R/GA Ventures, LA Dodgers Team Up to Help Startups Find Opportunity In Sports Tech

AdWeek

In 2014, digital agency R/GA launched Ventures, which holds the investments made by the agency through its accelerator programs. Backed by R/GA’s parent organization, IPG, Ventures has partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2015 to help 15 companies broaden their knowledge and capabilities in the sports tech and entertainment space through a national program called Dodgers Accelerator. Now, the duo is taking a revamped form of the program globally.

Announced today, the Global Sports Venture Studio will replace the previous Dodgers Accelerator program in providing young brands with exclusive analysis, business and creative strategy, startup sourcing, networking opportunities and investment. The studio will open up participation to companies worldwide across the sports, tech and entertainment categories, including sports teams, leagues, player associations, broadcasters, retailers, esports organizations and others.

While the studio said it will index to “growth-stage startups,” startups “of any stage and at any geographic location” are encouraged to apply. Previous programs catered to “early-stage” startups.

“The Dodgers organization has seen great success with our previous accelerator programs by embracing disruption and taking a close look at new technologies and shifts in consumer behavior,” said Dodgers CFO Tucker Kain. “We now want to open up this platform for others in the global sports and startup ecosystem to experiment with innovation, share success and grow as an industry.”

The Global Sports Venture Studio will tap into resources from R/GA, its baseball team partner and the 15 other companies that participated in the previous program. Including a series of curated events hosted throughout the year and through original content and data exclusive to the studio’s partners, the program can give insight into trends, help startups develop new products, and present networking and investment opportunities. Potential investments will be made from funds including Elysian Park Ventures and R/GA Ventures.

The program will initially take place in R/GA’s New York and L.A. offices but then expand to London and other international cities that are “testbeds for sports innovation,” R/GA said. No startup will have to relocate if selected.

“Our programs are designed to provide value to our corporate program partners and to startups,” said Stephen Plumlee, global COO of R/GA and managing partner of R/GA Ventures. “By evolving the program model towards a more collaborative and global approach, the Global Sports Venture Studio will better enable program partners to capitalize on disruptive technologies and emerging consumer behaviors on an ongoing basis.”

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