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Digitally transforming a 130-year-old institution

Opening up tennis with the LTA


For many years, tennis faced falling participation rates in the millions. Identifying the need to stay relevant the LTA created the vision of 'Tennis Opened Up' and turned to us to deliver the digital transformation to help make this vision a reality.

When tennis met tech

For many years, tennis faced falling participation rates in the millions, as competition from other leisure activities encroached on traditional sports.

There is more than one reason for this: a disjointed digital ecosystem, to being able to find players or courts to book, a misunderstanding of who is playing and where, and a feeling that the sport is inaccessible.

Recognising the challenge of falling engagement, the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association), Britain’s National Governing Body for Tennis, created the vision of 'Tennis Opened Up” to help make it more accessible and welcoming to all abilities and backgrounds.

Identifying the need to stay relevant to their customers and stakeholders, they turned to us to help them. Together, we’ve been working to deliver on this vision with technology playing a key role.

Scanning a QR code connected to the LTA

Serving it up

The LTA is the organisation that has looked after tennis in the UK for over 130 years, from after-school training sessions in your local park to major international tournaments on your TV. Whether it’s carefully mowed grass or hard courts, the chances are that the court you’re playing on is operated by one the LTA's network of registered venues or accredited coaches across the UK.

Since becoming a partner in 2020, we’ve helped the organisation transform digitally, by better understanding the needs of their customers and stakeholders, and delivering a major digital transformation which has helped enable the growth in tennis participation by almost double in the last three years. Here’s how…

Setting the course

We first proposed a digital strategy, which detailed how the vision of ‘Tennis Opened Up’ would become a reality. This included tailored recommendations for key customer groups (e.g. coaches, players, venues, fans, colleagues etc.) and was based on our assessment of the LTA’s digital capabilities, ways of working and technology infrastructure. Once the strategy was agreed, with all parties aligned, the next priority was to build an improved digital experience.

A digital overhaul

We worked on everything from building a new website to digitising the LTA’s entire inventory of courts into one easy-to-use booking app. The newly launched website has made tennis more discoverable via search engines, with‘s search engine result ranking increasing by 130%. The introduction of LTA Play, which provides a central booking site for courts across the country, means that there are now over 1.1m hours of bookable courts and courses across Britain.

People at its heart

We also created bespoke digital platforms, so volunteers across the country could monitor and accelerate their development. They’re at the heart of the sport’s success – just watch these videos with Naeem and Sarah.

Building a community

We implemented a system to help gather millions of data points so decision makers at the LTA could have a clearer picture of how they can help to grow the sport. The tennis community is more engaged than ever with 15,000 venues now LTA registered (up from 2,600) and 650 Parks due to be available on LTA Play by the end of 2023. We’ve also helped to launch the Free Park Tennis Programme, offering people the opportunity to play tennis for free.

And the best result of all? An additional 2m adults are now playing tennis regularly – with numbers rising from 3.3m in 2021 to 5.3m in 2023.

"Our partnership with Deloitte has successfully delivered against our digital strategy on a number of fronts, enabling our overall vision of tennis opened up. The Deloitte team has knitted well with LTA teams, adding vital skills and experience to deliver new and improved digital services.

"Deloitte has also used its wider reach as part of our partnership to support the LTA in achieving its mission, supporting the overall tennis landscape through a variety of programmes, such as helping develop the digital skills of tennis coaches and venues. A number of challenges have been overcome along this journey, not least the COVID-19 pandemic, and Deloitte has proven to be a very versatile and reliable partner."

Chris Pollard
Director, LTA

A new star player

Our work with the LTA isn’t about just plugging in new technology – it’s meaningful transformation enabled by technology. With thoughtful consideration given to why the LTA is doing what it’s doing. And how it can be brought to life in a way which captures the attention of its audience.

A great example of this is our latest work featuring the new kid on the block: Padel. A sport which embraces its differences from tennis with its accessibility, smaller courts, and doubles play – with the LTA its National Governing Body.

In the UK alone, it’s bringing in around 90,000 new players every year and has been recognised as the world’s fastest growing sport. We wanted to see if technology could once again help make it even more accessible and also appealing to young people – so we set out to find out.

What started from a blank piece of paper became an immersive experience that fuses generative AI and Padel. Our Deloitte Digital team worked with the LTA to apply their diverse range of skills from experience design to engineering. But we also invited the people we’re targeting to co-create the experience with us.

Over the course of six weeks, groups of 16-25 year-olds joined us at the Stratford Padel Club in London to help create a tech-powered Padel experience - RacketFusion. There’s smart target walls to improve your aim, avatar generators that let you create an animated Padel persona, and you can even have a chat with an AI instructor, our on-demand oracle for all things Padel.

And it was great fun. Just ask the hundreds of people who played in the months after.

Game, set, match

By fusing sport with AI, we were able to create a space for innovation. For excitement. And more importantly, put more rackets into diverse hands. And that’s what our partnership with the LTA is all about.

As LTA’s Director of Digital and Major Events, Chris Pollard described: “We want to make booking a tennis court as simple as ordering a takeaway.” Or perhaps you might go for Padel next time?

Whether it’s using AI or technology more broadly, it just shows how amazing things happen when you open things up – whether that’s in the world of sport or wider society.

"Our relationship with the LTA is a great example of how technology can be used considerately to overcome significant challenges, be that in business and society. 

"Tennis is a sport with a long history, and we are thrilled to help deliver the digital transformation which is creating new ways for millions of players, coaches and fans to engage and benefit from the opportunities it brings."

Mark Lillie
Partner, Deloitte

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