Essay: On the New Business Territory
(2017) Just this morning on my ridiculously long drive into work, a story came over the radio that piqued my interest. It started with the lead-in, “First there was golf, then cycling, then…” I hung in anticipation for the third activity- sport in cycling’s case- as well as where the story was going. The list was finished with, “…squash.” I did not expect that.
According to America’s National Public Radio, squash is the next big place to complete a business transaction. I must admit squash was not my pick as the “the next golf” given its next-to-no presence on sports websites or even Olympic coverage. And frankly everything is “the next golf.” One site stated kite skiing was the next golf. How’s that working out for business transactions?
According to NPR, squash tournaments are extremely versatile. The glass cubes are easy to set up, as in the case of one erected in Grand Central Station. The players hack at a ball in the glass cube with an audience watching the fast paced event. Business deals and meet-and-greets occur in the back rooms. The business transaction world went from outside to inside in three degrees of activities/ sports.
Which got me thinking about crossing two items off the list for “the new squash.” It involves a case of double dipping, but all bets were off when supplies include giant panes of glass necessary for business deals. The United States could use a Six Day to provide a new basis for business transactions. With the resurgence of popularity of the Six-Day track races in Copenhagen, Berlin, Amsterdam, and London, why can’t an American city produce the same event?
First people may say a venue is needed. This is strangely an easy fix. In Philadelphia, the Ringling Brothers Circus would come to town in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Both the NBA and the NHL teams in Philadelphia would be sent out of town every year for a road trip while elephants pooped on the Wells Fargo Center’s floor. Considering Ringling Brothers have announced it will be folding after nearly 150 years, something needs to create revenue in that week. So therein lies a venue.
Furthermore, it’s a week most people take off from work or school. Those who are concerned about ticket revenue can point to the increased likelihood of an available audience. Considering it’s winter, there would be no competition with local theme parks or summer concert series distracting would-be clientele from attending an event such as a theoretical Philadelphia Six Day. I doubt it would be difficult to find college students returning from university to fill the infield. Notable craft breweries could certainly get in on the party by sponsoring the party zone.
Next would be the question whether riders would want to do a race in America. Strangely, up the road a bit is the Trexlertown Velodrome. Though it’s outdoors and in a farming community, it attracts some rather notable track riders from across the United States and New Zealand. It closes sometime in November meaning the regulars would be looking for somewhere to race. Those riders, too, could be leaned on a bit to drum up excitement among the European racers looking to participate. Since there are already three Six Day events, adding a city such as Philadelphia could turn it into a global series, much like the Diamond League for track and field in the summer months.
Finally the business ventures could make use of the copious space the Wells Fargo Center has to offer in skyboxes. Not only would the business suites present the perfect location for business deals, they could legitimately be the best seats in the house to see every aspect of the remarkably banked track. As it stands, business deals at the squash tournaments happen out of sight of the event proper. What if I want to watch the event while signing on the dotted line for a full lineup of Lamborghinis? Writing for this page does have unseen perks.
The Philadelphia area is ready for the return of velodrome racing. With a near century absence, and the available space, plus the catering to business clientele, it could be the best move Six Day to add another continent to the racing calendar. America is ready for new forms of rock stars in Derny pacers, handslings, and Robert Forstemann's thighs. Parking the car in the lot or walking from the Philadelphia subway stop could make the Six Day an exciting destination for a day or a week. At least it wouldn’t ruin a good walk (or a business transaction) as Winston Churchill said about golf.