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Tennis Industry Gears Up for 'Innovation Challenge' At 2018 Conference in Charleston

8 Nov, 2017


Visionaries with new, innovative products, software or services designed to grow the sport and business of tennis with players, consumers and fans can submit their pitch in the “Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge—2018.”

This unique competition will take place at the Fifth Annual TOM (Tennis Owners & Managers) Conference, which will be April 8-11 at Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, S.C.

Sponsored by the Tennis Industry Association (TIA), this will be the third edition of the Innovation Challenge. The first competition was held at the TOM Conference last March and was won by Tennibot (tennibot.com), a robotic tennis ball collector. The second Challenge, held in August in New York City during the 2017 US Open, was won by In/Out (inout.tennis), a line-calling device that fits on any netpost.

“Through our 2017 Innovation Challenge competitions, we were thrilled to discover and to help promote both the Tennibot ball collector and the In/Out line-calling device,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “Innovation needs to be at the heart of the tennis industry if we’re to continue to move this sport forward.”

For the 2018 competition, from now through Jan. 1, companies and individuals can complete a short Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge application at tennisindustry.org/innovation describing their new, innovative product or service. There is no charge to apply for the Innovation Challenge.

On Monday, April 9, finalists from the online application process will have the opportunity to present their new product or service to a panel of judges—and in front of an audience of tennis industry leaders—in a “Shark Tank”-like competition to be held during the TOM Conference. (For more information and to register for the TOM Conference, visit TheTOMConference.com.) 

Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge finalists will receive media exposure through the TIA leading up to the TOM Conference. The winner of the Innovation Challenge 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, president of Salum International Resources and the tennis industry liaison to the SportsCouncil Silicon Valley (SCSV). The SCSV is an exclusive group that operates as a marketplace for elite sports organizations and technology start-ups focused on sports.

The TOM Conference, presented by the TIA, is designed for tennis owners, managers and industry decision-makers with a focus on innovation, growth and business leadership. The TOM continues to grow each year, with more and different programming and interactive presentations, and will include top experts and consultants both in and outside of the tennis industry.

In addition to educational sessions and specialty courses (CEU credits are available from PTR and USPTA), the TOM Conference will also include a Resource Center, “best practices” roundtable discussions, leadership and facility management sessions, presentations on equipment and technology, networking sessions, future of tennis and technology applications, digital and social media discussions, and more.

The conference will also include on-court demos and/or discussions for short-court forms of tennis such as POP Tennis, paddle, pickleball and padel. In addition, winners of Tennis Industry magazine’s Champions of Tennis Awards will be recognized at the TOM. The first day of the TOM Conference also will be the finals at the nearby Volvo Car Open women’s tournament on Daniel Island, S.C.

“The TOM Conference program is designed to help position industry businesses for future growth,” de Boer says. “We’re pleased to see the TOM continue to grow each year, both in terms of tennis facility decision-makers and the industry experts who attend, along with the actionable content, tools and take-aways delivered.”

Register for the TOM conference by Nov. 20 for early-bird discount at TheTOMConference.com. Contact the TIA for more information at 843-686-3036 or email info@tennisindustry.org.

For more information on the Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge—2018, view the application at tennisindustry.org/innovation or email innovation@tennisindustry.org.

About the TIA: The Tennis Industry Association, the not-for-profit trade association for tennis, is THE unifying force in the tennis industry whose mission is to promote the growth and economic vitality of the business of tennis by working closely with its industry partners and in support of the USTA in their development of initiatives to increase tennis participation. Core TIA activities include producing more than 70 U.S. and global research reports annually on participation and consumer/trade research, managing the largest relational database, along with hosting annual TIA Tennis Forum, Leadership meetings and the T.O.M. Conference at major tournaments and events. Visit TennisIndustry.org or call 866-686-3036.

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