ITA: Reflecting on 2016
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association saw exciting changes come its way in 2016, as we made a cross-country move, gained new partners and strengthened existing business relationships, and continued to elevate the college tennis brand.
Here are some of our organization's highlights from the last year:
ITA and Arizona State Form Strategic Alliance; ITA Moves Headquarters to Tempe
The ITA offices found a new home in 2016.
After 30-plus years in New Jersey, the ITA moved its headquarters to sunny Tempe, Ariz. The doors to the new offices officially opened on May 1.
The decision to move the headquarters came with the announcement that the ITA would be forming a strategic alliance with Arizona State University, in order to leverage the resources of a research-based University to grow the sport of tennis locally, nationally and globally.
For more information about the ITA-ASU strategic alliance, click here.
ITA Rebranding Efforts Produces Positive Changes
A large portion of 2016 was dedicated to recreating the overall brand image of the ITA.
The rebrand was lead by the introduction of a new logo, designed by PLANIT Studios, on August 1. The ITA showcased the new logo and brand colors at the ITA fall national events with fresh new onsite signage and marketing materials. You can view all versions of the new ITA logo, as well as the new event-specific logos and a detailed style guide here.
In addition to a new logo, the ITA wrapped up 2016 with a website makeover which can be viewed here.
New ITA Board of Directors Began Term
On July 1, the new ITA Board of Directors officially began serving its two-year term.
The Board, led by Chairman of the Board Jon Vegosen and ITA CEO Timothy Russell, is comprised of six head coaches and nine members from other walks of life, such as education, business, law, medicine, sports science, technology, media, entertainment and philanthropy.
For additional information on the individual ITA Board members, as well as details on the vision and plans for the Board moving forward, click here.
New Partnerships and Strengthening Existing Relationships
The ITA gained three new partners in 2016 with the addition of FloSports, ZebraWeb.org, and tasc Performance.
Joining forces with FloSports, a sports media company based in Austin, Texas, allowed the ITA to bring live streaming coverage to all national tournaments this fall, including several events that received broadcast coverage for the first time. Additionally, FloTennis streamed select ITA Regional events and the Hall of Fame ITA Grass Court Invitational.
Read more about the ITA’s partnership with FloSports here.
The ITA partnered with ZebraWeb.org to create a valuable digital platform for all ITA Officials. The ZebraWeb.org partnership allows the ITA to track all the particulars about an official (experience, tenure, certification, personal information), and allows officials to update their own records.
Read more about the ITA’s partnership with ZebraWeb.org here.
The ITA recently announced its latest partnership agreement with tasc Performance, a New Orleans-based clothing company created in 2009. Starting this spring, tasc Performance will serve as the official apparel sponsor for the ITA. As part of the agreement, tasc Performance will develop logo apparel for all ITA officials and ITA staff, while also creating a discount program for ITA member coaches and member school programs.
Read more about the ITA’s partnership with tasc Performance here.
In May, the ITA and Oracle announced an extension to its partnership, by which Oracle will continue to serve as the sponsor of the Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings and the Oracle ITA Arthur Ashe/All-Star Weekend.
In addition, Oracle and the ITA worked with Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) to create the inaugural Oracle ITA Junior Masters, which showcased junior tennis in regional tournaments across the country. Regional winners advanced to play in Malibu, California, alongside collegiate players during the 2016 Oracle ITA Masters.
Speaking of the Oracle ITA Masters, the event doubled in size in 2016, as the singles draw was expanded for men and women from 16 to 32, and featured players from across all conferences of Division I tennis.
Oracle also became the title sponsor for the ITA Oracle Cup, formerly known as the National Small College Championships.
For more details on the ITA’s partnership with Oracle, click here.
Enhanced Student-Athlete Experiences at ITA Events
The ITA introduced new and unique events in 2016 that enhanced the student-athlete experience at national tournaments.
Hall of Fame ITA Grass Court Championships: The ITA partnered with the International Tennis Hall of Fame to host the first-ever collegiate grass court tournament at the ITHAF in Newport, Rhode Island in September.
Read more about the event here.
Duke’s Malibu at the 2016 Oracle ITA Masters: This year all participants at the 2016 Oracle ITA Masters enjoyed dinner at the famous Duke’s Malibu restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
WICKED the Musical: The ITA treated all USTA ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship participants and coaches to a night out on Broadway. Each person received a ticket to Wicked the Musical and had a chance to meet with Wicked’s composer, Stephen Schwartz.
ITA Certified Officials
Starting in 2016-17, the ITA became responsible for certifying all ITA Officials.
Utilizing our new officials membership platform Zebraweb for testing and dues collection, the ITA certified 1,455 collegiate tennis officials in 2016. All officials had to pass a thorough rules exam and attend an educational webinar that was fully focused on collegiate tennis rules and live taught by our ITA Officials faculty. All ITA Officials now have an ITA membership number, which must be provided to host institutions to be able to officiate ITA matches.
As we close the books on 2016, we also want to make a mention of the improved levels of sportsmanship at all divisions of our sport. Additionally, we are excited to see the positive reaction and feedback to the Division I No-Ad scoring format. Here's to another exciting spring season of college tennis action! #TeamITA