Business: Net Loss

The tennis boom fades

Only five years ago, tennis was booming. Top players were getting seven-figure contracts to play with pro teams, big companies were fighting to sponsor tournaments, and TV networks were broadcasting even routine matches. On the amateur level, a game that could claim just 14 million adult regular players in 1972 had by 1976 some 26 million participants eager to invest in such paraphernalia as fluorescent balls, designer outfits, $30 shoes and $62 carbon steel racquets. Now the game has gone soft, at least as a business.

Team tennis is dead, and the networks have sharply cut their coverage...

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