The next great sports technology innovation might just be invented in Seattle this weekend.
Sportradar, a sports data company based in Switzerland with its U.S. headquarters in Minneapolis, is providing open access to its API for hackathon participants and will award a $20,000 API package to the winning team. Sportradar is a giant in the sports data industry and partners with the NFL, NHL, and NASCAR; some of the company’s clients include Turner Media, Twitter and Samsung.
“Sportradar believes in the ingenuity and creativity of the startup community,” said Cody Haugen, sales operations manager at Sportradar. “The Seattle Sports Tech Hackathon will inspire new ideas and great uses of our rich sports data.”
The Seattle Sounders, one of the more forward-thinking clubs in the MLS in regard to technology and sports science, are also helping host the event, which will give entrepreneurs, geeks, techies, jocks, and everyone in between a chance to hack together sports-related technologies.
“This is a great opportunity for sports tech developers and entrepreneurs from the Pacific Northwest to showcase their talents and compete for awesome prizes to launch their business,” said Idealseat CEO Joel Carben, co-organizer of the event. “The final pitches will be in front of top judges from the Seattle Sport Tech and VC arena, opening doors for the next big thing in sports tech.”
There is a ton of innovation going on at the intersection of sports and technology, ranging from high-tech arenas to virtual reality. There are also plenty of gadgets and software to help improve athletes perform, but not all players and coaches agree that new technology helps bolster on-field play.
This is something Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer noted at the GeekWire Sports Tech Summit in July,
“I don’t think anybody has come up with technology that athletes particularly think will help,” Ballmer said. “It’s not like there aren’t some uses of technology — don’t get me wrong. On the other hand, if you said, ‘what is it that the athletes believe in that they must do?’ You’re not going to find much.”
Perhaps the hackathon participants can take this as a challenge. Teams will pitch their demos at the end of the event on Sunday, and a panel of judges will award prizes for the best projects.
This is actually not the first sports tech hackathon to take place in Seattle — four years ago, I participated in and documented my first hackathon ever: Sports Hack Day.
Editor’s note: I’m part of the founding team, along with Joel Carben and Nick Hughes, that helped start the Seattle Sports Tech Meetup. The meetup hosts monthly meetings with talks, demonstrations, and networking opportunities.