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July 10, 2019 | Tom Ballard

Connect Outdoors one of 10 finalists for next Stadia Ventures accelerator

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Connect Outdoors, known as ConnectScale when we posted this article in May 2017, has been selected by Stadia Ventures as a finalist for the organization’s accelerator program.

Ben Arnold, Founder of the Northeast Tennessee-based start-up, received word earlier this week that his company is one of 10 invited to Frisco, TX to pitch to more than 125 corporate executives. The event, set for July 30 and 31, will be judged by senior executives from companies like Alibaba, American Cancer Society, Asia Sports Tech, Big 12 Conference, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Cubs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Complexity Gaming, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Envy Gaming, Formula E, Gamestop, Gatorade, Hawk-Eye Innovation, Houston Rockets, IBM (Esports), LA Lakers, Learfield IMG, Legends, LPGA, Manchester City/Sapphire, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Miami Heat, MLB, NBA, NFL, Ocatgon, Orlando Magic, Pepsi Co, Populous, Sacramento Kings, Sony, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Cardinals, Tagboard, Topgolf, Twitch, Vegas Golden Knights, Wasserman, and WorldGaming.

“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to pitch to Stadia’s network of investors and industry professionals,” Arnold told us. “To be selected as a top 10 finalist in a global competition is a great honor and gives me confidence that others see value in what we are creating at Connect Outdoors.”

The rebranded company is focused on growing the market established by its ConnectScale product while also offering an online tournament platform and fundraising opportunities for high school fishing programs.

On its webpage, Stadia Ventures describes itself as “the global Sports Innovation Hub for entrepreneurs, industry partners and investors. We create an ecosystem for sports and esports innovation growth by leveraging our team’s core strengths: education, investment, network, and industry expertise.”

The accelerator helps established sports and esports start-ups get to the next level through a combination of up to a $100,000 in equity investment, intensive mentoring, and connections to the top sports & esports business executives in the country. There are two rounds of evaluation for the Stadia Accelerator cohort.

  • First, applications are reviewed by Stadia partners and advisors.
  • Next, the application and feedback from the initial judges are reviewed by the Stadia Capital Investment Committee, a group of the most experienced entrepreneurs, sports and esports business executives and investors who are themselves invested into the Stadia Capital fund.
  • Finally, a select group of founders will be invited to pitch their businesses to the Investment Committee which is the end of July event in Frisco. Decisions are made shortly thereafter.

“We submitted information as part of their due diligence process and our leadership team met with their team a few weeks ago via video conference for a 45-minute Q&A session,” Arnold said.

In an upcoming article on, we will describe Arnold’s plans for the expanded and rebranded company.

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