The sports tech world is booming and is getting a lot of attention form clubs, federations and the investment world lately. Apart from many applications in fan engagement, statistics tracking and media solutions, some startups also completely redefine how sports are played in the future. At ISPO, the German startup behind the product interactiveSQUASH today announced another milestone in this trend of mixed reality sports with the launch of their own global league.
InteractiveSQUASH is a platform-based solution that upgrades any squash court to a fully interactive gaming and training environment, tracking every ball and interaction in the court. Apart from making squash much more appealing to a wider audience, the startup created a real game-changer for the “old sport” and even reversed the downward participation trend in some countries. With the creation of the first mixed reality league based on a real sport, they now aim at structuring the growing demand for events and global and competition for any player to participate in.
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Founder Markos Aristides Kern: We knew from the beginning that our courts attract a much wider audience and that people love playing and competing on a global scale. Within our app, we already saw great engagement and fierce competition between some centres and counties started in our leaderboards. This even led to first events in Holland and the US being organized with the sole purpose to have players take over the first spots. A global league always was on our map. The pull from the scene just now led us to start a little earlier than planned which also comes with a few other upgrades of the systems we will release earlier also.
The new league will be based on a new competition format where up to 32 players based on very short rounds of 5 minutes, leading up to the final which will be a 25-minute match. The played games will be based on FWB’s successful games and the learnings the company made from their 40+ games which are active on the system already. The competition is free to enter starting at the age of 14 and there will be no restrictions based on ranking. With the first events in the USA, Holland and Germany already starting in March, the company today opened the registration for players which will be free at this point.
eSports veteran Änna West who’s been overseeing the Fifa eWorldCup and joined FWB recently: What we see is a grace change in consumer preference and even in a classic sport like squash, the younger generations want more. More Action, more experience and more competition with a lower entry barrier to start at.
Mixing both worlds or real athletic sports with exciting gaming on a global scale is a highly interesting new category. We completely rethink how this is normally done, just like we did with our products so far, and strongly believe this will bring a lot of value to events, venues, brands and the whole sport in general.
Marc Veldkamp (Court Performance) about new entertainment formats and tournaments today:
Looking at recent developments like the Peloton IPO and the frenzy around eSports, this move sure is a very interesting one and shows how innovative ideas can shape the way we will be active and interact in the future.