IU Athletics and IU Ventures launch Indiana University Sports Innovation Initiative
The newly announced program is designed to uncover opportunities to improve the student-athlete experience, increase on-field competitiveness, and grow a pipeline of venture-backable sports tech start-ups.
The State of Indiana’s rapidly emerging sports-tech sector got a big boost recently with an announcement from Indiana University (IU) Athletics and IU Ventures. The two organizations have launched Indiana University Sports Innovation Initiative to help develop a sports technology sector that could eventually rival other multi-billion-dollar tech sectors in the state, such as ag-biosciences and life sciences.
According to the news release announcing the initiative, it is designed to uncover new opportunities to improve the student-athlete experience, increase on-field competitiveness, and grow a pipeline of venture-backable sports tech start-ups. The IU Sports Innovation Initiative has outlined a model for identifying, evaluating, and advancing high-potential, IU-affiliated innovations that are being developed across several key sectors within the booming sports-tech marketplace. Those sectors include (1) athletic performance; (2) free-to-play games/e-sports; (3) fan engagement/fan experience; (4) materials and apparel; (5) performance analytics made possible by artificial intelligence and big data; and (6) sports media.
As part of their exploration and research process, IU Athletics and IU Ventures will determine whether to help support initiatives based on several criteria including whether they will: (1) help IU Athletics win more games and championships; (2) generate additional revenue streams; and (3) augment the student-athlete and fan experience. Projects also will be evaluated on their potential to (1) facilitate experiential learning opportunities for students; (2) contribute to the growth of Indiana’s sports-tech ecosystem; (3) develop new sports-tech companies that create jobs in Indiana; and (4) create a pipeline for angel investment opportunities.
In its announcement, the two organizations touted the fact that IU Athletics has advanced its reputation in recent years as a national and global leader in sports-related innovation, as reflected by recent investments in 3D broadcast, augmented and virtual reality, and 3D virtual studio technologies housed at the pioneering Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology, performance-monitoring devices, name, image and likeness opportunities, and esports.
IU Ventures is a 501(c)(3) affiliate of the university that assists IU students, faculty, staff, and alumni with advancing high-potential new ventures.