- Freddy Ramirez
When I wrote my decade review of racquetball, I started out acknowledging that I was in wonder about what things will look like for racquetball in the coming decade, noting that I don't think they will look at all like it does now. But I may be wrong about that. Or just really wrong in the degree at which I made the emphasis.
The Professional Squash Association has just signed an investment deal with Fun With Balls, a German based company that has been developing a technology that allows a vast creative swing in what is basically a very old type of human play, sending a ball towards a wall.
Now while Fun With Balls rightly have developed a wide range of targets for this tech and adaptable scenarios like shopping malls, there has been a ton of traction with the game of Squash. FWB, while developing the product has also been creating engagement through Interactive Squash, in what appears to be an arm of FWB, where they promote using the tech for training, activities with kids, and facilitating adaptation with clubs and organizations. I'll note here they have developed it for racquetball, though the dying availability of courts may likely be realized before this is incorporated. Through this time, FWB developed the concept even further and created eSquash, a whole new take on the game of squash. Think squash and digital gaming. eSquash, which is being conceptualized as a global league, will hold its first ever tournament at MSquash Accelerator, a state of the art squash academy that is an early adopter of the tech located in New York State.
What makes this all seem crazy to me is how egames have exploded over this past decade. All kinds of competitions are played globally and have segued into huge adaption by drone enthusiasts also. So, when I think about this angle, I see things getting drastically different for the world of wall sports this coming decade.
This new deal between the PSA and FWB is not really a new deal. It a next step into the big time. (FB Video.) These guys have been working together for years. Now where the PSA has been getting it right media-wise, they have been getting it righter with focusing on the little details that build engagement with diehard fans. Heart monitors on players that allow commentators to help assess conditioning during key rallies would be one example. The work over the years with Fun with Balls goes deeper still with adapting the technology for statistical tracking during matches, player movement and behavior in great depth. Like really progressive stuff. Now add the official inclusion of the technology to continuously project content onto the glass inbetween and during matches for a highly developed, engaging product and you have a doorway to huge access by more and more people.
This is what racquet wall sports will be this coming decade. Interactivity, and a fulfillment in the way we are growing to be able to process information while we watch things and pass our time.
For racquetball, or shall I say, those who are now charged with modeling the sport forward, I'm seeing a decade where the rug gets pulled right from under them.