Tennis is a great sport to watch and play. Unfortunately, until recently, watching tennis beyond the four Grand Slam tournaments has been impossible. Niche cable stations have made it easier to catch the in-between tournaments, thankfully. Playing can sometimes be difficult due to the exorbitant prices renting courts can run, especially during indoor season. During the summer, there are more opportunities to play and not go broke, you just need to know where to look and how to get in on the action. That’s not always easy.
Enter Break the Love.
Founded by Trisha Goyal in 2019, Break the Love’s mission is to empower everyday athletes to access sport through technology like this permit system, tennis education, and safety features, particularly for women, girls, and minorities in these public play spaces. It’s also a great tool for anyone visiting the Tri-State area and looking to get some playing time in while visiting.
Through player club drops and anti-bullying initiatives, Break the Love hopes to make tennis a sport accessible by all. With the success of this program in NYC, Break the Love plans to expand similar initiatives to other cities.
Trisha Goyal discussed Break the Love and the importance of democratizing tennis with SCINQ.
Let’s start at the beginning. What is Break the Love? How did it come about?
Break the Love is an online platform that creates access to group-based racquet sport activities across underutilized spaces. Its main goal is to build a community for individuals interested in learning and playing tennis and pickleball.
Break the Love started with a google search. I moved to a new place and wanted to start playing tennis again as a way to connect with new people and play more regularly after taking a hiatus from it as a busy working adult. I spent hours searching across websites for players to play with and places to play! Something I thought would be so simple to find, ended up being very difficult. I made dozens of phone calls and realized that all of the options were either inconvenient to schedule, too expensive, or had outdated values. With all of this combined, I set out to build a tech platform to help people get out and play tennis, connect with others through the sport, and learn the sport in a fun and convenient way through group based tennis activities.
Tennis can be an expensive sport, particularly when it comes to court time. For people unaware of how public tennis courts fit into that broader tennis court ecosystem can you explain.
That is true. In urban centers it can be an especially dated and costly process to apply for a permit which you need to play on any public court. That is why recently we partnered with Wilson to digitize, streamline and subsidize the current permit system starting in NYC to allow tennis players to book permits directly on the Break the Love platform. For youth players, the permits are free and for adults we subsidize $10 off every permit.
What is the process like applying for a Parks Department tennis permit?
Applying for a Parks & Recreation Department tennis permit can be frustrating and difficult as it can take up to a few weeks to be processed and approved. This is why our partnership with Wilson is an incredible initiative to make the permit process system a bit more seamless and easy for players to navigate and more affordable. We hope to someday make it completely digital and to expand to other cities around the country.
How did you hook up with Wilson Sporting Goods and what were your objectives?
Wilson has already built an incredibly engaged and expansive tennis community, but their goal is to get even more people playing and loving the game. Wilson was a strategic partner of ours from the start and we could not be more happy to have them on our side as Break the Love grows.
How does Break the Love manage to streamline the application process and make it more user-friendly?
It’s a simple link process. You can visit our website permit page and get started right away: https://www.breakthelove.com/nyc-tennis-permits
This initiative will open data to unlock access to public tennis and recreational spaces for new and seasoned players of all ages. It will help avoid court overcrowding, increase use of underutilized spaces, and provide greater price transparency for all players.
Can you discuss why it’s important to make tennis as accessible to the general public as possible?
It’s important to make tennis as accessible to the general public because the sport should be open to everyone of all ages and class. For a long time and still to this day, people view tennis as a type of “country club” sport which puts an emphasis on exclusivity for the sport. This is something that we at Break the Love are doing to break that stigma and make the sport easy and accessible so everyone and anyone can play however & whenever they want.
Finally, what’s next for Break the Love?
We have an exciting series coming up in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Title IX – which is when girls & women gained the rights to play sports which was first adopted by tennis. We have our sights on growing our presence more geographically across the U.S. this year. We also have a lot of features down the pipeline including continuing to make the experience more convenient and community driven for our players and simpler for the owners and municipalities that we are working with to operate their courts.