Black Meetings and Tourism

March/April 2012

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 63 of 76

NEARLY 100 YEARS OLD, THE ATA HITS FORT LAUDERDALE SPORTS TOURISM F BY MICHAEL ANDRE ADAMS ive years shy of a century in exis- tence, the American Tennis Association (ATA) is set to make Fort Lauderdale the home court of choice for its 2012 National Championships and Conferences. Formed in 1916 by a group ofAfrican- American businessmen, college profes- sors and physicians, theATA is hailed as the oldest African-American sports organization in the USA. Their annual event — the first of which dates back to August of 1917, is considered "a Mecca" for African-Americans — ages 8 to 80, from all socio-economic backgrounds to enjoy the camaraderie and competition offered by the sport.Held at Baltimore's Druid Hill Park, the 1917 tournaments consisted of three events — men's and women's singles andmen's doubles. Through the dedicated efforts ofmany, the Nationals have blossomed. Case and point, inAugustof 2005,several thou- sand players competed in more than 50 events during the 89th annual National Championships inDaytona Beach,Florida. Attendees of 2012's festivities, scheduled from July 29 through August 5th,are estimated to be in the range of 2,500 to 3,000. By default each will become a participant in the celebrationof the 50thanniversaryof ArthurAshe'swin at theATAMen's Open. Ashe and Althea Gibson — the first African-Americans to win Grand Slam titles, whereby achieving number one status — are just two of the many noteworthy African-Americans to have come through the legendary organization. Each was sponsored and groomed by ATAofficials and coaches. To date, 2012's sponsors include the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Florida Sports Foundation, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the USTA FloridaSection.Hosthotels are theHilton Marina Fort Lauderdale for the grown and sexy, along with the Hyatt Place and Holiday InnExpress for the younger gen- eration.Theweek of festivities are expect- ed to bring a total of $100,000 in revenue to Fort Lauderdale. "There is a specific connection to the Black Community via the Midtown Business Association and the develop- ment of the Sistrunk Corridor," explains Albert Tucker, vice president of Multicultural Business Development, at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We will have daily tours to the Sistrunk Corridor and other areas of his- torical relevance to the ATA," which held its annual event in Fort Lauderdale back in 1997 and 1998. "Our other events for this year will include an HBCU Summit to promote Black Colleges and Universities, the Tom Jenkins Family BBQ, an old school party, the Black Tennis Hall of Fame Gala, a Junior Development Training Program and the Black Tennis Summit on the History of Black Tennis," explainsTucker. In all, the ATA sees itself as the ALBERT TUCKER core of a growing,African-American contingent, playing an important role in the continued efforts to turn the tennis industry into a multi-billion dollar business. Next stop for the ATA: Los Angeles in 2013. Black Meetings & Tourism March/April 2012: 63

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Black Meetings and Tourism - March/April 2012