POSTED: August 27th 2013
ViewPoint

'Pop Up' squash courts an innovative way to increase popularity of potential Olympic-bound sport

The squash area fits right into store locations / Squash 2020
The squash area fits right into store locations / Squash 2020

Makes for a healthy break from shopping / Squash 2020
Makes for a healthy break from shopping / Squash 2020

CHAD WISE / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) The Big Hit ‘pop up’ squash shop campaign aims to introduce people to the sport while simultaneously transforming empty retail spaces into useful high street squash courts.

The initiative, launched by England Squash & Racquetball, has received interest from shops across the United Kingdom, with a trial to begin soon before offers are given to players for free squash sessions at nearby clubs and leisure centres.

“We were inundated from shopping centres across the country after our first ‘pop up’ squash shop was shown on BBC TV,” England Squash & Racquetball Chief Executive Officer Nick Rider said. “The coverage led to the opportunity to have a month-long shop at Westfield Stratford, Europe’s largest shopping centre next to the Olympic stadium in London.”

“This is the perfect way to utilise empty retail space around the country,” England Squash & Racquetball Head of Development Steve Amos said. “We are able to reach out to the public in a completely different way and five them the opportunity to try squash.

“Not only are we raising the profile of our sport but also introducing people to their nearest courts and Big Hit session. ‘Pop Up’ squash is part of the wider Big Hit campaign that works with public facilities and clubs to help increase participation.

“’Pop Up’ squash is a concept that could easily be replicated across the world and is an initiative that England Squash & Racquetball are extremely proud of and would encourage other federations to try.”

“It think it’s a great idea,” England’s world number two-ranked Laura Massaro said. “Squash is the perfect sport to put in the ‘shop window’ and because we play on courts not much bigger than a shop, the experience for shoppers to pick up a racket and have a go gives them a real feel for how much fun the game can be.

“Makin good use of unused retail space to get people playing squash is another example of how squash is willing to innovate and attract new people to this fun and exciting sport. I can’t wait to try out the courts for myself.”

“England have hit upon a new and innovative way to get people into squash, which hopefully will further increase participation in the sport as well as inspire people to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

“With less than two weeks to go until the IOC vote, this is yet another example of how the squash community is looking to innovate and engage new participants as well as hopefully create a new generation of squash stars.”

Squash – along with baseball/softball and wrestling – are the three sports shortlisted for inclusion in the Olympic Programme beginning with the 2020 Olympic Summer Games. The International Olympic Committee will vote on which sport is to be added at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires 8 September.


Keywords · Squash · United Kingdom · England · International Olympic Committee · IOC · Olympics ·


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