Football fans everywhere are rejoicing at the start of the regular season, but that’s not the only exciting thing going on in the world of sports. Professional sports teams of all types are looking for new and innovative ways to boost business, improve athletic performance and give back to their communities. Some have even created innovation labs to help mentor and support startups that they feel can contribute something valuable.
The Philadelphia 76ers, for example, help startups admitted to the Sixers Innovation Lab navigate all aspects of their business, from strategy and financing to the day-to-day operations. Not only do these select companies receive invaluable support from experienced professionals, but they also receive “unprecedented access to the Sixers executive and ownership network,” including the organization’s network of private investors.
The Minnesota Vikings has also taken steps to fuel innovation with its Innovative Leadership Rotational Program (ILRP) initiated in 2016. The program gives college post-grads the opportunity to gain experience in the industry by working directly with and for the Vikings in several different departments. Plus, they get to spend some time at the National Football League headquarters in New York.
Arsenal F.C. just recently announced the launch of its new innovation lab, featuring a ten-week accelerator program for startups that can aid in addressing any of the business challenges facing the English football club. With the help of investment company, L Marks, Arsenal is helping innovative, qualified entrepreneurs to get even more familiar with the world of soccer and make their mark on the sports industry.
Back in 2016, when the Vikings first started the ILRP, the team’s Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren stated, “…really everyone who works in sports, knows how extremely difficult it is to break into the sports industry. We created our ILRP program to provide bright, talented and hardworking students an opportunity to launch their professional sports career.”