This is my first official post as the CEO of the men’s International Racquetball Tour (IRT). In the past the title has been president, commissioner, director, and so forth. I prefer CEO because it comes across with more of a business-like tone.
As we move towards the season I feel it necessary for the sport to hear from me, get an idea of the direction we plan to move, and perhaps most importantly let the pro players know they do not now, nor will they ever work “for” me or the new entity. It’s quite the contrary. We work for the sport…together, and I will work like crazy for the players. It is my goal to get the players what they need, and in return we move the needle and create what I see as a renaissance in this great game. We all live in a world and sport that has been so sharply divided. We must stop that. We must work together for the same common goal. You’ll hear me say this over and over because it is my heart…it is my passion…and it is my focus.
So what are the goals here? What do we want to accomplish? What’s the purpose behind all of this? These questions and more have flooded in daily and are all very valid.
There are countless ways to answer all of that, so I’ll start here. The important areas of focus, in no particular order are the players, the fans, the sponsors, the directors, and growth. If we focus on the first four, then growth will happen. Each group has a specific focus. In-house subject matter experts have been assigned to each aspect. In a moment I’ll post the letter to the players, but before I do, know that YOU, the fans are the sport. You are who I work for. There will be some things I can’t talk about, but overall know that my goal is to be transparent…very transparent. I plan to talk with you not to you. I will be as available as I possibly can. My email is changing shortly, but for now you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend me on Facebook, and message me if that’s easier. I don’t care how we communicate, but know that we are all in this together, and your feedback is greatly welcome!
Dear Players- Nothing brings me more pleasure than to be typing this email. The dust has settled from the announcement, and we are ready to hit the ground running. I first want to thank the team of investors who have placed their money where their heart is. Rick Betts, Cindy Tilbury, Dean Baer, Sal Perconti, and Bob Blumenshine along with myself are extremely excited about the future of the pro sport. I think you all know the passion that we bring, the desire we have to see this be successful, and my personal goals for you all. Here’s the truth…I will NEVER lie to you. I will work for you and the sport, and together we will be successful.
I couldn’t be more humbled to be in this position, and I am thankful to you all for the past years of support. The players keep us accountable and together we are the Tour.
So let’s cut to the chase here. What are some new earnings opportunities for you?
End of year bonuses will be paid out at the end of the season to the top 8. The bonuses will be paid out on a scale that is weighted by events played. If you miss an event (Tier 1 or Grand Slam) it will cost you some bonus money. If you end the year in the top 8, and make each of the events, you will be paid a bonus of $2000 from the Tour. If you miss an event it will be less. If you miss three or more events your bonus money will be forfeited and paid equally to the others who qualify.
The Top 8 also will now be paid to be a celebrity endorser. This program will pay the players as new, outside industry money comes in. If the Tour sells a partnership for outside industry companies at $12,500, then $2500 of that money will go to a player. The player that gets the money must be in good standing with the IRT, agree to meet the new partner’s standards, and promote themselves as being sponsored by company xyz. Some partners may pick one of the Top 8, should that player want the opportunity. If the Tour picks the player we will do a random preseason drawing on the order in which they qualify. Note that the partner and player must be compatible. For example a bald person would be disqualified for a hair care product. Every player will know the order in which they stand prior to the season. If you get passed over because of any reason, then you will be the next on the list. If you’re on the bubble and fall out of the Top 8, then the new ranked player is in your position. Note that a partner may also pick two of the Top 8 as well, and when there are larger contracts and thus more endorsement money, more than one person could be sponsored by the same person/company.
Commissions are now a real opportunity. ANY outside industry sponsor a player brings the IRT, (it could be a partner or advertiser), will get you 18% monthly commissions, and 2% will be paid monthly to the rest of the players in the 1-12 ranking positions. This means that if you bring a partner who pays $12,500, you would get the $2500 for the endorsement, and $1800 for the commission. The rest of the players 1-12 will split the two percent, which would be $200. This may not seem like a lot, but imagine how large that gets when multiple partners/advertisers are brought on. If you bring in an advertiser that is at the $500 monthly level, you would get $90..every single month. Keep in mind the power of Enet because advertisers we sell for the IRT, gets all of the rest of Enet for FREE! You don’t have to be a Top 8 player to qualify.
There is a lot of communications coming your way, but earnings questions are the number one questions being asked by the players.
Upcoming future communications will detail other initiatives such as the Junior Player Initiative, Reaching Your Dreams and Rapha House charitable work, a Best of the Court Doubles Series, possible combined events with the LPRT, CBS Sports broadcasts, and possible player health insurance benefits. Note that these are all programs we are working on and not all are confirmed.
Lastly this isn’t a one-man band operation anymore. We are looking to hire a deputy commissioner, event promoters, and create a new board. We have already hired staff writers, and a high-end communication consultant who comes to us as the current EVP of Public Relations from a large company.
Thank you all for your time. We can’t wait to get out there with you…together!