Transforming eSports through the innovative power of startups

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Microsoft’s Global Sports Innovation Center (GSIC) and its Sports Thinkers program has already shown the power that innovative startups can bring to helping transform organisations, with Real Sociedad’s stadium being one such example. Now, the Sports Thinkers program is setting its sights on a different arena – eSports.

With its strategic partner Mediapro, this new Sports Thinkers initiative aims to identify and select innovative ideas that will have a positive impact on the digital treatment of business models associated to support eSports, while offering collaborative business opportunities with Mediapro.

The companies that register to participate must work on the solutions that can be applied to the following thematic areas:

1. Generation of business linked to professional and amateur eSports (content, cross sales, consumption analysis of pricing and consumer segmentation).

2. New disruptive scenarios in monetization of different platforms and digital assets linked to eSports.

3. Enhance the use of fan profiles, visualization of information and statistics.

4. Generation of personalized content (video, images and audio) and cross-selling of other products / services.

5. Experiences related to immersive and 360º audio technologies.

Iris Córdoba, the General Director of the GSIC, highlights that “We are aware of the impact that eSports are having on the sports industry and that they are becoming increasingly famous at the level of sponsorship and spectators, but it’s true that there is a space to promote innovative initiatives that have an economic impact on the sector. This call is a first step to encourage the development of technology-based startups that can add value to companies that provide services such as Mediapro and benefit from being part of the GSIC ecosystem”.

María Carmen Fernandez, Director of Innovation of Mediapro, recalls that “In Mediapro we have opted for the eSports sector where we see clear opportunities, especially in the field of content, and where new initiatives and formulas must be developed. The experience of eSports content consumption is closely related to the fan experience and consumption of sports content. The collaboration with the GSIC will bring together the best of both worlds: knowledge of the world of sports on TV and its fans, and the consumption of digital content. The challenge is to design new services and products that allow the personalization of the experience with sustainable business models.”

The contest opens on November 30, and all startups that wish to participate will submit an application which demonstrates, among other things, the experience they already have in the sector and what value they can bring to Mediapro with their projects. The entry period will be open until December 16, after which the panel -composed from judges at the GSIC and Mediapro – will select a shortlist of around 20 companies that will later make their presentations.

In the final phase, five startups will be chosen. In February 2019, there will be an immersion week with Mediapro to learn about their needs and vision regarding eSports. During this immersion week, the winning companies will work on a proposal that can further be applied to the eSports line within Mediapro business areas. These winning companies will also become part of the GSIC’s network of partners where they will benefit from mentoring sessions with the best professionals in the sports industry, networking, participation in activities aimed at innovation and applied research, B2B contacts, visibility in international media and events, among others.

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