Czech Republic-based Sense Arena is launching a new cognitive virtual reality training product, Sense Arena For Tennis, later this year. Like what Sense Arena launched for hockey in 2018, the tennis product will focus on honing the mental side of the user’s game. Users interact with the Sense Arena platform via the Meta Quest VR headset and a haptic racket that costs roughly $200. The racket emulates the weight and feel of an actual tennis racket.
LEGEND LENDS A HAND: Martina Navratilova is serving as global ambassador for Sense Arena’s tennis efforts; the 59 Grand Slam title-winner was watching a hockey game (she’s an avid hockey fan) and was intrigued by a Sense Arena commercial. The company reached out and the Czech tennis legend was more than happy to work with a company from her native country, whose product she believes in. „Tennis is about repetitions and about understanding the game and reading it and this program is really training all of that,” said Navratilova.
PLANS IN THE OFFING: Sense Arena will be releasing content featuring Navratilova, as well as some former tennis pros that are working with the company to promote the product. Sense Arena founder and CEO Bob Tetiva said that current players will be coming onboard soon, too. That follows the successful path paved by the hockey product, which has considerable adoption among NHL players, who authentically promote the brand. Thirty pro hockey teams use Sense Arena’s training product, including five NHL clubs.
BEHIND THE SCENES: Ninety-five percent of Sense Arena’s sales are through online channels, said Tetiva. The company’s investment in the tennis product is significant, he added, and if it had focused on just the hockey product, Sense Arena “would already be in black numbers” financially. Still, the total addressable market for tennis is much larger than hockey. The company has raised $5.2M so far and will likely look for a new round of funding next year to support further development of the tennis product and another project that Tetiva wouldn’t disclose. The company, headquartered in Prague, has 50 employees, and has opened offices in Boston, Toronto, and Tampa, the latter of which will focus on the tennis product. “There is a huge passion in sport within the team,” said Tetiva, „and we always wanted to make the journey multi-sport, not just one sport. Experiment with the first one, then based on that, extend.“
Foto: Sense Arena