SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY – March 29, 2016 – Dodgers CFO Tucker Kain is ready to cut some checks to a group of prospects that can pitch, execute a game plan, and close out. He is not looking to bolster the bullpen, but rather find a second group of sports and entertainment tech firms for the team’s trailblazing accelerator program. The MLB club’s owners and their partner, digital agency R/GA Ventures, today began taking applications for the Dodgers Sports & Entertainment Accelerator. The inaugural class of this firstofitskind program last year offered 10 companies access to industry partnerships and expertise, as well as mentors from the sports, entertainment, and strategic partner/investor worlds.
“The principle remains the same,” explains Kain. “We’re looking to leverage our brands, our ownership group and partners at R/GA and our network to accelerate the growth of these young companies in sports and entertainment space to solve specific issues and change the odds of success.”
Unlike many accelerators, these were not all startups seeking seed money; some firms already had raised sufficient capital but were looking to capitalize on the unique connections and partnerships that the Dodgers and R/GA could bring to the table, including pro sports teams, bigname brands, and venture capital funds. The Dodgers and R/GA invested an average of $120,000 for a 6% investment in the companies; the actual amounts and stake varied according to firm size and prior funding. The accelerator chose from 600 applications last spring and Kain anticipates at least that many during the next three months of scouting. He says the program is being selective, “five to seven companies is the target, but it’s more about the right fit than the number.”