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Ted Rogers School of Management announces new Sport Innovation Hub at Next Big Idea in Sport competition held in partnership with Rogers

Top three winning startups receive cash prizes totaling $100,000 to seed their ventures

Next Big Idea in Sport competition winner and SPIN announcement

PUSH CEO and founder Rami Nabel (centre) poses with TRSM Dean Steven Murphy (left) and Dale Hooper, Chief Brand Officer, Rogers (right) after taking first place in the inaugural Next Big Idea in Sport competition held yesterday at the DMZ at Ryerson University. Dean Murphy announced the launch of the Sport Innovation Hub to be housed within Ted Rogers School of Management following the competition. Photo credit: Clifton Li Photography

Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University (TRSM) has launched the Sport Innovation Hub (SPIN). The announcement was made at the grand finale of the inaugural Next Big Idea in Sport (NBIS) competition, held in partnership with Rogers, at the DMZ yesterday afternoon.

 “This signals a shift in Toronto being a leader in sport innovation and technology,” said Dean Steven Murphy, TRSM, who served as one of the seven judges at the competition. “This new hub will provide exciting opportunities for our students to engage with some of North America’s leading sport industry experts to push the boundaries in sport innovation.”

The entrepreneurial hub will create an ecosystem for sport entrepreneurs by connecting them with industry experts to help them launch their ventures successfully in areas such as athlete and team performance, fan engagement, social tools for sports content as well as production and distribution of digital sports content.

Over the past year, the hub has already been actively engaged to establish a sport innovation “foot print” by working with students, the DMZ and experts from the Canadian sports industry to support events, boot-camps, case competitions and sport technology meet-up groups with leading digital sport executives.

“SPIN will be a hub where entrepreneurs, students and business executives can connect to develop creative business solutions to enhance sport,” said Professor Cheri Bradish, Loretta Rogers Research Chair in Sport Marketing, who is the driving force behind the hub initiative. “Our aim is for the hub to become one of the leading sport innovation incubators in North America.”

SPIN will also host events such as competitions, hackathons and demo days to bring together sports entrepreneurs and industry experts create new innovations.

The Next Big Idea in Sport competition, a partnership between Ryerson University and Rogers, was launched in February. Ten startups, selected from 78 applications across Canada, incubated their business venture in Ryerson’s DMZ in the lead-up to the final event.  Startups were encouraged to develop innovation opportunities within the sport industry. Each team was also paired with industry mentors and attended weekly sport innovation sessions to help develop business solutions. Members from each startup also had the opportunity to attend advisor nights where they would receive valuable feedback on new ideas.

At the NBIS competition yesterday, eight startups pitched their ideas in front of a panel of seven distinguished judges from the sports, media and academic sectors. The top three winners are:

  • First place: PUSH, a wearable band that tracks and analyses athletes’ performance while reducing risk of injury ($50,000 cash prize)
  • Second place: Stathletes, a comprehensive online database that analyses hockey players’ performance ($30,000 cash prize)
  • Third place: VIDEOGAMI, a cloud-based platform enabling broadcasters to capture live content and share on social media platforms ($20,000 cash prize).

“Rogers has a long-standing history of innovation, and we welcome any opportunity to cultivate the next generation of innovators, especially through our partnership with Ryerson,” said Dale Hooper, Chief Brand Officer, Rogers. “This competition has given start-ups an opportunity to develop creative digital solutions that can revolutionize the world of sport.  We congratulate all the participants on these technological innovations that will help athletes, coaches, teams, leagues, and even the media, improve their chances of success.”

Rami Nabel, CEO and founder of PUSH, delivered the winning pitch to the panel of judges and was overwhelmed by his startup’s success in the face of stiff competition from the other teams.

“I thought all the other teams did such a fantastic job and am really humbled by the win. We have a number of announcements that will be coming up from January to April. It’s going to be a big year, and the team is really energized by [this win]. You’re going to hear about us.”

The DMZ at Ryerson University will continue to partner with SPIN in fostering successful startups in sport innovation and technology. “The DMZ is delighted to support Canadian tech entrepreneurs in developing solutions to challenges faced in sport,” said Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ at Ryerson University. “The Next Big Idea in Sport competition has demonstrated the demand for innovation and we are happy to work in partnership with SPIN to fuel the success of startups in the sport sector.”


About Ted Rogers School of Management

Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University is Canada’s leading entrepreneurial-focused business school shaping the country’s next generation of global leaders. Home to six schools of management, two Ryerson MBA programs, a Masters of Science in Management program and 14 cutting-edge research centres, institutes & labs, the faculty’s focus on academic rigor, combined with real-world experience, provides students with experiential learning and critical thinking skills needed to solve challenges facing today’s global economy.


Suelan Toye
Media Relations Officer
Ted Rogers School of Management
Office: 416-979-5000 x3608
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