My name is Greg Douglas (@gregdouglassail) and I’m a 4th year Marketing Management student at the Ted Rogers School of Business Management. I’m also a competitive sailor and two-time Olympian. I started at TRSM in September 2012 following the Olympic Games in London. I wasn’t able to participate in extracurricular activities at Ryerson while I was still training and competing, but I resigned from the Canadian National Sailing Team in January 2015, which has allowed me to become a more active member of the Ryerson community.
I became a student champion with the Ryerson Sport Innovation Hub at the DMZ (@RyersonSpin) through Dr. Cheri Bradish, my professor for Sport Marketing Concepts and Strategy (MKT 828). This has provided great opportunities to become involved in the business and technology of sports. I’m passionate about both and hope to find a related career when I complete my degree. I have had amazing opportunities to work with and learn from the 10 startups in the Sport Innovation Hub and have also been able to travel to amazing conferences and events, including attending the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference earlier this year. The latest opportunity came on November 10th, 2015, when I attended the Dodgers Accelerator Demo Day (#DodgersDemoDay) at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The trip was a research mission and I will be compiling a report on the Dodgers Accelerator and the types of companies it incubates for the Sport Innovation Hub.
The Dodgers Accelerator is run by the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball franchise and its mandate is similar to Ryerson’s Sport Innovation Hub. Both organizations host 10 startups that tackle problems and come up with solutions for the sport industry. The startups focus on both the performance side of sports – helping teams to win on the field through technological innovation – and the business side, enabling organizations to be more competitive and financially successful, and provide a greater experience for fans.
Arriving at Dodger Stadium was amazing – it’s not often you get access to an iconic stadium without the large crowds, so I took my time to walk around and take it all in. The demos from the various Dodgers Accelerator startups were happening right at home plate, with the crowd of about 200 sports businesspeople, venture capitalists, and media members sitting in the 100-level seats. The program began at 7 pm, with each of the startups giving a 10-minute demo about the focus of their work and how their product or technology would change the sports business through innovation.
Startups ranged from injury prevention software to analytics for fantasy sports. I was fortunate enough to sit next to one of the startup’s mentors, who gave me great insights into how the accelerator is working together with the entrepreneurs to push their work to the next level. I will be bringing these insights back to my work as a student champion with the Sport Innovation Hub.
After the demos there was a networking and social event inside the stadium, which gave me the opportunity to chat with reps from the startups and members of the media. It was very interesting to hear the various stories of the startups and learn how they got to where they are now and I made a lot of great connections.
The event ended at 9 pm, at which time I went to my hotel to get a little sleep before I had to wake up at 4 am for my flight back to Toronto. It really was a whirlwind trip, but totally worth it. I learned a great deal, and will now bring my knowledge back to the Sports Innovation Hub at the DMZ for when we host our own demo day in December 2015.
Opportunities like this don’t come along very often, so I always try to jump on them when I get the chance. I would encourage all TRSM students to get involved in experiential learning opportunities like the Sport Innovation Hub and Ryerson’s Zone Learning if they can. You never know where these opportunities could lead and what connections you might make.