RacquetX Preview: Q&A with Co-Founder Robyn Duda on the B2B & B2C Show Launch

November 21, 2023

Two industry veterans — Robyn Duda and Marco Giberti — have teamed up to launch RacquetX, a B2B conference with a B2C component for all racquet sports under one roof. Debuting March 24–26, 2024, in Miami during the middle weekend of the Miami Open, RacquetX is hoping to capitalize on the recent boom in racquet sports including tennis, pickleball, padel, squash, table tennis and more. 

“Tennis has experienced a 33% boom in participation since 2020,” said Duda. “Pickleball is taking North America by storm with the number of people playing growing by 59% over three years, reaching a total of 8.9 million in 2022. Padel is widely accepted as the world’s fastest-growing sport with more than 25 million players.”

RacquetX — the brainchild of events guru Duda, founder of RDC who led events at UBM (now part of Informa) for seven years, and Giberti, an entrepreneur, investor and advisor for the event industry — plans to take over the Miami Beach Convention Center

Marco Giberti
Marco Giberti

“Racquet sports is truly one of the most exciting sectors out there right now, and this is the place to take advantage of that, whether you’re a seasoned industry professional, an investor, a club owner or parks and recreation planner or even just a fan – there will be incredible experiences for everyone at RacquetX,” said Duda.

We caught up with Duda to find out the inside scoop on the first-time consumer and trade event for one of the hottest sports sectors. Watch or listen to our full interview here or read highlights from our interview.

Tell us about the inspiration behind RacketX and what prompted the idea of hosting a conference for all racket sports under one roof.

I'd love to take credit for the initial idea, but that was where my co-founder, Marco Giberti, came into play. He's been a racket sport enthusiast, fan and player in multiple sports for a really long time, and he came to me and said he saw there was some white space in the event world.

There were very association-driven events in each of the specific types of racket sports, and it was attempted in the past to do an all racket sport conference, but it didn't really stand the test of time. Was there a way that I would be interested in doing this different post-COVID, really celebrating the growth of the industry?

It’s [racket sports] had explosive growth all over the world, not just what we hear about pickleball in the U.S. There should be a place for everyone to collaborate, to learn from each other, from other industries, other sports and keep that momentum and that growth going. So that's where we came from — an enthusiast, a launcher and a lot of hard work.

Have you been involved with a trade show launch before? 

I have at UBM. I actually led the launch of CPHI North America before I left, [and] it was a massive launch in the U. S. I think it was UBM's largest portfolio and event they had at the time. Launching that in the U. S. was no easy feat, and we did that in two years, and we went from 3 million to 8 million. We [grew] it several times over the course of the launch. I understand the grind that's involved in it. I love the frenetic energy. 

Tell us why Miami in 2024.

Robyn Duda
Robyn Duda

Lots of debate on this, but what we wanted to do, at least from a launch year, was launch with something else in the industry. The dates we chose, March 24-26, are during the Miami Open, which is very exciting. We will actually be doing a joint ticket sale with them where you'll have access to the Miami Open for a period of time and to RacquetX’s exhibit floor, which is amazing.

There are only a handful of major tournaments in the U.S. and that was the one where we felt we would have the most traction with because it's not just tennis, it's not just pickleball, it's the entire racket sport community. Padel is hugely popular in South and Central America, so we'll be pulling from that population as well. We thought that this would be a great spot for a launch for us. Plus, we love Miami and who doesn't love coming to Miami in March, right? 

Want to know more?

RacquetX tickets and media passes are available here or stay up to date with the latest speakers, events and news around the event at theracquetx.com. Follow RacquetX social channels on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Don’t miss any event-related news: Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter HERE, listen to our latest podcast HERE and engage with us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn!

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact