Crowdsourcing Innovation in Sports

Welcome Back to My Side of the Net

While I’m not big on new year’s resolutions, I did decide 2016 is the right time to revive My Side of the Net. There are a lot of exciting things going on in the world of sports analytics and technology and I want to rejoin the conversation. One of the topics I came across recently that I wanted to use to kick off the new year is the concept of Crowdsourcing in Sports.

What is Crowdsourcing? 

Many of you have heard of the platforms Kickstarter or Indiegogo that allow anyone to fund projects pertaining to movies, gadgets, and gear. While donating money to a project doesn’t require it to give shares of equity like it would if it were to accept angel investments, these platforms allow people to connect with an idea on a more personal level. Joining a campaign allows people to monitor progress each step of the way and at the end they can tell the story of their relationship to the product. Essentially, they are an integral part of the creation process. I’ve donated to kickstarter campaigns to help out friends in need and to back projects I care about, so I’m a huge fan of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.

Crowdsourcing extends beyond purely raising money. It can also mean that a company or organization that has a problem it needs to solve can put it out into the universe to find a solution.

Crowdsourcing in Sports

I came across an article on Technical.ly Baltimore about a hackathon for the Baltimore Orioles. I’ve seen Silicon Valley successfully use hackathons to create new apps(GroupMe was an example of this), but I’ve never seen the same concept applied to sports. I think there is a lot of room for improving the fan experience through the use of technology and I’d love to see more events like this one.

Tennis can take a lesson from the Baltimore Orioles with its use of crowdsourcing to inject fresh minds and ideas into the sport. Hackathons can be used at ATP, Challenger, and Grand Slam events to push the sport into new territory.  They can also be used on a more global level by Tennis Federations, seeking to get more participants into the game. I would also like to see universities and their athletics programs or sports business clubs use crowdsourcing to bring in engineers, athletes, and business people to put forth new ideas and to implement change.

Crowdsourcing may be one of the many keys to unlocking growth and expansion in the game.

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