By Sarah Bain, Managing Director of the Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars
The Minnesota Twins and Techstars are on a mission to reinvent what a sports brand can be and do. Sports permeates all aspects of our culture. How fans interact with their favorite teams, sports and players is ever-evolving and creates numerous opportunities for innovation and advancement using technology. It’s these opportunities that have us especially excited for the third year of the Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars. We’re looking for world-class startups focusing on the intersection of technology, sports, media, and entertainment.
Now in our third year, our goal continues to be to advance the future of sports and open up new business and revenue opportunities. Our past two programs have resulted in 12 pilots between the Twins and startups as well as a number of ongoing engagements. Last year’s program saw technology based on …
With the emergence and growing infrastructure of new technologies such as web 3.0, blockchain, and 5G, there is a significant emphasis on the convergence of technology and the physical environment, creating immense opportunities for how fans engage with their favorite teams. Innovative AI solutions that support internal team functions, technology aimed at keeping Gen-Z engaged with their favorite players, and digital solutions that expand the fan experience into the home are only a few examples of past companies.
This year, while we’re excited about anyone innovating in sports and media, we’re particularly interested in teams coming up with solutions in three key areas - venue tech, fan engagement, and sustainability.
It’s hard to physically keep up and incorporate the massive technology advancements we have seen in the past few years. Updating fan experience and technology at sports venues like Target Field represents a massive opportunity for disruption. We’re excited about tech that incorporates things like IoT, 5G, and advanced communication. Plus, the pandemic changed the way people attend and think about events, but most sporting venues were obviously designed and built prior to 2020. Utilizing technology to adapt to the needs and wants of attendees in 2023 is a huge opportunity.
Fans are the obvious central force driving the worlds of sports, media, and live entertainment. How to engage them - in the stadium, at home, and online - is a question that every single organization faces. The landscape for how individuals are consuming media and how the content is distributed is rapidly changing. They’re also working on captivating Gen-Z, a group with different wants, norms, and technology knowledge than we’ve ever seen before. Organizations are keen to not only attract but engage these fans is a key area of focus for the Twins and sports teams across the world. We’re excited about teams solving these issues using innovative business models, cutting-edge technology, and intelligent brand plays.
Since its opening in 2010, Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, has continued to be one of the most sustainable sports venues in the world. It is a core value of the Twins organization to be positive environmental stewards who embrace operational efficiency. More broadly, there is a huge opportunity across not only sports and live entertainment but our world, in general, to innovate in ways that help our globe become greener and more climate-friendly.
More broadly, the 2023 Minnesota Twins Accelerator is interested in teams that are utilizing technology to innovate in sport and live entertainment across artificial intelligence, IoT, 5G and advanced communication, digital media and entertainment, environmental sustainability, venue and event innovation, player and fan health and safety, loyalty, community inclusion, accessibility and engagement, fantasy sports and sports wagering, the business of sports, data analytics.
Participants in the Minnesota Twins Accelerator receive mentorship from the Techstars network, the Twin Cities startup community, the broader sports tech ecosystem, and the Minnesota Twins and Pohlad companies. Companies will work closely with program mentors to drive business model innovation, access to the sports and entertainment industry, and bring global connections to the world of sports and live entertainment.
---------- The Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars will attract and advance world-class startups focusing on the intersection of technology, sports, media, and entertainment.
The Minnesota Twins are on a mission to reinvent what a sports brand can be and do.
Innovate and advance the future of sports
Open up new business and revenue opportunities
Build a network of diverse personalities, cultures, and backgrounds
Improve the quality, access, and sustainability of fan experiences
Sample Challenges We Address:
Fan engagement and experiences
Media and Content Distribution
Community and Inclusion
Sustainability (social and environmental)
Future of ticketing and loyalty
Safety and security
Enabling Technology Areas:
IoT, 5G, and Advanced communication
Digital media and entertainment
Venue and event innovation
Player and fan health and safety
Community inclusion, accessibility, and engagement
Fantasy sports and sports wagering
Business of sports
New areas to consider:
Immersive tech (hardware and software)