Teqball USA lands one-year broadcast rights deal with ESPN

By Chris Smith

Teqball USA has signed a one-year broadcast deal with ESPN. The network will carry all 12 USA Teqball Tour events live on ESPN3, and a half-dozen taped highlight shows airing on ESPN2 and ESPNU. According to Teqball USA CEO Ajay Nwosu, the deal is worth about $850,000 between a rights fee and allocated ad inventory. The agreement kicked off yesterday with the ESPN3 broadcast of the USA Teqball Tour stop in San Diego, and it will run through December '22.

GRASSROOTS EFFORT: The ESPN deal complements what has largely been a grassroots effort to grow the sport of Teqball, a cross between soccer and table tennis, in the U.S. Nwosu said that global revenues are around $15M per year -- roughly comprised of 40% sponsorships, 40% events and 20% table sales -- with the U.S. responsible for about 25% of that total. The nation is currently home to over 75 Teqball clubs, which are required to be based in public locations, and permanent tables in L.A., Miami and Texas are used to introduce newcomers to the game. “We set up six days a week for five to six hours a day, and people come and try it,” said Nwosu. Teqball also has relationships with 17 MLS teams, which have tables in their facilities, and the game is played by soccer stars Lionel Messi, Neymar, Eden Hazard and David Beckham, as well as musicians Justin Bieber and Adam Levine.

START SPREADING THE NEWS: The company has likewise been encouraging the spread of the game at the collegiate level, with a university tournament system beginning next month. That’s part of a more long-term goal to get the sport included in the Olympics as soon as '28. “No sport has ever been an Olympic sport without going through collegiate pathway,” said Nwosu, who is also the president of the US National Teqball Federation. “We picked the top hundred schools around the US and basically donated Teqball tables to them. That creates a demand.” Nwosu said Teqball has been in touch with LA28 and is “in constant conversation” with the IOC, though the organization has not yet formally recognized the sport. In recent months Teqball was added to the programs for the 2023 European Games, 2023 Asian Beach Games and 2024 Bolivarian Games.

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