4se Material - Quads, Breaks & Pickles: New sports and the quest for credibility

Perspectives on the path to sporting legitimacy with the Olympic sport that’s breaking the mould, a post-pandemic paddle phenomenon, and a fantastic new sport with fantastical origins.

4se Material explores some of the many stories at the intersection of sport, entertainment, lifestyle and culture.

Sport has existed in some form for millennia. And every sport that we see as legitimate – soccer, basketball, cricket, and so on – was at some point in its infancy. So how do sports go from niche to national? From backyards to big leagues? How is credibility forged in the modern age, and how might this process look different now than it did for more traditional sports?

Pickleball has seem immense growth in the past few years, with an A-list roster of players including George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio. Quadball, originally inspired by Quidditch from the Harry Potter series of books and films, is enjoying a number of new commercial opportunities following a rebrand last year. And Breaking, also known as Breakdancing, is due to make its Olympic debut at Paris 2024.

Three new and exciting sports, very different in gameplay and origin, which have experienced (or are experiencing) different journeys to the same desired destination: credibility. What kind of obstacles has each faced along the way? What are the advantages and challenges of growing a sport in the digital age? How does being part of the Olympics change the sport and how it’s perceived? And in the sports industry, what are the markers of credibility?

This episode features contributions from four experts: Tom Webb, Chief Marketing Officer for the Association of Pickleball Players; Rob Pountney, Founding Board Member of Breaking GB; Jeremy Schleicher, Director of Operations for the International Quadball Association; and Declan Ramsay, President of Quadball UK.

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