Quarantennis - How EssentiallySports is Setting Out to Bridge the gap between Tennis Players and the Fans
At the start of 2020, the coronavirus outbreak wreaked havoc on sports across the world, and Tennis was no different. The jam-packed Tennis calendar was thrust into limbo and the tour resumed after 4 months, albeit with empty stands. The direct Fan engagement factor, being critical to an individual sport like Tennis, took a major hit, and it was evident that the players were missing the energy of the crowds.
As fans became increasingly disengaged from their favorite stars, it was interesting to see new products from the existing Media houses in the ever-evolving fan engagement space. The digital media hemisphere is a critical facet in driving sustained growth in Tennis, and creative Media houses in this space are exigent. EssentiallySports, a leading Media house for Tennis, is one such example. EssentiallySports has entered the fray, attempting to bridge the widening gap between players and fans by introducing an interview series, "Quarantennis - Bridging the Broken Strings."
The fans, in these unprecedented times, have embraced the digital space, appreciating content that takes them closer to their idols. In the first season of Quarantennis, it was interesting to see the athletes dive deeper into their daily routines, and talk about their experience with the "new normal" while ensuring that they stayed on top of their game. Through Quarantennis, EssentiallySports sought to delve deeper into the ins and outs of professional tennis by interviewing players, coaches, and trainers, "just like strings interwoven into a racquet," as EssentiallySports stipulates on their website.
The Delta variant has already impacted several countries around the world, and sports is one of the major industries threatened yet again. Hence, following the positive response received on the Quarantennis last year, EssentiallySports is launching the second season of 'Quarantennis - Bridging the Broken Strings' this year.
The premiere season of Quarantennis had a noteworthy lineup that included Noah Rubin (Former junior Wimbledon champion), Alize Cornet (Former junior French Open champion), Hubert Hurkacz (the current World No. 16 and Miami Open champion), Patrick Mouratoglou (Current coach of Serena Williams, Coco Gauff and Stefanos Tsitsipas; arguably considered as one of the best tennis coaches in the world), and ATP physio, Carlos Costa.
The stars had provided interesting insights into their offseason activities as well, helping fans get closer to the person off the court. Patrick Mouratoglou, one of the more successful tennis coaches, showcased his entrepreneurial spirit while bringing up the importance of unique tennis events during the pandemic. Patrick was also vocal about the changes and the revamp necessary for the growth of Tennis. "This idea, I had for quite a while, because I think tennis needs something new. And I'm gonna explain why. I'm not saying that the ATP and the WTA and the Grand Slams are not doing a good job. They're doing a great job. Because they're satisfying their fanbase which is you, me, and all the fans following your website."
Polish tennis player Hubert Hurkacz, who defeated Roger Federer in the quarter-finals of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, had opened up about idolizing the legend during his childhood. "Yeah, I mean Roger is an amazing person. The way he plays is pretty unbelievable. So the way he hits the ball and the shots he selects, it's tough to implement the things he does on the court. But you can learn from him a lot." He also answered some fans' questions from social media. When asked about the most difficult situation for him - beating Roger Federer on grass, beating Novak Djokovic on hard courts, or beating Rafael Nadal on clay, he said, "Well, I mean it's probably the toughest to beat Rafa on clay court. Especially at the French Open, that would be so etching special especially my game which is not suited for the clay-court obviously I grew up playing in clay courts but my game is better suited to faster pace."
With its first Quarantennis season, EssentiallySports, a seemingly digital-first media company, had certainly transcended borders and got the fans closer to their favourite sports stars. Encouraged by the response from the premiere season and a clear-cut intent to develop a novel tennis podcast, EssentiallySports have now announced the upcoming season of Quarantennis, which will premiere post-Paralympics. For a Sport like Tennis, which has lately struggled to attract a younger audience, the digital fan engagement space is extremely critical to its growth. It will be interesting to see how a digital-first media company like EssentiallySports, aids the growth of Tennis moving forward through novel digital fan engagement ventures.