Ryerson University and Rogers launch the Next Big Idea in Sport Competition

National competition gives startups an opportunity to develop innovative technology solutions for the sport industry

TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2015 /CNW/ - Ryerson University, in partnership with Rogers Communications, today announced the launch of the inaugural Next Big Idea in Sport Competition, an innovation contest for startups addressing emerging technologies and opportunities in sport. The competition will provide up to 10 selected startups with four months of incubation at the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University (DMZ) and the chance to win cash prizes totaling $100,000.

"Advancements in sport technology often lead to victories on the field of play," said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "During this Year of Sport in Canada, in which so many Canadian athletes will be competing here at home against some of the best athletes in the world, initiatives such as the Next Big Idea in Sport will help Canadian athletes keep that competitive edge now and for years to come."

"We are in the midst of a performance revolution in sports that is being driven by technology, big data and analytics," said Sheldon Levy, President and Vice Chancellor of Ryerson University. "Thanks to Rogers, this competition will give young startups an outstanding opportunity to work with emerging and innovative technologies to generate creative solutions for the sports industry."

"We are passionate about innovation at Rogers, and we want the Next Big Idea in Sport to inspire students and startups to develop new and creative solutions for athletes, coaches, teams, sport media and even professional sports leagues," said Dale Hooper, Chief Brand Officer, Rogers. "The world of sport has become so competitive that every advantage matters, and that's why so many teams are turning to technological and analytical innovations to gain that competitive edge. Hopefully some of that can be revolutionized by the ideas generated in this contest."

"This competition is the first step toward our vision of creating a new entrepreneurial hub focused on sport at Ryerson," said Cheri Bradish, Loretta Rogers Research Chair in Sport Marketing at the Ted Rogers School of Management. "Through this initiative, we will build a community of students and entrepreneurs who are building innovative businesses that address this important sector."

The Next Big Idea in Sport will encourage startup companies to explore innovation opportunities within the sports industry spanning analytics, athletic performance technologies, analysis of business management, fan engagement, consumer experiences and social innovation. The competition will be judged by a network of advisors and mentors lead by the Canadian Football League's 12th Commissioner, Mark Cohon, as well as senior leaders from many of Canada's preeminent sport organizations, including:

  • Brian Cooper, President/CEO, S&E Sponsorship Group
  • Troy Ewanchyna, Vice President and GM, NBCSports.com
  • John Harper, SVP Consulting, Wasserman Media Group (LA)
  • Dale Hooper, Chief Brand Officer, Rogers Communications
  • Dave Hopkinson, Chief Commercial Officer, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
  • Christina Litz, VP Broadcast and Media Assets, Canadian Football League
  • Scott Moore, President of Sportsnet & NHL Properties, Rogers Communications
  • Kelly Murumets, President/CEO, Tennis Canada
  • Chris Overholt, CEO, Canadian Olympic Committee
  • Gaetan Tardif, President, Canadian Paralympic Committee
  • Alyson Walker, VP Content, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

Applications to the Next Big Idea in Sport Competition are due by May 1, 2015. Up to 10 startups from across Canada will be selected to incubate at the DMZ in Toronto and will present their companies to a panel of judges after four months of incubation. The top three finalists, as determined by the judges, will be provided with prizes of $50,000, $30,000 and $20,000 in cash funding, respectively. For complete competition details, terms and conditions, visit www.ryerson.ca/dmz.

Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 38,000 students, including 2,300 master's and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more than 155,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada's leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca.

The Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University (DMZ) is one of Canada's largest business incubators and co-working spaces for entrepreneurs. The top-ranked university incubator in Canada and fifth in the world, the DMZ is a hub of innovation, collaboration and commercialization. Since opening in April 2010, the DMZ has incubated and accelerated 174 startups which have collectively raised more than $60 million in funding and fostered more than 1,548 jobs.  For more information about the Digital Media Zone, visit www.ryerson.ca/dmz.

Rogers Communications is a leading diversified public Canadian communications and media company. We are Canada's largest provider of wireless communications services and one of Canada's leading providers of cable television, high-speed Internet and telephony services to consumers and businesses. Through Rogers Media, we are engaged in radio and television broadcasting, televised shopping, magazines and trade publications, sports entertainment, and digital media. We are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI).  For further information about the Rogers group of companies, please visit rogers.com.

SOURCE Digital Media Zone

Image with caption: "Ryerson and Rogers celebrate the launch of the inaugural Next Big Idea in Sport Competition L-R: Cheri Bradish, Loretta Rogers Research Chair in Sport Marketing at the Ted Rogers School of Management; Sheldon Levy, President and Vice Chancellor of Ryerson University; Mark Cohon, Canadian Football League's 12th Commissioner; Hon. Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport) and Dale Hooper, Chief Brand Officer, Rogers Communications Inc. (CNW Group/Digital Media Zone)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150220_C5309_PHOTO_EN_12393.jpg

For further information: Media Contacts: Next Big Idea in Sport Competition, Ashton Lawrence, Digital Media Zone, 416-737-6127, a7lawren@ryerson.ca; Ryerson University, Lauren Clegg, Digital Media Zone, 416-979-5000 x 2997, lauren.clegg@ryerson.ca; Rogers, Jenni Cram, Sportsnet & NHL Properties, Rogers, 416-764-6364, Jennifer.Cram@sportsnet.rogers.com


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