The installation of a tennis bladder over five outdoor courts is expected to provide 3,700 additional court hours per year, increase membership and have a positive economic impact of nearly $10 million
The Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Center (ATC), Calgary’s premier state-of-the-art tennis facility, began construction on the installation of its first indoor court project. As part of Tennis Canada’s campaign to expand Canada’s network of indoor courts, the tennis bubble will allow play on ATC’s five outdoor courts year-round. The new covered courts offer members and visitors an additional 3,700 hours of court access. The project should be completed by autumn.
“We absolutely love the sport of tennis and are committed to sharing its benefits with more Canadians,” said Danny Da Costa, CEO of Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre. “We have been working with our partners on this project for many months and are excited to offer the public greater access to year-round tennis starting this fall.”
“This ground turning ceremony is of great importance to the ATC Board of Directors, staff and the tennis community. We are one step closer to our vision of providing the best tennis facility of its kind in Canada. Covering the five outdoor courts allows us to accommodate the tremendous growth of our sport in the Calgary area and the high demand for our facilities,” said Ron Ghitter, Chairman of the Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre.
The bladder will be installed by The Farley Group, North America’s premier tennis bladder supplier and a partner committed to Tennis Canada’s indoor court expansion plans. Funding comes from a variety of partners including Rogers Communications, the Province of Alberta, the Parks Foundation of Calgary, donations from the tennis community and the ATC as part of Tennis Canada’s year-round community tennis court program presented by Rogers. The multi-year, $5.6 million program, co-funded by Tennis Canada and Rogers, makes year-round tennis a reality for thousands of Canadians.
“Canadians want to play more tennis,” said Michael Downey, President and CEO of Tennis Canada. “Our nation has become a leader in tennis, with millions of people playing the sport when the weather permits, and yet we seem to forget that reality when the snow falls. We must work with the government and other financial backers to expand our network of covert courts. This is a safe investment, both economically and, most importantly, for the health and well-being of Canadians of all ages.”
In early 2021, Tennis Canada and Rogers announced their partnership with a goal of building 160 new year-round courts at up to 30 facilities by 2029. Earlier this year, Tennis Canada announced the start of similar bladder building projects in Waterloo (QC). and Ancaster and Markham (ON). Overall, the Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program presented by Rogers will have helped fund 20 indoor tennis courts in all four communities, each scheduled to open this fall. The program addresses the fact that Canada, with only 750 indoor courts open to the public across the country, lags behind other leading tennis nations in providing access to the sport. This equates to just one year-round court for every 50,000 Canadians.
A 2018 Tennis Canada survey found that 51% of Canadians say they would play more tennis if they had access to convenient and affordable indoor courts nearby. That number jumps to 90 percent for Canadians who play tennis at least four times a year. According to The Farley Group, only 10 percent of outdoor tennis courts are covered in the winter, and 85 percent of those courts are in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.
As a result of the ATC expansion, the club will be able to expand several programs. The club’s high-performance training program is expected to accommodate 30 to 50 additional children per week and will meet Tennis Canada and Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) guidelines. ATC’s SHE CAN PLAY girls’ tennis program, school tennis program, wheelchair and autism programs are all expected to grow significantly.
“We are proud to invest in Alberta and the amazing work Tennis Canada is doing to make tennis year-round possible to increase participation among youth, community members and the next generation of high-performance athletes locally,” said Larry Goerzen, President of Alberta & Prairies, Rogers Communications. “Congratulations to the Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Center on beginning construction of its first indoor tennis courts as we continue to help grow the sport of tennis and provide even more opportunities to keep the youth and our community of Calgary active.”
The new bubble will give ATC the ability to host events. Club leaders plan to support the growth of the Calgary National Bank Challenger by hosting the event and making it the only combined professional (men’s and women’s) sporting event in Canada.
As the sport of tennis continues to grow in popularity, Tennis Canada encourages all Canadians to contact their local elected officials and community recreation departments to request greater access to the sport. Learn more about the program and email [email protected] to find out how you can help start a project in your community.