Want to learn what it is like to work at PlaySight? We’re going to spend the next few months talking to members of the team about their backgrounds in sport, what they do at PlaySight, and much more!
First up is Rodney Rapson, the Managing Director for PlaySight in Europe and the UK. Rodney was first exposed to PlaySight when his tennis academy installed the technology back in 2014. BASE Tennis was one of the early adopters of SmartCourt technology, and Rodney’s progression into PlaySight has been seamless over the past four-plus years.
Tell us a bit more about your background before joining PlaySight.
Rodney: Sure thing. I have a BSc in Forensic Science from Jacksonville State University. More recently, I obtained an Executive MBA from the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.
After graduating from Jacksonville State in 2005, I moved to London and was made head performance coach of a tennis club. In 2010, I opened up my own academy in Germany, and in 2012 took on the lease of a commercial center which has 11 (5 indoor) tennis courts, a gym, restaurant and shop. In 2014, we purchased PlaySight for all indoor courts and became the first ‘SmartCenter’ in Europe.
What sports did you play growing up?
Rodney: I played soccer, cricket and tennis growing up, but at age 14 needed to make a choice as sport was becoming a serious part of my life. I decided to stick with tennis, and played a decent level in the juniors and ended up taking a scholarship to play NCAA D1 tennis. It was a great experience, and in my senior year we won our conference and made it to nationals. Someone told my parents when I was a junior, that playing at a high level in sport prepares you for what is coming in the work environment, and it is spot on.
What attracted you to working at PlaySight?
Rodney: I was actually one of the first customers of PlaySight in 2014. I was running an academy and knew straight away that what I was looking at was the future of tennis. I was a very early adopter, but very passionate about what technology could do for the sport of tennis. It was a natural progression for me to start working for PlaySight as I was actually there from the beginning. Initially it was the technology that stood out, but as the more time I spent around the PlaySight employees, I knew that they were on the path to something special. The penny drop moment came when I took one of our clients to PlaySight’s head offices in Tel Aviv, and they requested a certain feature which looked pretty difficult to implement, and our CTO/team got it delivered within two weeks. That’s when I knew that these guys were the real deal, and with their smarts we are changing the landscape of sports.
I was running an academy and knew straight away that what I was looking at was the future of tennis.
What is your role at PlaySight?
Rodney: My official title at PlaySight is Managing Director for Europe & UK. We have a large range of clients, from single academies and pro clubs, to leagues and media partners, and my main role is to make sure that our team are delivering the type of growth we expect in this market. On top of this, I am speaking with our largest commercial partners about how we can adapt our product to fit their needs. We are a small start-up, but have the same challenges that any global company faces, in the fact that our team is scattered all around the world, so communication is a key part of my role.
I always aim to make sure our message is being heard from the West Coast of the US to Melbourne, Australia, and that our Israeli based R&D team are taking the product in the direction where our current and future customers want it to go.
Favorite athlete of all-time?
Rodney: Tough call… too many to choose from. Phil ‘the power’ Taylor. Google him!
Favorite team and sport?
Rodney: A suffering Arsenal supporter and tennis and football tie for first among sports.
What is the best part about working at PlaySight?
Rodney: Learning about different sports, the specific challenges across the analysis and digital teams, and figuring ways to make their lives easier. We help grow these sports, and to have the feeling that you can make a positive impact is what motivates me daily.
What is your favorite experience so far during your time at PlaySight?
Rodney: Commercially, it would have to be leading the deal for our company to sign their first professional league with the Euromillons Basketball League in Belgium. On the innovation side, launching our first football product with TSG Hoffenheim and working closely with their head analyst Timo Gross.
Finish this sentence – in five years, PlaySight will…
Rodney: … have changed the sporting landscape and have 100,000 connected courts worldwide. PlaySight will be the standard for all facilities looking to go digital.