Following on from our blog post on the epidemic issue of Squash court removal from both private health clubs and public leisure centres, we were alarmed about a fight to save the courts at David Lloyd Leisure, Gidea Park, in Essex.
The Essex based club is looking to convert their Squash courts into a Blaze Studio; yes, it sounds odd and many have asked why the high end is looking to dispense its Squash courts for unproven fitness fad.
Honestly, David Lloyd Leisure are not thinking strategically and could suffer in the long run, especially when it comes to the growth of Squash.
Squash locals call upon the Squash community
Members of David Lloyd Leisure have taken to Twitter to get support from the Squash community and launched a petition to save the 3 Squash courts at their club; there has been a mention of lobbying England Squash and Squash professionals to behind the fight.
On the face of it, David Lloyd Leisure is a high end tennis club, with strong LTA links, but they should not show favouritism toward Tennis; as it could severely impact on membership base, and create a poor brand image by discriminating against other sport.
From a strategic prospective, David Lloyd Leisure needs to think about their brand values and position in the health club market in terms perceptual mapping are they health & fitness brand or health & sports brand, to the public David Lloyd Leisure clubs are heavily recognised as health & racquets club.
Squash v Tennis – the fight continues
To conclude, let us not forget Squash is on a resurgence of being a trendy sport again, following the recent successes of UK Squash stars such as Laura Massaro, Nick Matthew, Sarah-Jane Perry, and James Wilstrop in global tournaments plus the Commonwealth Games.
Also last year, researchers at the top sporting universities stated that Squash is the healthiest sport to prolong life.
The management board of David Lloyd Leisure needs to consider this and show its equal support to Squash like Tennis – especially when it comes to sporting opportunities for young people and widening participation for those of disadvantaged backgrounds.
Remember fitness fads come and go, but Squash has been around longer than any fitness class and will never change or go our fashion.
JOIN THE FIGHT
We are supporting the fight to save the Squash courts at David Lloyd Leisure Gidea Park and sign up click here.