Not for them. If for grassroots sport the restrictions continue throughout the peninsula, for tennis e fell in the last 6 months there was instead a 58% increase in bookings compared to the same period of the previous year. In fact, despite the swing of bans imposed by the various lockdown (last November, for example, padel and outdoor tennis were allowed in the red zone only for competitive members), the boom in bookings is also the direct consequence of the closures imposed on many centers. Not only. One in three members who now practice tennis and padel, dabbled in other disciplines until October 2020. This is supported by a study by the Observatory Sportclubby, the main platform in Italy for booking fields and activities – in the gym, online and outdoors – used by over 500,000 Italians in 700 sports centers.
Padel, the “favorite” of Italians
Padel, which accounts for 64% of total bookings in the last autumn-winter, has an impact on the growth of the sector. The growing use of sports booking has contributed to fueling the phenomenon, facilitating management, security and reservations: the “digital” clubs for racket lovers have increased in the Sportclubby network by 31% in the last 12 months.
Demand is growing, but the market is struggling to keep up
Today more than half of sportsmen take to the field 1-2 times a week, but would like to play more. The main obstacles are the lack of free time (43%), the difficulty in finding available courses or close to home (32%) or finding a playmate (13%). Cost seems to be a problem for a few (7%).
31% of those enrolled before November 2020 practiced other disciplines. Most of the new camp-goers come from fitness, crossfit, weightlifting (11%) e sport outdoor (9%). An even more interesting – and very positive – data is the effect of the restrictions on the future sporting habits of Italians: half of the members will not hang up their racket when they can return to their “old” sport, but will continue to practice both.
More loyal customers also thanks to digital
New users are not one-time customers or those limited to the restricted period. 29% of the payments made in the last period refer to a subscription or a package of lessons or admissions: a concrete sign of loyalty. After all, there are many who do not stay more than a day without playing a game: 37% play 3-4 times a week and more than 1 in 10 play daily, in some cases including weekends.
Digital helps clubs improve the experience of their members, thanks to timely communications, ease of booking and better visibility on the vast public of Italian sportsmen. Among the tennis and padel players surveyed to date by Sportclubby, 1 out of 3 has been using the app for 2-3 years, both to book their courts, to practice other disciplines or find alternative activities to cope with the closure of their center of trust.
Furthermore, those who play tennis and padel play more games: monthly bookings per user increased by 4%, compared to the summer of last year, when it was possible to do other sports, but there was also a more favorable climate for outdoor activities. The most active by age group are adults between 35 and 50 years old. More than 80% are men.
Mobile payments take the field
Until March 2020, paying for your own field from the app was practically non-existent. With the growing use of digital during the emergency, there has been a steady growth of this phenomenon. Today, according to the findings of Sportclubby, each club carries out on average between 1,000 and 1,500 euros of smartphone transactions every month. A value that has risen by 36% compared to last summer, the result of a well-established habit. In fact, the number of athletes he performs has increased by 13% mobile payments to access tennis or padel courts. «The restrictions imposed on almost the entire sector – explains Stefano De Amici, Cpo and co-founder of Sportclubby – have done nothing but accelerate a positive trend already underway among racket sports, especially padel. Demand has outstripped supply. Suffice it to say that in Spain there are tens of thousands of padel courts (there were 11 thousand already in 2017), in Italy about 2 thousand. With Sportclubby – concludes De Amici – in recent months we have witnessed the migration of hundreds of users from different disciplines, who are irreversibly moving towards a multi-sport approach. While interesting opportunities for diversification are opening up for the managers of sports centers stuck on other fronts, those who already work in this area are forced to accelerate on digitization to optimize an increasingly complex management of requests “.
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