Teqball, a new simple, and brilliantly fun soccer game revolutionize the world of football. All soccer stars, major football clubs, and national teams have been infected with the teqball virus. Teqball's Jirjili Morani talks about the challenges associated with developing this new sport, and the role that intellectual property (IP) plays in enhancing the company's ambitions to promote and ultimately transform the sport globally. In an Olympic sport.
What was the inspiration for Teqball?
Teqball, the company, was founded by Gábor Borsányi, Gyuri Gattyán, and Viktor Huszár. Gabor, the creative force of the team, came up with this idea when he was a professional young soccer player. When he couldn't reach a soccer field, he and a friend were training to pass a soccer ball across one of the many table tennis tables outside apartment buildings in Budapest. Later on, he realized that by simply adding a curve to the top of the table, he could create a more fun game, which we call teqball.
So what exactly is Teqball?
Teqball is the company responsible for developing an innovative sports product for use in an emerging soccer-based sport, which can be played by both professionals and amateurs, including people with disabilities. The game combines the fast speed of table tennis with soccer skills and excitement. One of the great advantages of teqball is that you don't need a team of people to play, you just need a friend. We call it teqball because you need technology to play and you can play it with regular football.
The company was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in Budapest, Hungary, where our R&D center is located. We employ around 130 people, compared to 38 last year, many of them under the age of 30. The main goal of the company is to create value through the power of sport. This is what drives us.
So is teqball exclusive for soccer?
When we started developing teqball, we were very focused on soccer, but in reality, you can play five different games at the Teqball table: teqball, teqis, teqpong, qatch and teqvoly. At the moment, teqball is the most advanced. For example, the various teqball cups we organize are focused on soccer. In the future, we plan to develop other games in individual sports majors and organize Teq games where athletes can compete in all Teq sports. That would be a great event.
Tell us more about the device.
The Teqball table is roughly the size of a table tennis table but has a curved surface and a solid mesh for the ball to bounce if not hit properly. This means that players can only rely on their skills and abilities. There is no luck in the game. All you need is an opponent at the other end of the table to start the game. It is a great way for soccer fans to develop their technical skills, focus, and stamina.
Teqball is the only training method in the world that gives players a high level of contact with the ball. That's why football players take them. There are a large number of international footballers who already play football in their spare time, with no incentive for us to improve their skills in handling the ball or just for fun. It is also very good for heating and cooling. We have created a series of training to ensure players get the most out of their soccer experience and can develop their soccer skills on the field with our equipment.
Our intellectual property is our most valuable asset, and protecting it gives us the freedom to build new business relationships without fear of endangering our intellectual property assets.
And your product range?
We have Teqball ONE, which is extremely durable, sturdy, and floor standing. Municipalities use it in public parks and we use it in professional football competitions. We also have a small portable version called Teqball SMART, which is perfect for schools. And later this year, we will launch a more expensive version, which will sell for around 700 euros; It is much easier and allows us to greatly increase our production capacity
Was creating a curved table a challenge?
Developing a table with a flat surface is simple, but creating a curved table that is completely soft, lightweight, quiet, and easy to assemble and ship presents a number of difficult technical challenges.
Finding the right materials and the best way to put everything together took a lot of research, experimentation, and patience
How did you get people interested in teqball?
At first, it was hard to convince people to try the game, but once they did, they became addicted. We share it with all our knowledge of the football world. We knew we needed to get to a point where people would see their favorite soccer stars playing soccer and using our gear. Now many of the best soccer players and soccer clubs, including Barcelona, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Chelsea, and national teams are playing teqball. They started playing spontaneously, without any sales promotion from us, because they really enjoyed playing the game. This really helped boost teqball's popularity as a sport.
Earlier this year, Teqball was officially recognized by the Asian Olympic Committee as a sport. This is a big step forward for us as it means teqball is now an official sport in 45 Asian countries. It also paves the way for teqball's inclusion in the upcoming Asian Games, the world's second-largest sporting event.
How did you establish football as a professional sport?
Once we decided to promote it as a professional sport, we realized the need to create an association to oversee teqball governance, and in 2017, FITEQ, Teqball's international federation, was created. It is based in Lausanne, Switzerland. We started this process shortly before the first Teqball World Cup kicked off in 2017 in Hungary. An indication of the rapid growth in popularity of the sport is that 20 countries participated in the Teqball World Cup 2017 in Hungary, and the Teqball World Cup 2018 in Reims, France, in which 42 countries participated.
At what point did you realize the importance of intellectual property?
When we came up with the idea of teqball, it was clear that we needed to protect it. Because of its simplicity, anyone can copy the idea. So we understood the importance of intellectual property from the start. We have ensured that all potential partners have signed well-regulated confidentiality agreements (NDAs) and have taken steps to protect the schedule design and other technical elements. To date, we have sought protection in about 50 different countries and made use of the various cost-effective filing and registration systems offered by WIPO, including the PCT and the Hague System for International Design Registration. Industrial, to do so.
Our intellectual property is our most valuable asset, and protecting it gives us the freedom to build new business relationships without fear of endangering our intellectual property assets. Intellectual property rights are essential to our future business plans in terms of creating a global network for the manufacture and distribution of our tables to ensure that sports fans who want to play table tennis have access to our products at reasonable prices. In South America, for example, high import duties make our products very expensive. With a local Teqball table manufacturing and distribution partner, we can facilitate access to them at reasonable prices. We are already working with a partner in China for this. In Europe, our online store will be our main point of sale, as this will allow us to offer customers more flexible payment options (for example, down payment followed by monthly installments). We see this as an important way to make sport available and accessible to everyone. The real value to us is not the number of tables we sell, but the number of players we attract into the game. We sell sports and also bring fun to exercise. Intellectual property rights also play an important role in allowing us to promote and develop sport in the long term.
How about the importance of care?
In the medium term, we plan to develop brands for different teqball competitions, such as Teqball World Championship and Teqball World Series. Each of these competitions will need to be supported by an effective IP strategy to attract sponsors, the media, the best players, and, of course, the spectators. At the first Teqball Beach Games in Lupa Beach near Budapest in 2018, we have already signed sponsorship agreements with major companies like BMW and Hublot. Given the excitement surrounding the Teqball brand, our goal for the upcoming Teqball World Championship in 2019 and 2020 is to take Teqball sponsorship to a new level by expanding our sponsorship program to many first-class sponsors.
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