Three finalists have been chosen to present at the fourth Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge, which will be held on Thursday, Jan. 24, during the Racquet & Paddle Sports Conference in Orlando, FL.
AccuTennis, PlayTennisConnect and SPARC–Virtual Tennis will present five-minute pitches about their new product or service to a panel of judges—and in front of an audience of tennis and racquet sports industry leaders—in a “Shark Tank”-like competition to determine a winner.
“We’re excited to see the presentations of our three finalists,” says Jolyn de Boer, executive director of the Tennis Industry Association (TIA), which sponsors the competition. “This is our fourth edition of the Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge, and we’ve seen some amazing products and services come to light that are designed to help this sport and industry grow.”
This edition of the Innovation Challenge attracted 31 applicants. The showdown with the finalists will take place at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) during the inaugural Racquet & Paddle Sports Conference (racquetpaddlesportsshow.com), held Jan. 23-25, which will also include the TIA’s sixth annual Tennis Owners & Managers (TOM) Conference.
For industry professionals, registration is free for the Racquet & Paddle Sports Conference (RAPS), which will include attendance at the Tennis Innovation Challenge Session on Jan. 24, starting at 8:30 a.m. at the OCCC. A separate fee is required for attendance and participation in the educational TOM Conference (register at racquetpaddlesportsshow.com).
The three finalists who will present at the OCCC are:
* AccuTennis (accutennis.com), which uses a computer vision system to provide live feedback for recreational and competitive players, while also engaging coaches, players, parents and fans and allowing them to analyze, track and watch players through video replay, shot analysis and live-streaming.
* The PlayTennisConnect app (www.foundationtennis.com), which is a complete business management system for providers, allowing facilities and their players to find, book and pay for court time, lessons and events. The app provides an integrated experience for players while offering facilities a branded application to promote their business.
* SPARC (www.virtualsports.international), a virtual reality athletic game that marries screen VR technology with intense broad-spectrum physical competition, designed to engage kids and others who may not otherwise try or stay with conventional tennis, by providing an alternative path to tennis participation.
The Innovation Challenge winner will receive $1,000, a national press release to thousands of news outlets with a potential reach to millions of consumers, coverage in Tennis Industry magazine, a one-year TIA membership, and additional exposure through industry marketing and social media channels.
The Innovation Challenge will again be moderated by Carlos Salum, who is president of Salum International Resources, a leadership performance strategy consultancy based in Charlotte, N.C. Salum, who organizes leadership events as founder of TheSircle Executive Club, also consults in sports technology with the SportsCouncil Silicon Valley, N3XT Sports and leAD Sports Accelerator. He also has coached professional tennis players, including Grand Slam champions Gabriela Sabatini and Sergi Bruguera.