Bubble sports unexpected success for BYU grad

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A group of young adults play with the bubble balls or "zorbs." Utah Bubble Sports was an unexpected success for Jared Richards. (Jared Richards)
A group of young adults play with the bubble balls or “zorbs.” Utah Bubble Sports was an unexpected success for Jared Richards. (Jared Richards)

Jared Richards graduated from BYU in 2001 with a degree in finance and international relations from the Marriott School. He was just trying to serve in his church calling when all of a sudden everyone wanted what he had.

Bubbles.

But not just any bubbles. These bubbles are big enough for people to fit in and play sports in. They’re also known as “zorbs.”

In a short time period, Richard’s side project has evolved into a full-time job in the form of Utah Bubble Sports, a zorb rental service. Anyone can schedule a rental for parties, ward activities or any other kind of get together.

It all started when a young man in his ward saw one of the many zorb videos that circulated on social media and thought it would be a fun activity. Richards couldn’t find them anywhere so he imported some from China. After that, things took off quickly.

“Over time, I just got bombarded — over and over, people asking, ‘Hey, can we borrow these balls? Can we rent them?,'” Richards said.

A friend soon approached him about turning the zorbs into a business.

Because he couldn’t find any zorbs for rent in the country, Richards believes that his company may have been the first to import the bubbles into the United States. In Utah, the lack of competition and the large number of college-aged kids allowed the business to grow quickly.

Utah Bubble Sports was founded on a basic principle: good, clean fun. As such, Richards believes that his product is meant more for fun activities instead of competitive sports. This mentality is part of the appeal of bubble balls.

Senior Nicholas Segard has used the bubble balls at church activities and said they provide a ton of fun.

“It was such a blast to charge headlong at your friends and anybody in your way and just bash them as hard as you could, yet (you) feel nothing,” Segard said.

Being shorter than many of his friends, Segard called the experience “a quick lesson in physics” as he was constantly knocked to the ground.

As customers like Segard continue to have positive experiences with zorbs, Richards believes the company will only continue to grow. After recently expanding to a St. George location, Utah Bubble Sports is still looking to expand.

“I don’t think we’re slowing down,” Richards said.

Customers can make a reservation online by visiting utahbubblesports.com. The company typically has more units available for rent in the summer.

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