Helping LTA open tennis up to the nation
Tennis has long been associated as a sport for the middle classes, with the sport extending its reach to the casual spectator for just two weeks each summer thanks to a combination of strawberries and cream and acceptable sunbathing at Wimbledon. The LTA recognised that for tennis to be fit for the future, perceptions had to change and so set off on a mission to open the sport to broader sports fans & gym goers in a bid to increase participation beyond the shrinking sweet spot.
Plans were full steam ahead until COVID-19 hit which had a significant impact on sport and specifically tennis, with Wimbledon being postponed and court closures during its key participation period. However, when lockdown restrictions were eased in June, tennis was one of few group sports available to the public, giving the LTA the perfect opportunity to re-ignite their mission and thrust tennis into the limelight.
What we did
To capitalise on this moment, we had to be extremely reactive. Firstly, we used OOH and social as a platform to nudge new participants to play tennis in proximity to courts which were open for business, allowing for a better user journey and more efficient media buy.
Despite Wimbledon’s postponement, we knew there were plans for the BBC to show tennis coverage over that period in the way of archived footage.
What we did
We strategically phased our paid media just before and after the BBC series and what would have been the Wimbledon fortnight so we could maximise tennis’ share of voice and get the ‘Play Your Way’ message front of mind by leveraging owned, earned, and paid media.
We launched across social media with custom audience segments and a cherry-picked TV schedule to tighten our targeting parameters. We also launched across YouTube, laterally targeting sports enthusiasts through their browsing behaviour and viewed content.
The campaign delivered a huge reach of 33m adults. Tennis participation increased and we saw a +37% YoY increase in the percentage of people who said they played tennis in the last 4 weeks and an incremental +6.5k additional tennis court bookings over out campaign period.
Our active regular audience were highly engaged with the campaign assets, with social engagement rate at +46% above benchmark. We saw a +24% increase YoY in people playing tennis on a weekly basis and a +16% increase YoY of those playing tennis twice a month.
YoY increase in people playing tennis weekly