely to play tennis as the average American. Many of these residents live in the Rural II Urbanization neighborhoods. Rural II residents live in rural farm areas; the rest live in the country or in small villages and work in mining or manufacturing
Watch Tennis on TV
Not everyone can play tennis – even if they want to – due to physical limitations, lack of facilities, etc. But they can watch it on television. About 10.7% of Americans watch tennis on TV. Much of this, likely, are events like Wimbledon and the US Open rather than small events where there are few marquee players (unless you are a die hard fan). People who watch some tennis, though, show an interest in the sport that marketers and broadcasters can use to promote other programming or local events. Where do they live?
The biggest pockets of viewers of tennis are around cities, which isn’t surprising. These are areas with large populations and have many of the tennis players (who may then get their non-tennis playing friends and family to watch). Tennis is viewed in many more places than it is played. There is an avid interest around the west and the south, which isn’t seen as much as tennis-playing areas.
Who are these consumers that watch tennis on TV? The tapestry segments with the most avid viewers of tennis on TV are Connoisseurs, The Elders, Laptops and Lattes, and Top Rung. Residents of these segments have an index of 150 for watching tennis on TV meaning they are 1.5 times more likely than the average American to watch. While this is significant and something to take note of, it is important also to note that no neighborhood has an index higher than 195 meaning there are likely other factors to look at than just the tapestry segment to understand who watches tennis.
Who doesn’t watch tennis? Residents of Las Casas and Prairie Living are ½ as likely as the average American to watch tennis on television. About 84% of Las Casas residents are Hispanic, have a median age of 27.8 years and have a median income of $35,867. Prairie Living residents live on small, family-owned farms in the Midwest.
Attend Tennis Events
Attending an event like the US Open can be very exciting. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to do that due to the cost of attendance as well as the location of tennis events, which are primarily in large cities, such as New York and Los Angeles. It isn’t surprising to see on the map below that the people who are likely to have attended tennis events live in large metropolitan areas just like those who watch tennis on TV (only many more watch on TV then attend). Who are these consumers?
Residents of Inner City Tenants, Laptops and Lattes, and Military Proximity are most likely to attend a tennis match. Their index is 150 meaning they are 1.5 times more likely than the average American to attend a tennis match. Laptops and Lattes residents, for example, enjoy single life in the big city. They are affluent with a median income of $84,612. Inner City Tenants neighborhoods are multicultural with 30% being Hispanic. Their median income is $30,873.
Not everyone can or wants to attend a tennis match. Residents of Rooted Rural and Trendsetters are ½ as likely as the average American to attend a match. Trendsetters residents are young, diverse, and mobile. Seventy-five percent of these neighborhoods are on the west coast and the rest are on the east coast.
Why Does This Matter?
Understanding the activities of consumers can help businesses target potential customers. Consumers who like tennis – or dislike tennis – may be interested in a certain product or service or movie. This information especially at the local level and aid in advertising or determining where to open a new store that targets a particular type of customer.