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STUDIES AND PROPOSALS
A Feasibility Study for A Public Indoor Tennis Facility
Krause House Info-Research Solutions
For the Cromarty Tennis Club
Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
April 11, 2006
Revised January 16, 2009
(III) MARKET ISSUES
NOTE OF JANUARY 16, 2009:
Some of the recommendations below are now outdated because of later developments.
Clearly, the only market issue is whether there will be sufficient clients to cover-off the yearly operational and amortized capital costs. Naturally, tennis players would comprise the largest group, but others come to mind such as non-profit badminton or fitness programmes like yoga if there were available times. For certain, this year-round public facility must be self-sustainable and not access any operational and capital resources from the existing Cromarty Tennis Club outdoor summer programme.
A survey must be conducted of the Cromarty Tennis Club membership ASAP in early 2006 to identify tennis players interested in using a Cromarty Community Indoor Tennis Centre (CCITC) on an hourly fee basis, particularly during the winter months.
Later, a survey of area tennis clubs should be conducted to determine their interest. Large public, government, and private institutions, such as CBU, the Coast Guard College, the Fortress of Louisbourg, call centres and the like should also be contacted directly to determine if there are winter players here who would pay an hourly player fee. In addition, three or four general calls of interest should be placed in the Cape Breton Post. Finally, local non-profit groups who are having a hard time finding both winter and summer venues for their programmes should be contacted.
When the Centre achieves its charitable status, corporate sponsorships (i.e. those companies that understand the importance of infrastructure in drawing clients, employees, increased business, tourists, etc.) and individual financial donations should be sought.
The fact that the Cromarty Tennis Club has been in the business of tennis since 1902 should be stressed in all correspondence or press releases that promote the Centre to instill confidence with the public.
(iii) Assumed Participation Rate
Participation in previous indoor tennis programmes at CBU and North Sydney was relatively popular without much fanfare and, significantly, without any public advertising at all. Recruiting retirees who are currently playing, or have played tennis in the past, has great potential in the CBRM area, and would assure that this public facility - of one court only - was used extensively during the day-time. Working people are no doubt available to fill the evenings, and particularly the week-ends, as CBU and North Sydney experience has already proven. However, the critical factor will be hourly cost, as these previous venues were relatively player inexpensive. But presenting clients with a first class public facility housing an alternate-style cushioned tennis court will certainly wet the appetite and open the wallet.
The President of the CCITC has attended two meetings of the Cape Breton Health Recreation Complex Committee (CBHRCC) and has met one-on-one with the chief financial officer of Cape Brteton University (CBU) who chairs the said committee. The intention of the CBHRCC is to raise 12 million dollars from Federal, Provincial and local sources for the establishment of a complex at CBU whose goal is to encourage physically active lifestyles and healthy eating. One planned component of the complex is an indoor tennis centre which the CCITC has volunteered to spearhead as the local component. The tennis Centre would be established on the grounds of CBU, but operated by the CCITC for the benefit of the community at large. If this projects goes ahead, the participation rate is expected to be high. More than one court may be required to meet the demand.
(iv) Playing Times
During the winter, a heated public indoor facility with an alternate-style cushioned court would be most appealing (and at a premium) to working players in the evenings and all hours on the week-ends. The cold daylight hours of winter would best suit retirees, part-time workers, those with flex or compressed work schedules, and specialized programmes such as those designed for schools, etc.
During summer, a public indoor facility would be a harder sell, but nevertheless, Sydney's uneven climate and player preferences would guarantee a certain level of day-time use, and certainly near full-time evening use, particularly if the summer user fee was discounted whenever the proposed on-demand, instantaneous heating system [see later] was not required.
An indoor winter progamme (one court) would generate 212 days of potential tennis (November 1-May 31) less perhaps an average of 4 "serious" storm days, whereas the summer programme has 152 available days if one accepts that most players participate outdoors (4 courts) only in the months of June through October. During the summer, a public indoor facility - available each and every 152 days - would certainly be popular in the evenings, during rain-outs, cold days, anytime in October, as well as any other time - day or night - with the older player looking for a cushioned court surface, or trying to avoid sun-exposure. As an alternate to outdoor tournament play in bad conditions, a public indoor facility could enhance/save the final day of any tournament if available for rent.
Previous local indoor winter programmes where there was only one court would suggest that a schedule based on 60 minutes (i.e. not 40 minutes, not 90 minutes, etc.) of booked time are best for a variety of reasons. While nothing would prevent a player from using a court within any 24-hour period, the majority of members no doubt would be looking for prime times between 7AM and 12 Midnight (17 hours with some hours [and days] obviously far more popular than others) split between retired and working players - with perhaps some alternate users as well - spread over approximately 360 available days a year.
Highly motivated recreational and competitive players often desire at least 3 days play per week with sessions of one hour for singles and two for doubles being quite satisfactory.
If a survey were to indicate that this public facility was going to be adult player popular, then perhaps doubles play would have to be encouraged over singles with say an organized team tennis doubles approach two or three times a week - during evenings and on week-ends - with set times for recreational and competitive singles, and some blocked-out times for junior development. Naturally, such a scheme would require committed volunteer effort, but with only one court in play (unlike 4 in the summer), enough players would assuredly come forward to organize these player events at no additional financial cost to the over-all operation.
(v) Cost Recovery Programmes
It is also important that families be drawn into this public facility during the winter through a charged cost-recovery junior development strategy, perhaps modeled after the "after-school" summer programme. In addition, this public facility could and should provide an alternate, or add-on, opportunity to that of Ski Ben Eoin's ski and snowboarding school programme designed to promote physical fitness. Because tennis builds strength in the arms and legs, improves eye-hand co-ordination, and increases heart rate and burns fat thus improving over-all physical fitness, it too should be placed on the same footing as the Ski Ben Eoin programme, particularly for those who want to use such a winter opportunity to improve their summer play.