Following in Hilary Hilton Marold’s footsteps top-ranked player, Linda Wolf, represented platform tennis on ABC TV's “Super Stars”. She finished in sixth place and made more money than she did playing paddle!
A highlight of the Annual Meeting, held in New York City in June, was a special presentation by William Pearce of a platform tennis painting by artist Robert Sticker.
Pearce, Vice-President of Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York (CCBNY), explained that in 1976 CCBNY’s President and avid platform tennis enthusiast, Charles Millard had commissioned Sticker to paint a platform tennis scene at Fox Meadow Club. Prints of that oil painting were then given to winners of the tour, which was sponsored by the CCBNY subsidiary Tribuno Wines. Through the generosity of CCBNY, the APTA was able to offer a limited number of these color prints to its members.
Source: Platform Tennis, September 1980
Sponsorship by companies like Tribuno Wine, Passport Scotch, and Vat 69 Gold that fueled more than five years of “money tournaments” began to dry up. Sponsors realized the sport was somewhat limited in its exposure and appeal.
Conflict loomed within the small community of platform tennis players about whether to preserve the sport by keeping it amateur, or offering money to attract the highest level of talent. Having just experienced several years of professional tour events, the trend reversed to embrace amateur play.
The APTA worked hard to develop league play around the country. The November issue of Platform Tennis News carried an article on how to build a successful program.
“This fall, literally thousands of men and women are absorbed in what has to be the most vital part of paddle: league play. To get a league going, it takes three ingredients: commitment to the sport, organizational ability, and energy.”
The article went on to provide detailed advice for those building a league.
Source: Platform Tennis, November 1980
Passport Scotch felt that they were not getting their expected value from their level of financial commitment.
The APTA President Packard felt it was imperative to replace Passport Scotch with another sponsor for the Nationals and preferably not a liquor company so that it might be possible to get television coverage
Source: APTA Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, July 1, 1980
To kick off the 1980-'81 season, 15 couples combined platform tennis with a sightseeing tour in Europe. Bellfires, the European licensee for R.J. Reilly Company, sponsored the October event.
The players were on the road for eleven days, wheeling around Europe on a luxury bus. Starting in Paris, the couples played platform tennis indoors and toured the sights. Then the bus took them to the Mediterranean coast, near Perpignan, where two courts had been built. Then, on to Switzerland to compete on the highest courts in Europe (with a little skiing on the side), and to visit Basel where there were courts in town.
Source: Platform Tennis News, April 1980
The lead article in the January edition of Platform Tennis was on the large turnouts for regional tournaments.
The Westchester (Rye) Invitational put a 64 team cap on the number of entries to keep it manageable.
Despite this the Minutes of the APTA Executive Committee of February 9, 1981 reflected the struggle the APTA was having with dwindling sponsorship and the crisis this was having on Tournament play and the APTA's bottom line. The forecast for 1981 was for a $11,903 loss. [Also see APTA 1981 Annual Meeting Minutes>]
For the second year, the New Canaan Savings Bank was the sponsor of the women's National-ranking New Canaan (CT) tournament on November 19-20. The event was played at the Country Club of New Canaan, New Canaan Field Club, and Waveny Park.
The top 10 winning teams divided the $2,000 in prize money.
After winning the Chicago Invitational on November 7-8, Yvonne Hackenberg and Hilary Hilton continued their unbeaten streak with a win against the unseeded pair of Meri Lobel and Allison McCance.
Source: Platform Tennis, January 1981