Team Up for Tennis Courts

By Maiysha Warren and E. J. Crawford     

Building or renovating tennis courts can be an overwhelming task. Between the logistics and, above all, the cost, it is a project more than many facilities want to take on.

Since 2005, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) has allocated more than $11 million through the Facility Assistance Program to help support tennis facility enhancements, renovations, and new construction projects.

The association is willing to take on projects big and small and to work with communities of all sizes to help grow the game. Technical assistance is provided, at no cost, from experts with industry-leading experience in tennis court and facility construction. Thousands of concept plans, construction document reviews, design decisions, and specifications have been distributed over the years. And to provide assistance on the ground, project consultants deliver personalized support and service to help take a project from its inception to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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How To Qualify
Currently, there are five categories of funding:

Funding Category: Line Grants
Description: Painting permanent 36-foot and 60-foot tennis lines on existing courts, paved areas, blacktops, playgrounds, or gymnasiums
USTA National Contribution: Up to 50 percent of total project cost ($4,000 maximum)

Funding Category: Category I
Description: Basic facility improvements, including fixed-court amenities (i.e., backboards, fencing, windscreens, etc.)
USTA National Contribution: Up to 50 percent of total project cost ($4,000 maximum)

Funding Category: Category II
Description: Resurfacing of existing 36-, 60-, and 78-foot courts, as well as converting an existing 78-foot court to stand-alone 36-foot courts; also providing lighting
USTA National Contribution: Up to 50 percent of total project cost ($10,000 maximum)

Funding Category: Category III
Description: New construction or existing facility reconstruction of 36-, 60-, and 78-foot courts
USTA National Contribution: Up to 50 percent of total project cost ($20,000 maximum)

Funding Category: Category IV
Description: Installing of live streaming and/or player analysis technology at varsity tennis facilities.
USTA National Contribution: Up to 50 percent of total project cost ($10,000 maximum)

To be considered for project funding, communities must:

  • Be actively engaged with the Facility Assistance program (completing the Facility Assistance form, be working with USTA-appointed project consultant, etc.). Any project completed prior to engaging the organization is NOT eligible for funding.
  • Meet specified industry standards for the project, as determined by the Facility Assistance program’s technical team and the latest edition of the USTA/American Sports Builders Association Construction Manual.
  • Demonstrate financial need and match (up to 50 percent) of project funds.

Smaller Courts, Bigger Involvement
In recent years, 36-foot and 60-foot tennis have become especially popular and are generally granted more funding. Adding 36- and 60-foot courts to a facility is a great way to get more kids and families playing tennis, as these smaller courts are easier for beginner players (children and adults) to cover, leading to more early success when they play. For kids, the ability to rally and play right away increases the chances they’ll stick with the game long-term, and an increasing number of adults are now socializing and playing on 60-foot courts.

Thirty-six-foot and 60-foot courts can either be built as stand-alone courts or can be manufactured by adding lines—often referred to as blended lines—to existing 78-foot courts. Either way, they are a great investment in the future of tennis and programming—getting more players and families onto courts and into clinics, lessons, and more, which in turn helps bolster the bottom line. Today, there are more than 15,000 36-foot and 60-foot courts throughout the country.

So whether you want to improve existing courts, build new courts, or become one of the most recent proponents of 36- and 60-foot courts, the USTA has a program and a place for you. Best of all, the application process for the Facility Assistance Program is a rolling one—there are no deadlines. Any tennis facility that is open to the public may request assistance.

To involve the USTA in your community’s tennis court plans, visit www.usta.com/facilities today or email facilities@usta.com.

Maiysha Warren is the National Manager for Tennis Facilities & Development at USTA.

E.J. Crawford is the Managing Editor at USTA.