By all measuring sticks, the experiment was a rousing success. Could the 2020 Racquet & Paddle Sports Show co-exist successfully with the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando?
After racquet sports professionals, industry leaders, facility suppliers, and product manufacturers from around the world conclude four productive days of merchandise sourcing, product testing, education seminars and professional networking Friday, the answer is a resounding yes. The 2020 Racquet & Paddle Sports Show shared the OCCC with the PGA Show with both benefiting.
“I would say the Racquet & Paddle Show was an unequivocal success and got along nicely with the PGA Golf Show,” observed Australian-born Craig Morris, CEO of the United States Tennis Association’s Community Tennis initiative. “I’m not certain how much crossover there was between the two shows in the convention center, but it seemed as if both had their own identity and fared well.”
The Racquet & Paddle Sports Show had a very strong education component, a nice schedule of exhibitions and challenge competitions, and a good mix of special events that helped industry professionals connect with one another and exchange teaching, coaching and business best practices. So I would judge that a nice success.”
Morris participated in a panel discussion regarding the American Development Model for training young athletes on the PGA Forum Stage at the PGA Merchandise Show floor. Meanwhile, 2011 PGA Teacher of the Year Mike Malaska joined Sean Davis, vice president of RacquetFit, in a presentation on the Racquet & Paddle Sports education stage to discuss the benefit of proper fitness, nutrition and exercise to maximize your performance in all sports, including golf, tennis and all racquet sports.
“The value of a proper workout applies to many sports,” said Malaska. “Regardless of what sport you play, the most important piece of equipment is your body. Your body must be properly prepared to compete at whatever level you wish to compete. It’s equally important to a professional golfer as it is to a professional tennis player. You must be able to perform the skills necessary to compete without harming your body. That means what work you do in the gym is important in all sports.”
The Racquet & Paddle Sports Show began on Tuesday with its Demo Day – The Lake Nona Experience – conducted at the USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in suburban Orlando, where hands-on product testing from leading equipment companies, campus tours and networking with industry professionals filled out the day.
On Wednesday, the Racquet & Paddle Sports Show moved to its co-location with the PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center, where it took place through Friday. Show attendees explored the products from nearly 100 market-leading racquet, paddle and tennis vendors, presenting the newest innovations, products and services in apparel, accessories, footwear, fitness & more on the Show floor.
The Racquet & Paddle Sports Show also featured a multi-sport NEXT Court for various demonstrations, two hitting bays for equipment testing, complimentary industry presentations on the Main Stage and in the Retail Studio; and extensive educational programming, including the Tennis Owners & Managers (TOM) Conference, presented by the TIA, and the Complimentary Regional Education Day (Jan. 22), presented by USTA Florida, USPTA Florida and RacquetFit.
Two of the biggest names in table tennis headlined a Killerspin UnplugNPlay Table Tennis Tournament at the Racquet Show Wednesday through Friday. Brazilian Table Tennis Champion and staff Killerspin Professional Filipe Morita and Ilija Lupulesku (LUPI), the winner of more than 40 Olympic, International and National Championships titles were on hand for exhibition matches each day. Lupi is the most accomplished table tennis player to ever live in the United States. Show attendees also played in an UnplugNPlay tournament in the demonstration area.
A special Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge took place Thursday on the main stage of the Racquet & Paddle Show. Racquet innovators presented a five-minute pitch about their new product or service to a panel of industry judges in a shark tank-like competition to determine a winner.