Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge to Return

The fourth edition of the popular Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge—which showcases some of the most brilliant new and innovative sports products and services designed to grow the sport and business of tennis with players, consumers and fans—will take place during a major industry/facility conference in Orlando Jan. 23-25.

Presented by the Tennis Industry Association, the Innovation Challenge is a “Shark Tank”-like competition to identify the most innovative and creative product or service in the tennis industry.

Starting Aug. 27, the first day of play at the US Open, the application process will open for companies and individuals to complete a short Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge form at TennisIndustry.org/Innovation describing their new, innovative product, software or service. There is no charge to apply. The application process will close Oct. 15.

Innovation Challenge judges will examine each application then choose finalists, who will present in person at the January conference in Orlando in front of a panel of judges and an industry audience, including potential investors. The winner will receive a cash prize from the TIA, along with national exposure.

“The Innovation Challenge is designed to provide a showcase to the most creative products that can increase awareness, engagement and participation in tennis, as well as improving playing performance,” says Carlos Salum, president of Salum International Resources and a member of the SportsCouncil Silicon Valley, who is the moderator for the Innovation Challenge. “Like our previous editions of the Challenge, we expect our applicants for this fourth edition will embody this spirit of innovation, and we again look forward to strong presentations that connect with the tennis industry audience.” 

The first Innovation Challenge was held at the TOM Conference in March 2017 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 competition, held April at the TOM Conference in Charleston, was won by Tweener Lighting (tweener-lighting.com), a unique LED system that attaches to existing fencing around tennis and other sport courts.

Tennibot has recently seen major success in fund-raising and exposure, including coverage in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Mashable and sporttechie.com. The In/Out device also has been featured on CNN.com and Bloomberg.com, among other media outlets.

Past judges for the Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge have included: Rishi Bhatnagar, CEO of Syntelli Solutions; Julien Bin, CEO and co-founder of SportsCouncil Silicon Valley; Walid Fattah, entrepreneur and co-founder of Kourts; Dr. Mark Kovacs, a performance physiologist, researcher, author and coach; Mac Lackey, entrepreneur, executive at SportsEngine and chairman of ISL Futbol; Dr. Stuart Miller, senior executive director of the International Tennis Federation; and Royce Wolfe, principal of Thru Traffic Marketing LLC.

Visit TennisIndustry.org/Innovation for more information about the Innovation Challenge.