Why Are Tennis Balls So Expensive?

Why Are Tennis Balls So Expensive

Tennis ball is small but quite expensive. The reasons will shock you

Why are tennis balls so expensive? Tennis balls are expensive because of the high cost of production, packaging, shipping, and generally pressureless tennis balls life span is quite low.

Tennis ball price significantly varies. On average, a single tennis ball can cost about $3. However, the cost can be more or less depending with the manufacturer and also depending on how they have been packaged.

Often, tennis balls used in competitive tournaments such as WTA, ATP, or Grand Slam are more expensive since they have to meet all the set standards laid by International Tennis Federation.

However, there are also very cheap tennis balls in the market that can be attributed to the balls not strictly adhering to the ITF standards but still serve the purpose.

Cheap tennis balls become more affordable for use in a normal practice since the balls have to be changed frequently after use irrespective of whether you bought cheap or expensive balls.

5 Main Reasons That Make Tennis Balls So Expensive

1. Short Life Span

Even though the initial tennis price per ball seems low, in the long run the balls are very expensive. A pressurized tennis balls last about 9 games after which it needs to be changed. In fact, the ball starts losing its bouncy after 2-3 hours of constant hitting in a competitive game or about 1-4 weeks of moderate play.

So, tennis players in a competitive game such as in a Grand Slam tournaments have to use new tennis balls for every game they play in a set. Tennis set contains 6 games. So you can do your math for a best of 3 set or best of 5 set, several balls would have to be used.

In the end, the ball cost becomes very expensive even for regular practice. That is why beginners and in some training often use the pressureless tennis balls since they last longer.

2. Expensive Packaging

Unlike the pressureless tennis balls, pressurized tennis balls have to be specially packed in order for them to maintain their quality. Special tennis ball containers are used for storing the balls.

The container is pressurized and sealed perfectly without allowing any room for leakage. Besides, the cans have to be of good material to withstand breaking or crushing when under pressure during shipping or storage.

3. Costly Shipping

Generally, shipping of tennis balls from place to place is another expenses on top of the buying price of the ball. In the instance the source of your ball of choice is far then the cost of shipping will be high.

Furthermore, shipping in small quantity can be costly compared to if you are buying bulk tennis balls. However, majority of consumers can afford a few cans at a time and the overall shipping cost is high.

4. High Cost Of Production

Tennis balls to be used in a competitive tournament are very costly since they have been specially designed to meet all the standards laid by the ITF. In order to meet the needed approval standards, manufacturers have to heavily invest in costly high tennis ball technology machines.

The following are some of the ITF standards for tennis ball manufacturers that must be met before releasing the balls to the market:

Tennis Ball Logo Dimensions

With no specialized equipment, printing a tennis ball is complex and can be difficult.  Generally, not any printer can print a tennis ball logo on the balls but a specialized printer. The printed logo must

  • Have a width not more than 52 mm.
  • Have a height not more than 32 mmm.
  • Printed tennis ball not to exceed 22% of the overall surface area of the ball

Tennis Ball Markings

Only one stamp or decal can be printed on a tennis balls. The logo size must meet the ITF standard including the size. The logo must be clearly visible.

Tennis Ball Diameter

Tennis ball diameter is not a guess work, you cannot size the ball the way you wish. Rather, standard tennis ball diameters must be within 2.57-2.70 inches or 6.54-6.86 cm.

Tennis Ball Bouncing

According to Tennis Industry Magazine, ITF stipulates that a new tennis ball exposed at temperatures of 69 degrees should be able to bounce between 53 inches to 58 inches.

Tennis Ball Mass

Despite tennis balls being hollow in the inside with an outer rubber layer and a wool covering, the ball weight must be within a certain range. Approved tennis ball weight should be 1.98-2.10 ounces or 56.0-59.4g.

Tennis Ball Pressure

Inside tennis ball pressure for new balls should range between 14-16psi. Having too low pressure significantly reduces the lifespan of the ball once the storage tennis can is opened.

Tennis Ball Lasting

Manufacturers should ensure that their balls do not only last one game and end up dead. Rather, manufactures should produce tennis balls that can last about 9 games of moderate play before a player can think of a replacement since the bounce would be significantly reduced.

5. Costly Testing of Tennis Balls

Testing the tennis balls can be costly. In fact, the more the ball types the more cost a manufacture incurs. Besides, ITF quality check staff randomly select the balls for testing to eliminate possible bias of giving them high quality balls. See this table to have a clear picture of testing cost.

One type of ball brand$2,700
Two additional ball types of brand$3,240
Stage 1 introductory ball (Green)$1,670
Stage 2 (Orange)/ Stage 3 (Red) introductory ball$1,770
Total Testing Cost$9,380
Overview of the cost for testing tennis balls

However, discounts also exists when working with ITF for either an ITF foundation member or a supporting member. The following is a table showing the approval testing cost with discounts

Approval TestCost per ball brandDiscount For Supporting MemberDiscount For General Member
Testing Approval Fee$2,700$2,160$2,440
Assimilation Approval Fee$1,620$820$1,290
Stage 1 Introductory ball$1,670$1,460$1,570
Stage 2 and Stage 3$590$390$490
Discounted tennis balls testing cost

Tips To Get Tennis Balls That Are Not So Expensive

In the instance you need to save some extra coins, here are tips on what you can do to get a good tennis ball:

1. Bulk Tennis Balls

If you can, order and have bulk tennis balls shipped to you rather than buying one can at a time. The cost of shipping in bulk tennis balls is distributed for all tennis balls and it becomes much cheaper. Besides, it will take you much longer before the need to order another.

2. Compare Prices

Tennis ball prices vary from store to another even if the stores are located in the same region. Even online stores tennis ball price has slight variations.

Comparing different prices before shopping your preferred brand at different store can land you to getting cheap tennis balls that are still high quality.

Generally, shops do not have the same selling price even if they sell a common brand of tennis balls.

3. Discount Tennis Balls

During some seasons products are sold at a discount price and tennis balls are not an exception especially during low season. Checking out for a discount tennis balls can be a good way to save some extra cash.

4. Tennis Balls Free Shipping

If you can locate a store in which your residence distance is much near to the store, free shipping can be done. Tennis balls free shipping is available within certain geographical range based on a store you intend to purchase. Besides, some companies offer tennis balls free shipping when you order at least a minimum quantity of bulk tennis balls.

5. Tennis Ball Deals

If you have a membership with a tennis company of your choice, the produce is likely to have tennis ball deals for you. Be on the lookout for discount tennis balls to acquire slightly cheap tennis balls.

6. Buy Tennis Balls During Low Season

During low seasons, the demand for tennis balls is generally low. However, the price of tennis balls can skyrocket especially when nearing the major seasons for tournaments such as the Grand Slam. Order bulk tennis balls during low season in readiness for a high season period.

Expensive Tennis Balls and Equipment Makes Tennis Expensive

Generally, tennis game is among the most expensive sport in the world. In fact, one may wonder “is tennis a rich person sport?” to some extent, yes, you need money to effectively engage in tennis game.

Why is tennis so expensive? Tennis is an expensive game since there is so much to pay for and buy including balls, tennis racket, tennis outfit, tennis shoes, racket strings, and tennis courts are also not free.  The most expensive sport equipment in tennis is the racket and tennis ball used during a professional tennis match.

Since we have discussed more about the factors that result in tennis balls being expensive, let’s look at

Expensive Tennis Racket

A single racquet costs an average of $180-$250 to purchase a new racquet. However, you will also need regular maintenance of replacing the worn out or loose racquet string and that brings about the need to have an extra budget to fix the tennis racket.

Besides, pro tennis players always have at least 2 racquets for a tournament just in case there is the need to change the racquet during the match.

Expenses To Maintain Tennis Racquet Strings

The racquet string get loose due to frequent use. In worst case scenario a string can completely detach itself so you need the string fixed. The price for replacing a racquet string can on average can be about $15-$25. However, some extreme high quality string can cost at least $50 to fix a single string.

Tennis Courts Are Expensive

Normally, tennis court fee are charged per hour. Renting a tennis court is generally expensive and unaffordable to many. However, to somehow reduce the court fees you will be charged, it is worth joining their membership program to have unlimited court use at affordable prices.

Tennis Game Outfit Are Expensive

Tennis outfit can entail shorts, shirts, skirts, tops, shoes, and accessories such as headwear and wrist bands among others. The outfit are costly especially when a player has to participate in a real tournament other than normal practice.

For instance, Wimbledon dress code standards needs the attire to be pure white not off white or cream with a minimal allowance of color addition if any.

Tennis Court Dictates The Type Of Shoe To Wear.

Not all tennis shoes are multipurpose. Your normal shoes can easily cause you a foot injury in a court. You have to invest in a good sole shoes suitable for a court.

Tennis shoes specially meant to be worn for hard courts are very different from the shoes meant for a clay court. Thus, tennis players need to have several shoes to wear suitable for a tennis court.

Lack Of Sharing Expenses In Tennis

Since the players are few, definitely one incurs the huge cost of say renting a tennis court. Unlike other games that have so many players such as basketball, the facility renting cost is shared amongst all the members.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are tennis lessons so expensive?

Tennis lessons are so expensive because of the expensive tools and equipment you need to take a lesson. Tennis items you must have are expensive including tennis balls, rackets, shoes, and strings. Besides, it is expensive to rent a tennis court and being an individual player the cost is on you.


The reasons why tennis balls are expensive is because of the high cost of production, testing, storage, and even shipping just to mention a few as discussed above. Therefore, tennis game can be viewed as being expensive since you also need to rent a good court, buy the correct outfit, and maintain your tennis ball equipment. However, all is not lost since cheap tennis balls are available. You can also take advantage of discounted tennis balls, tennis ball deals such as tennis balls free shipping, and comparing tennis ball price for better deals among others.

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Brett Haber

My goal is simple: to immerse you in the world of tennis like never before. Whether it's analyzing the strategies of top players, delving into the history of the sport, or offering insightful commentary on current events, my words aim to entertain, inform, and ignite your own passion for tennis. Join me on this thrilling journey through the courts, and let's ace this adventure together!

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