Innovative new technologies are making a huge impact on the sports industry, pushing media coverage and fan social interaction to new heights.
Quite literally, as demonstrated at the launch of a new national competition to help realize tech opportunities in sports applications, held at the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University (DMZ) in February.
Brizi’s branded social drone is seen in an image from the developer’s website.
Now, in an update on the competition, some 10 companies have been accepted into the sports application development program, and they have started their residency at the DMZ.
Organizers report that the projects are designed to address various sports-related problems and open up new business opportunities by developing new analytics tools to quantify performance and feedback to improve results, business management modeling, fan engagement, DNA analysis to improve performance, social tools for sports content and other sport innovation tech.
Many of the companies’ concepts are market ready and can be used by NFL, NHL and NBA teams. A mentoring process for the participants is now underway, and the bsueiness start up teams are getting leading sport industry professionals to conduct workshops, one-on-ones and advice sessions with individuals from MLSE, CFL, TSN, Facebook and Twitter.
As the launch of the program, product demonstrations were staged, including above one tech demo table, where a blimp-shaped, stove-sized drone platform hovered silently; it’s equipped with a live video camera, controlled via software to shoot some scenes and download them to a user’s smartphone, so they can be shared across social media. In a sports setting, Brizi flies around the hockey arena or soccer pitch, engaging the fans as it carries and sends branded messages to them.
A number of such techno-sporting possibilities were on display during the event as Ryerson, in partnership with Rogers Communications, launched the first ever Next Big Idea in Sport Competition.
The competition will now provide up to 10 selected start-ups with four months of mentoring and support and the chance to win cash prizes totaling $100,000.
That’s to encourage start-up companies to explore innovation opportunities in the sports business, including anything from analytics, athletic performance technologies, analysis of business management, fan engagement, consumer experiences and media innovation.
The value of real-time audience analytics are described in a demo from Physicalytics.
Start-ups like Brizi, Physicalytics (a company that’s developed a platform to build audience analytics and visitor interaction data at physical locations like sports facilities) and others were demo’ing their ideas at the DMZ.
Sheldon Levy, President and Vice Chancellor of Ryerson University, hosted the proceedings there and introduced a number of guests, saying “We are in the midst of a performance revolution in sports that is being driven by technology, big data and analytics. Thanks to Rogers, this competition will give young start-ups an outstanding opportunity to work with emerging and innovative technologies to generate creative solutions for the sports industry.”
Ryerson and Rogers celebrate the launch of the inaugural Next Big Idea in Sport Competition L-R: Cheri Bradish, Loretta Rogers Research Chair in Sport Marketing at the Ted Rogers School of Management; Sheldon Levy, President and Vice Chancellor of Ryerson University; Mark Cohon, Canadian Football League’s 12th Commissioner; Hon. Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport) and Dale Hooper, Chief Brand Officer, Rogers Communications Inc. (CNW Group/Digital Media Zone).
Canada’s Minister of State (Sport) Bal Gasol noted that in this, the official Year of Sport in Canada, the country will play host to several major international tournaments and competitions, putting the country’s athletes and sports infrastructure in a global spotlight. “Advancements in sport technology often lead to victories on the field of play.”
“The world of sport has become so competitive that every advantage matters,” said Dale Hooper, Rogers’ Chief Brand Officer, “and that’s why so many teams are turning to technological and analytical innovations to gain that competitive edge. Hopefully some of that can be revolutionized by the ideas generated in this contest.”
Rogers is keen to inspire students and start-ups to develop new and creative solutions for athletes, coaches, teams, sport media and even professional sports leagues, he added, with a nod to all the major media outlets, league offices and sports teams with a presence “right around the corner” in the DMZ’s downtown Toronto location.
The inaugural competition is the first step to ensuring that address houses a new entrepreneurial hub focused on sport, Cheri Bradish, Loretta Rogers Research Chair in Sport Marketing at the Ted Rogers School of Management, added. “Through this initiative, we will build a community of students and entrepreneurs who are building innovative businesses that address this important sector.”
The competition will be judged by a network of advisors and mentors lead by the Canadian Football League’s 12th Commissioner, Mark Cohon, as well as senior leaders from many of Canada’s preeminent sport organizations, including:
- Brian Cooper, President/CEO, S&E Sponsorship Group
- Troy Ewanchyna, Vice President and GM, NBCSports.com
- John Harper, SVP Consulting, Wasserman Media Group (LA)
- Dale Hooper, Chief Brand Officer, Rogers Communications
- Dave Hopkinson, Chief Commercial Officer, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
- Christina Litz, VP Broadcast and Media Assets, Canadian Football League
- Scott Moore, President of Sportsnet & NHL Properties, Rogers Communications
- Kelly Murumets, President/CEO, Tennis Canada
- Chris Overholt, CEO, Canadian Olympic Committee
- Gaetan Tardif, President, Canadian Paralympic Committee
- Alyson Walker, VP Content, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
(This story was first posted to Sportscaster Magazine February 4, 2015, the day the sports competition program was launched. Additional updates will be published as the program continues.)