DICK’S Sporting Goods, a leading omni-channel sporting goods retailer, and Elysian One (E|L1), a national youth sports training and operations platform, announced a partnership to enable youth athletes to develop as players, teammates, and individuals by leveraging their combined professional resources and facilities. In association with the partnership, DICK’S has also joined E|L1 as an investment partner as part of the company’s $6.5 million seed round of funding.
The relationship between E|L1 and DICK’S was formed through the Global Sports Venture Studio (GSVS), a joint venture between R/GA Ventures and Elysian Park Ventures. GSVS is an ongoing initiative that brings together leaders from the world’s leading sports organizations to engage with the sports innovation ecosystem. In an effort to drive growth in the sports industry, the initiative acts as a collaborative partnership to identify, develop, and operationalize new athlete and fan-focused innovations through pilots, investments, and the development of new products, services, and technologies.
With six initial sports training facilities in the Pacific Northwest and Southern California, E|L1 addresses some of the biggest challenges facing athletes and their families, coaches, and facility owners with a new approach to instruction, administration, and cost. Under its rapidly growing new model, E|L1 supports existing youth recreational clubs and travel organizations in local markets by connecting current and former professional and collegiate athletes, local professional sports franchises, and corporate partners with youth athletes through instruction, mentorship, and retail opportunities.
Utilizing strategic support from GSVS, DICK’S Sporting Goods and E|L1 have fostered a collaborative relationship in which they together will seek to better serve athletes in numerous ways. Among other opportunities, they will pursue retail activations in training facilities where athletes play and compete. Both organizations will launch an ongoing retail partnership starting in September of this year, in time for the start of youth sports seasons.
“At DICK’S, we believe that sports make people better,” said Lee Belitsky, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, DICK’S Sporting Goods. “We’re proud to partner with GSVS and E|L1 to find new ways to enable athletes to reach their highest potential, while also exploring innovative ways to help shape the future of the sports industry. Supporting sports at the youth level has always been a priority of ours, and this partnership will be a new way we explore our ability to continue to serve young athletes.”
The activation will be consistent with the sporting goods company’s practices in creating experiential opportunities and connections for teams, leagues, athletes, parents, and coaches.
“GSVS provides value by enabling our Studio partners to capitalize on disruptive technologies and emerging consumer behaviors on an ongoing basis,” said Stephen Plumlee, Vice Chairman of R/GA and Managing Partner of R/GA Ventures. “By concepting collaborative pilots and
partnerships similar to what DSG and E|L1 experienced, we’re able to leverage our partner’s strategic business opportunities to identify where startup innovation can play a role in scaling businesses.”
Entering its second year, GSVS programming includes private partner innovation sessions focused on key topics shaping the future of the sports industry, including commerce and retail, esports, sports betting, performance tech, stadium and arena experience, youth sports, data, fan experience, and future media and more.
For more information, please email us at globalsportsVS@rga.com or visit www.globalsportsventurestudio.com.
E|L1 is a national youth sports training and operations platform. They support local teams, coaches, and leagues at all levels of play with world-class training, technology, and administrative services. Organizations that are Powered By E|L1 are committed to putting child development, professional education, and play equity initiatives at the forefront of youth sports. Elysian One has strategically partnered with Elysian Park and other equity partners include R/GA.
About Elysian Park Ventures:
Elysian Park is a private investment firm that provides capital and strategic resources to companies that are shaping the future of sports. Created by the ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Elysian Park invests globally and across stages, from seed to growth. Learn more at elysianpark.ventures.
About R/GA Ventures
R/GA Ventures helps industry leaders embrace disruption, connecting them with emerging startups, technologies, and consumer behaviors to drive their businesses forward. Since 2013, the R/GA Ventures portfolio has grown to include more than 100 companies across a variety of verticals. R/GA Ventures and R/GA are part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG), one of the world’s largest advertising and marketing services organizations. Learn more at ventures.rga.com and by following @rgaventures.