Meet the IRT Partners: Buying Local in the Racqietball Community
What’s the best way to create great racquetball products? Go where the players are, know what they like, what they need, and what they want from equipment, gear, and clothes. As the appeal and popularity of racquetball trends up, part of the reason is the increasing. “We spend a lot of time talking about and engaging with our fans, pro players, and events,” says Jason Mannino, former World Champion and President of the men’s professional International Racquetball Tour (IRT), the governing body of men’s professional racquetball.
The IRT serves as the uniting force for connecting players, tournaments, fans, and partners—with the goal of helping them all enjoy success. Whether it’s helping amateurs and fans love the game or providing pros with a bevy of Tier 1 competitions or assisting event directors with hosting a successful tournament, the IRT’s goal is to improve all facets of the racquetball world.
Partnerships with leading racquetball-related companies help that goal, by revolutionizing the ball with the ProPenn HD introduction, equipping players with the latest technology sold at RacquetballWarehouse.com, offering IRT branded lifestyle sportswear from WearROLLOUT.com, and sponsoring tournaments to bring pros to local clubs, like May’s ProKennex Tournament of Champions at the MAC in Portland.
It’s a mutually beneficial relationship, as both the IRT and companies work together to promote the sport and increase awareness about their specific products, such as balls, racquets, clothing, and other merchandise.
Here are some reasons why these companies feel their connection to the IRT is important:
“Our partnership with the IRT is a key marketing element for both our HEAD and Penn brands. PENN has been the Official Ball of the IRT for many years and …on the HEAD side, our Tour Partnership affords us the opportunity to showcase our premium performance racquets, gloves, eyeguards, bags, shoes, and accessories to a true worldwide audience. In addition, we also support the IRT by sponsoring top ranked pro players such as Rocky Carson and Tony Carson. With these elite players on tour full time, our total IRT relationship circles back onto the court where the superior performance of our products can truly shine.”-Ben Simons, Senior Product Manager of HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports, acknowledging the symbiotic relationship with the IRT and pro players
“Ektelon sees great value in our relationship with the IRT. We believe that it’s extremely important that we not only support the strongest organization in the sport, but also participate at IRT events where the top players in the game compete and the most fans in the sport are present.” -Scott Winters of Ektelon explaining how the relationships between the IRT and its partners are a win-win for everyone
Pro Kennex Racquetball is proud to be affiliated with the International Racquetball Tour and we are excited to be the Title Sponsor for the end of the season Tournament of Champions. Through our partnership we are able to support the sport further by providing an avenue of professional competition and also allows us an opportunity to showcase our brand and products at events with onsite displays and representatives for all levels of tournament players.”
–Michael Martinez, President and CEO of Pro Kennex North America
“Rollout is proud to be an IRT partner, and through our lifestyle marketing approach, we have been able to create a merchandise line for fans of the IRT to be able to show their love of professional racquetball.” -Jonathan Clay, President of ROLLOUT explaining how pro players benefit, and how amateurs and fans also get special treatment
“I joined Dunlop after the company identified racquetball as one of several key growth opportunities, and we’ve gone full steam developing premium racquets, balls, and a full range of accessories that match my style of game: exciting, innovative, disruptive, and flat out cool. Partnering with the IRT is a natural way to get the word out.” -Sudsy Monchik, Category Manager for Dunlop and five-time IRT #1 World Champion on how the partnership with the IRT is a boon to those in the racquetball product business
The IRT recognizes the many facets that make racquetball a great sport—the players, both pro and amateur, the event directors, the fans, and the partners. “Without our partners, we could not survive. So when you’re looking to buy your next racquet, glove, shirt, or any racquetball related gear, please try products that are made by our partners,” says Mannino. “Supporting our partners is supporting the IRT and racquetball.”