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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Needing the 5,000: Aussies target new supporters

Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad, the Kent Open and co-promoter of the Canary Wharf Classic. Launched the Squash 200 Partnership to build clubs of the future. Talks a bit.

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Squash Victoria reaches out to bring all players, fans and families into the fold

By Alan Thatcher, Squash Mad Editor

Here at Squash Mad we are always delighted to share great ideas to help grow the game. Data capture is obviously an important factor in helping the sport to know who is playing squash and racketball, and is a key step in being able to communicate with our own audience.

Just think of the opportunities that would have existed had the internet been around in the 1980s when we had close to three million players in the UK.

Rex Hedrick promotes the Target 5000 project at the Westerfolds Club in Templestowe, Melbourne

In Australia, Squash And Racquetball Victoria (SRV) has launched a new campaign aimed at increasing its membership base and engaging with casual participants of both sports.

Having launched the project in October, ‘Target 5,000’ is a campaign aiming to get 5,000 registered supporters of squash and racquetball in the state of Victoria by mid-December.

As is the case for all sports, membership numbers are crucial for the state’s peak squash and racquetball body in retaining vital government funding, as well as demonstrating that squash and racquetball are thriving and prosperous sports.

The Target 5000 campaign has already seen clubs, venues, associations, current members and players take an active role in driving the initiative, with details of casual players collected and new memberships registered with SRV for as low as two dollars.

SRV Executive Director Fiona Young said the campaign, which has seen squash legends Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Geoff Hunt lend their support, was all about capitalising on the existing interest in the two sports.

“Target 5000 is around building our supporter base here at SRV,” Young said.

“We have a number of registered players, but we know there a lot more people who are involved with the sports and support the sports, from the point of view of being parents, spectators, venue operators, all those sorts of things, and we want to try and capture those people in our numbers as well.

“It’s important for SRV in terms of funding; we sit in a particular tier and that’s monitored by our membership data base. Obviously the more members we have, then the better opportunity to move up a tier, and the better opportunity to attract more in the way of funding from Government and other agencies.”

Despite the campaign being still in its infancy, Young said the early signs pointed to the campaign having a positive effect.

“We’ve had a few people say they’re going to give people early Christmas presents, signing them up as a supporter of squash and racquetball,” Young said.

“Venue operators are doing the simple thing of having the sheet out on the front counter and asking people as they come in as casual players renting courts to sign up; they’re obviously playing the game and enjoying it, so for $2 why not support it.

“We are really encouraging all of our current players, all the people currently involved in the sport, to really get their families and friends, neighbours or anybody who they know to dip into their pockets. For just $2, they get their names registered, and really help support our sport.

“We do know we have a lot more than 5,000 people that are out there around Victoria involved in the sport, and we want to make sure everyone gets counted.”

For more information on the Target 5000 campaign, or to register as a member of Squash and Racquetball Victoria, head to http://www.squashvic.com.au/w/participation/target-5000.


Picture and graphic courtesy of Squash Victoria

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