| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

Throughout history, tennis has been viewed as an elitist sport in the eyes of the public. This is understandable as many tennis clubs around the world are very expensive. New York City, however, has many low-income families living within the five boroughs that cannot afford expensive tennis lessons or court time. Due to this, New York City has been known for its many parks which have offered affordable court time. Before 2003, permits to play tennis in New York City cost $50. Then in 2003, that price jumped to $100 which was not met with much resistance.

Now, in 2011, that price has been doubled from $100 to $200. There was no reasoning given to park tennis players on the rate hike on the NYC Parks Renewal Web site, as it simply states "Some tennis fees have changed for the 2011 season. Full-season permits for adults 18-61 will cost $200. Permits for seniors 62 and over remain $20 and permits for juniors below 18 remain $10. Single-play and reservation tickets will now be $15."

Park tennis players are obviously upset about this, and what perplexed the tennis players more was that the Parks Department lowered fees for other sports. If you want to play softball for the day, that price is $12.50 versus the new $15 tennis single-day permit. A typical softball game has roughly 20 players who play for two hours. The cost per person averages $1.25 per person. Based on this math, you can play a game of softball for less than it costs to buy a cup of coffee, and in turn, the city makes $25 from both softball teams.

If you were to play a tennis match for two hours, you would have two players for two hours at $15 per hour or $30 each. The city makes $60. If you have a match of doubles, you get the same result … four players, times two hours, times $15, divided by four equals $30 per person. The only difference is that the city actually makes $120 instead of $60.

What this means is that tennis players are paying 24 times what softball players are paying on a per-person, per-hour basis. Many people are astounded at this increase, especially at a time where the national government is promoting healthy and fun ways to stay healthy. Tennis is one of the sports at the forefront of this campaign, but this price increase doesn't do much to promote the healthy sport of tennis or attract new players looking for a fun workout.

There is some good news, however. If you are looking for lessons at the park tennis courts, those prices will remain the same for the most part. Pros who give lessons in the parks, tend to charge less than the maximum amount they are allowed to.