Building up on its recent acquisition of Midwest Sports, which was completed last month, Signa Sports United (SSU) is consolidating its penetration of the U.S. market with a binding agreement to acquire Tennis Express, one of the country’s leading online tennis retailers. The two operations will be folded by SSU into the international internet platform business of Tennis-Point, which has been very successful in Europe.
The two moves will also allow the group to benefit from a surge in tennis participation in the U.S., due to Covid-19. Four million new players embraced the sport last year, representing a 22 percent increase in participation, according to the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA).
Founded more than a decade ago by Brad Blume and a partner in Houston, Texas, Tennis Express started with a single physical store, but 90 percent of its turnover is now coming from digital channels, serving customers all over the U.S. and accepting international orders. A 15,000-square-foot complex in Houston hosts an experiential flagship store, an indoor tennis court and a warehouse.
Blume has agreed to join the executive team of Tennis-Point, serving as president of Tennis Express and reporting to Sascha Beyer, who is set to move from Germany to the U.S. as chairman and president of Tennis-Point North America.
As previously reported, Beyer’s move is connected with a major expansion of SSU’s management team in view of future acquisitions and – possibly – a public offering that has not yet been confirmed. Beyer claims that Tennis-Point has become “the global #1 online tennis destination,” but company officials have so far declined to provide any figures, except to say that it employs more than 400 people and that it has 14 local language online stores and 28 physical “connected” stores.
Tennis Express has been named “Retailer of the Year” by Babolat and by RSI Magazine in the pro/specialty tennis category. The ATP and Tennis-Point recently announced a multi-year partnership that makes the global e-commerce platform the Official Racket Sports Products Retailer of the ATP Tour until 2025.