USTA using Adobe products to build the 'ecosystem' of tennis

It was an unusual breakout session Thursday at Adobe Summit, the annual week-long gathering of Adobe marketers, partners and media in Las Vegas.There were tennis racquets, green and yellow tennis balls and even the convention hall usher introducing one of the presenters as "Andrew Agassi."

Little did the 75 or so attendees to the morning, #MatchPoint: Bringing Tennis into the Digital Age session know, that would set the tone for a lively discussion about tennis and not only where the sport is heading, but how Adobe is helping it get there.

The hour-long talk, hosted by Kenneth Marzin, Senior Manager, Deloitte Digital and Kevin Mahoney, Managing Director of Digital, USTA gave attendees an introduction to the USTA and it's history and where they stand now as they are leveraging Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Analytics to promote, develop, and grow the game of tennis in the United States. Experience Manager consolidates 18 subsites into one main site, allowing content authors across 17 USTA sections to access and publish their content on one common platform, leveraging personalizing techniques to serve localized content to tennis enthusiasts. The USTA has also used Experience Manager to launch Net Generation to connect youth with tennis providers to drive more kids to play tennis and engage with the game.

Heck, how many times have you seen the NTRP Ratings of the breakout session panelists listed on the information slide? Marzin is a 3.0 and Mahoney clearly needs some work as he's a 2.5.

The USTA is now getting some real data (not just panelist's NTRP Ratings) that may even be able to track how many tennis players there are in America. Now, using Experience Manager, the USTA can looks across their web and mobile sites, online communities, add physical signage, and application end points to ensure their content supports a personalized and connected experience to tennis enthusiasts across America.

When asked how many tennis players there were in the room, most of the hands went up, but when asked how many people in the room have kids that play tennis, I didn't see one hand move in an upward direction. That is part of the challenge tennis currently faces and why Deloitte was brought on board.

Mahoney admitted that in the past, the USTA determined the number of tennis players annually by just asking tennis ball and tennis racquet manufacturers how many balls and racquets they made and how many they sold to come up with a round number.

How long will this process stake?

There are a lot of moving parts in the USTA.

Mahoney and Marzin agreed that it's a slow and gradual process that eventually will make USTA.com the "ecosystem" of tennis. One stop shopping for tennis coaches, fans and players.

There was even a brief question about how TennisLink, the USTA website that is an information hub about leagues and sanctioned tournaments fits into these plans and when will it be fixed?

Mahoney said "he's aware," like he's heard that question before and said that it is in the plans. That is probably very good news for "Andrew Agassi."