Sparc is a genuine virtual sport that has been hailed as one of the best, most active games available for virtual reality. A unique, physical sport in which players connect online to compete in fast-paced, full-body VR gameplay, Sparc took the top prize in the fourth edition of the Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge—a “Shark Tank”-like competition to identify the most innovative and creative product or service in the tennis industry.
Presented by the Tennis Industry Association (TIA), the Innovation Challenge took place during inaugural Racquet & Paddle Sports Conference at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. Three companies, which had been selected from more than 30 overall applicants for this fourth Innovation Challenge, each gave a five-minute presentation on what makes their tennis product or service special, unique and important to the growth of the sport.
The first Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge was held in March 2017 at the Tennis Owners & Managers (TOM) Conference in Orlando, Fla., and was won by Tennibot (tennibot.com), a robotic tennis ball collector. The second Challenge, held in August 2017 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. The third Challenge, held during the TOM Conference in April 2018 in Charleston, S.C., was won by Tweener Lighting (tweener-lighting.com), a unique LED system that attaches to existing fencing around tennis and other sport courts.
The inaugural Racquet & Paddle Sports Conference (racquetpaddlesportsshow.com) was held Jan. 23-25 in Orlando, co-located with the PGA Merchandise Show. The multi-faceted tennis, racquet and paddle sports industry event—organized by the TIA (tennisindustry.org) and Reed Exhibitions—featured a hands-on product demo experience and opening welcome party at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona; a curated ONE2ONE buying event; the 2019 TOM Conference; and an exhibit pavilion of racquet, paddle and tennis vendors and organizations at the Orange County Convention Center.