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CEO Corner: Break the Love’s Trisha Goyal is Devoted to Breaking Barriers in Sports Equality

CEO Corner: Break the Love’s Trisha Goyal is Devoted to Breaking Barriers in Sports Equality

Break the Love founder & CEO Trisha Goyal speaks to Athletech News about her next gen social sports platform & why tennis is supreme

The fight to make sports accessible for all continues to be an issue in the year 2022. And with Women’s History Month in the current spotlight, individuals like Break the Love founder and CEO Trisha Goyal remain at the forefront of the sports equality battle. 

Goyal, whose resume includes work for AppNexus, The Huffington Post, and ESPN, uses her advanced knowledge of technology, business and product development to create Break the Love, a next gen social sports platform building community for individuals interested in learning and playing tennis. Break the Love emerged from Goyal’s understanding of not only the struggles one may face while being educated in the sport of tennis, but also in keeping connected with others in this endeavor historically made available to a majority of country/private club members. 

Break the Love was recently the recipient of over $2.5 million in seed funding and has gained partnerships with some of the most globally recognized name brands such as Wilson, The United States Tennis Association (USTA) and Tory Sport. On March 20, Goyal’s company will feature a panel of tennis professionals and coaches (Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Jessica Pegula, CiCi Bellis, Taylor Townsend, and more) in honor of The Miami Open. The panel and overall celebration will be sponsored by Tory Sport, further proving the strong relationship and mutual respect between fashion designer Tory Burch’s active wear line and Break the Love.  

Besides her company’s Women’s Month panel/celebration in March, Goyal has even more compelling events and campaigns planned for the rest of the year to raise awareness about the importance of tennis. Athletech News caught up with the accomplished businesswoman, in lieu of what looks to be one of her busiest years yet, to discover more about her impressive background, how and why Break the Love was originated, and more.

Athletech News (ATN): Tell us about your background

Break the Love founder & CEO Trisha Goyal

Goyal: Prior to starting the company, I started out my career at an AdTech company, AppNexus, where I learned a lot about tech & learned that I really loved consumer tech. This led me to The Huffington Post doing a bit of product & business development work. I then felt that I wanted to be in a space that connected people in a more meaningful way and saw that in sports & entertainment. I went on to leading digital product at ESPN & GIPHY where I would say I learned two different schools of digital product right before taking the leap to go out on my own to start my own company. 

ATN: Please tell us about your current company and how either your role or the company (if you are a founder) came to fruition

Goyal: Break the Love was created by my team & I to be the one stop shop for players to discover & book group based racquet sport activities run by captains across public & private courts based on interests, levels, and locations.

It all started when I wanted to get back into playing tennis as a busy working professional as a way to break a sweat and connect with people in a way outside of the gym. After hours of Googling, I realized that it was really hard to play a sport because I needed a place to play, people to play with, and equipment. If I didn’t have those three things I couldn’t play & I would have to go back to my Peloton. So I started Break the Love in the spirit of really helping the everyday athlete access sport by removing all of the hassle and intimidation in playing a sport. 

As a person who faced the pain point myself, combined with my experience working in consumer tech, I knew I could really understand the user and bring it to life in a way that others from traditional sports backgrounds just couldn’t and truly reinvent the sports club to appeal to the mass market of everyday athletes.    

ATN: What was your journey like to get to this point?

Goyal: The journey has been one of challenges, resilience, & grit that I am so humbled to have had the opportunity to experience & everyday continue to embrace. Challenges are key to growth and I feel fortunate to be able to evolve as a founder to a CEO through this journey.  

ATN: Where do you see the future of fitness going?

Goyal: I believe the future of fitness will be rooted in community and accessibility and not just pure performance. Mental health has become a huge focus across industries and what I see is that community driven fitness platforms will become one of the primary preventative solutions for the silent epidemic sweeping the United States — loneliness.  

47% of all Americans report feeling alone and Gen-Z is the most lonely age group so community driven fitness platforms like ours that help foster deeper engagement with others through both online & offline activities beyond digital social media platforms is the future.

ATN: What is your greatest strength?

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Goyal: Empathy. I love understanding people & I think that has been the key to being able to design the platform in an iterative way that helps all of our stakeholders feel empowered to play & recruit a team around this vision we have to democratize sports.  

ATN: What motivates you?

Goyal: People. I am really passionate about connecting people with others and connecting people to unlock their own full potential. 

ATN: When have you failed? What did you learn from that experience?

Goyal: When you are starting a company I have realized you have to think of failure as something that just gives you a data point to get one step closer to success. When you think of failure as just gaining another data point it feels a lot lighter to move towards a solution to a gap you just didn’t see before because you never had the data point of that gap existing before until it happens. 

ATN: What makes a good CEO?

Goyal: Self-awareness. Effective CEOs need to have a strong sense of not just their strengths but also their shortcomings so they can build a team to fill those gaps because once she does, she can double down on her strengths.

This interview has been updated to reflect that Wim Fissette and Sanne Vloet will not be in the panel of tennis professionals and coaches Goyal’s company will feature on March 20.

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