One of the most striking things for me as I watch tennis on the tv is the brilliant blue color of the courts. Why is this the case?
In this blog post, I will look at why some tennis hard courts are blue, and why they’ve moved away from the traditional green and red colours.
Why Are Tennis Courts Different Colors Anyway?
It might seem obvious, but for some tennis court surfaces there isn’t much choice in terms of changing the colour. Grass is green, so for lawn tennis there is no choice to move away from this.
For clay courts, they are always red because of the clay material used to construct them.
Some venues have tried experimenting with other colours such as at the Madrid Open which used blue clay in 2012, but some of the top players really objected to this, and it swiftly returned back to red the year after.
Hard courts used to adopt red and green colours too, maybe as a way to acknowledge the traditional colours of the other tennis court surfaces, but as you may have noticed both the US Open and Australian Open have switched to blue.
Why Are Some Tennis Courts Blue?
There are essentially two reasons for this..
1. It Makes it Easier For The Players and Spectators To See The Ball
Tennis balls are a bright yellow/green color and although they are quite easy to see, it’s even easier when the background color provides a good contrast.
If you look at a colour wheel, blue and purple are directly opposite to yellow and green, so when you have tennis balls zipping across the court at 100mph, you’re going to see things better when the game is played on either of these colours.
Furthermore, it’s not just for the benefit of spectators and players at the game, it also makes things better for the TV viewer at home, who inject most of the money into the game with TV advertising.
2. Better Commercial Branding For The U.S Open
When the US Open switched to the blue court, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) decided to switch all the hard courts to blue at major tennis events in the US.
In 2005, when the US Open switched to the blue color, the chief executive Arlen Kantarian said:
“The new court colors have been tested and proven to enhance visibility of the ball for both players and fans. In addition, it provides an instant visual link between the US Open Series tournaments and the U.S. Open, helping to create a unified ‘regular season’ for tennis leading up to the U.S. Open.”Source: https://www.espn.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=2061498
Using color as a brand is not a novel idea in any industry, but the purple and green colour combination has been associated with Wimbledon for many years, so this switch to blue courts was an interesting strategy to make the US Open more visually appealing.