Next Idea In Sport Competition By Ryerson DMZ And Rogers Fosters Canadian Sports Tech Innovation
Canadian sports technology competition, Next Big Idea in Sport, is a $100,000 first ever free contest opportunity for five to ten tech startup companies with impactful technologies to win four months of incubation at the Digital Media Zone (DMZ) at Ryerson University and the chance to win cash grand prizes. Rogers Communication in Canada partnered with Ryerson to foster technological innovations to further industry advancements for end users such as athletes, teams and consumers. The Sports Techie community blog spoke to Ashton Lawrence, Marketing & Communications, Sport Innovation, at Ryerson University, in hopes that one of our readers and followers in the great white north can benefit from this contest, and make a national and ideally a global difference by winning the innovative competition.
Next Idea in Sport
Drones, wearables and sports analytics are impacted the sporting world, even transforming the industry. Company goals such as improving athletic performances, providing innovative solutions for fitness or exercise, and enhancing the fan experience are just some of the areas where business, design and a competitive edge are morphing together for the benefit of Canadian athletes, coaches and team management, and even the creation of new jobs.
“We are in the midst of a performance revolution in sports that is being driven by technology, big data and analytics,” said Sheldon Levy, President and Vice Chancellor of Ryerson University. “Thanks to Rogers, this competition will give young startups an outstanding opportunity to work with emerging and innovative technologies to generate creative solutions for the sports industry.”
In order to capture this entrepreneurial spirit, harness determined mindsets and help owners reach their dreams; the Next Idea in Sport was launched in Toronto to push innovation, performance and the social good. Lawrence said, “Rogers came in and wanted to be part of sport and innovation because of their shared interest and mutual goals.” Their recent NHL broadcast rights investment has positioned Rogers to partner with the DMZ.
Entries will present to a top network of advisors, mentors and business leaders curated by the Canadian Football League’s 12th Commissioner, Mark Cohen; he is joined by the following leaders from various leading sports organizations throughout Canada including MLSE, NBC Sports and Rogers, in addition to:
- 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
The ten company incubation winners have access to four months of infrastructure, advisement and relationship building opportunities. A final panel of four judges will listen to Shark Tank type pitches and then decides who the top three finalists are for the cash funding prize amounts of $50,000, $30,000 and $20,000.
“We are passionate about innovation at Rogers, and we want the Next Big Idea in Sport to inspire students and startups to develop new and creative solutions for athletes, coaches, teams, sport media and even professional sports leagues,” said Dale Hooper, Chief Brand Officer, Rogers. “The world of sport has become so competitive that every advantage matters, 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.”
The competition is open to legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority at the time of entry. Entrants must represent a Canadian business involved in solving sport and sport industry problems through innovative applications of technology.
Up to 10 teams will be selected and awarded access to the DMZ for a four-month residency in the new sports-focused startup incubation program. At the end of the four months, three teams will be selected and awarded prizes of up to $50,000 in cash prizes.
As part of their residency at the DMZ, teams will receive:
- free co-working space and services
- business development opportunities
- access to industry experts
- mentorship from a network of Canada’s sports and business leaders
At the end of their residency, the teams will present to a panel of judges who will evaluate the teams on the following criteria during a “demo day” gala:
|Importance of the problem addressed (economic or social)
|Innovative use of technology
|Uniqueness of the solution (relative to competitors, and in terms of intellectual property)
|Extent and quality of market validation to date
|Scalability of the solution
The DMZ is the top-ranked university incubator in Canada and number five ranked incubation establishment in the world. It is known as a hub of innovation, collaboration and commercialization. Funded in April 2010, the program has since incubated and accelerated 174 startups that together raised over $60 million in funding while creating 1,548 jobs.
The last day for applying is May 1, 2015.
All competition information, terms and conditions, can be reviewed here.
Sports Techie, A startup business is hard to conceive, launch and operate so getting financial, advisement and growth help is in the best interest of Canadian sports tech companies to take advantage of by entering to win the Next Idea in Sport open competition.
The concept is part of an initiate to provide a new research hub for sports. The sports innovation hub wants to become a center for sport leaders in Canada as well as a worldwide thought leader.
Lawrence said, “The DMZ is dedicated to sports and tech, we are happy so far with the amount of applications plus the reception has been great in terms of partners and mentors involvement that have a passion for the space.”
I asked her whether gaming, eSports and sportsbook, and betting or gambling businesses had entered the contest yet. Lawrence shared that although entries have not been tallied thus far and will be in the next weeks, she does not remember seeing any of these type of startups entered as of yet.
There are recreational, coaching and data analysis concepts that may have been inspired by the recent NHL All-Star game player tracking and GoPro cam video recordings. The FIFA Women’s World Cup takes place later this year throughout Canada and the Pan Am Games hosted in Ontario this summer may also inspire new digital apps, networking tools and wearable tech ideas that are certain to raise interest. The Canadian Olympic Committee is supporting the competition with CEO Chris Overholt joining their roster of mentors.
Going through the entry process will enable founders and executives to get valuable feedback as to what experts think about your system, solution or product so even if you are not in the top five or ten, the time and effort spent is worth it in order to learn more about the sports technology space, enjoy elusive access to their network of professionals and further hone your vision. No startup equity is exchanged with the DMZ for the free opportunity to enter or win.
Follow hashtag #NBISport to stay on top of the latest happenings.
See y’all later in Seattle and here in Atlanta.
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