A couple of weeks ago on a bus, I was in a conversation about getting content out to racquetball fans. In using the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour as an example, I put out that even though it wasn't the the ideal quality, I appreciated that they where trying to get matches to fans via streaming. And as the discussion progressed, I was swayed a bit on that view when we talked about branding and attracting money. As I tried to amend my view as that of a fan who was hungry to see something - anything, I knew I felt differently about what I saw in relation to what my thoughts are now about what I saw. (I had quite a few of these thought changing moments that week.)
When you are trying to do something you love, and grow it, there may be a lot of trial and error. Yet, as you continue to do it, you learn how to keep a handle on the quality you want while you try new things. Case in point. I sat in on an audio press conference for the 23rd Annual Garden City Turkey IRT Shootout yesterday. Basically, it was a conference call with selected players, the tournament organizers and the IRT Network, to allow for questions and build up for the event. It was a recorded call that could allow for any interesting exchanges to be shared publicly, maybe rolled up into a broadcast.
Initially, I was just in check out mode. But as the questions started to roll with the players, my mind started thinking the What If's... What if this was a video conference with panels where you could see everyone? What if there where more players on the call? What if there where more interest from the mainstream press? What if there was more lead time into this and the event? And as the conference progressed, and I heard that the local convention and visitor's bureau (Finney County...I looked it up,) had provided the organizers with a grant for the event, the last What If started popping ideas into my head for IRT Stop tournament directors. With some lead time this would be a great tool for them to get sponsors and local media involved with the right approach. I started seeing potential for this and potential for that, then I sorta just left it there because that isn't my thing. I was left thinking it was a good first step for not only building interest but building content too. Controllable and scalable. Smart. I'm looking forward to seeing where the IRT and the Network take it.
Having read that Kane Waselenchuk wasn't going, I naturally thought, the conference would have been a good opportunity to hear his voice explain why he was missing this event. Though I was surprised to hear he was going at all.
I was sitting in a hotel lobby the Sunday night after the conclusion of the US Open in Minneapolis. It was pretty late. The waiter brings over a drink and tells me it's from the gentleman at the bar. It happens to Kane, who was sitting with his boy Tyron. Naturally, I set down my laptop and walk over. I figure, if, I'm gonna drink, I'll do with them...seeing it as an opportunity to show my thanks and to get to chat with Waselenchuk. Admittedly, he's probably one of the only players I haven't at least had some sort of extended conversation with, out of the touring guys. Besides it being just a cool, laid back convo with them, I got some insight into the guy Kane. I also found out that he had tweaked his back while playing. He described it in detail and it became kind of good that his familial obligation was keeping him from Michigan. Though in my mind I guess, I had him coming back in New Jersey.
I don't think it's a serious thing, just something that has to be respected and viewed in the grand scheme of his ride. I personally wouldn't put any weight on it as far as how he will play. If he's doing the right things, it will be the Kane we expect. I do add a "though" to that however. I don't think motivation will be a problem... but it's something to watch. I feel comfortable saying that about Rocky too... so it's not directed just to him. I'm looking at motivation coming into play when I think of the new crop nudging up the rankings.
If you want to know more details about the IRT Rankings, read some straight forward info at The Racquetball Blog. If you're looking for some interesting build up to Kane's next event, watch this weekend on the IRT Network.