Something that kind of slid in under the radar this month was the announced partnership agreement between the International Racquetball Federation and the World Racquetball Tour. The info was put out right before US National Doubles weekend and Mexican Nationals.
“This is a big step forward for the IRF in having the opportunity to deliver high quality streaming of our events for our athletes and the fans. We look forward to providing high quality broadcasts with the WRT team that will be available free for all viewers. This is very positive for the IRF as we continue to develop the sport on the world stage.” - Luke St. Onge, IRF Secretary General
“We feel this is a great opportunity to help promote racquetball worldwide. We are excited, because this alliance supports our mission to grow the sport by showcasing player talent. We look forward to working with the IRF and PARC.” - Pablo Fajre, CEO and founder of the WRT
This is a unique arrangement in that the WRT has now unofficially become a media production company. They are now in-house broadcasting for another organization that in effect, has deeper access to the types of players they are intent on focusing on. It now becomes for them, just a show up and "do production" endeavor, opening the door to being able to focus on a myriad of commercial possibilities. If they can access companies that are now supporting some players from Mexico and South America, they could piece-meal their way to growth.
"Mexico is the leading nation when it comes to racquetball. That can't be debated." - John Ellis during a recent podcast. He went on to point to different aspects of growth such as program building, club building, court building, portable court building. South American countries are also following this trend. With this, more interest in looking at racquetball for businesses as we see in some of the things that are happening with Paola and her endeavors. The WRT, basically a tour, can now role up it's offerings into an appealing package internationally.
That also goes for any players that can take advantage of how they are placing in these events. Looking at the IRF World Rankings, the men in particular, there could be opportunity for US team members who can get aggressive enough to seek them out to capitalize on their fame and the potential to sell what might happen in this arrangement.
The WRT may not have the world's best players, but they access some amazing ones. This agreement will allow them to access not only more, but a myriad of ages and divisions. This is a move that puts them closer to doing what they say they do, which is grow the sport.