The 10 finalists for the Euroleague Basketball 2020 Fan XP Innovation Challenge met in Barcelona on Monday through Wednesday with each of the start-ups eager to impress the jury with their cutting-edge ideas. The 10 finalists all met the challenge's stated goals of offering solutions to create the best fan experience possible in one of three fields: broadcast-related fan engagement; in-arena fan engagement and/or smart arena solutions; and fan engagement through digital platforms.
The first day allowed the finalists to receive mentoring sessions with Euroleague Basketball executives to get first-hand insights from the elite sports sector, private networking opportunities to connect with sports/basketball professionals and jury members.
Barcelona's Roca Gallery hosted the final pitches, which were followed by a pair of panel discussions. The first one was centered on “Disruptive Innovation” in Sports and was formed by Stina Lundgren from the Stockholm School of Economics; Miguel Angel Heras, Head of Marketing and Communication at Roca; Jordi Farré, CEO at Kamleon and Alex Ferrer Kristjansson, Senior Director, Marketing and Communication at Euroleague Basketball. The second was focused on "the fan of the future" with Simone Tomassetti, Head of Sports Partnerships - Southern Europe for Twitter; jury member and Eleven Sports CEO Luis Vicente; and Vice President, Rights Acquisition at DAZN, Laura Louisy. Some of the key insights on the panel were the importance of every stakeholder in the sports industry knowing their fans through data collection and analysis. Both panels were moderated by N3xt Sports CEO Mounir Zok.
The finalists, who had already been whittled down from 84 applicants, represented seven countries from three continents. Their pitches were watched closely by 150 selected guests who represented a mix of the Barcelona sports and innovation sectors.
Each of the 10 finalists made a three-minute pitch to the jury and then fielded questions about their product, their history and their roadmap to profitability. The jury’s deliberation resulted in some close calls with more than half of the companies almost tied in points. In the end, Edisn.ai was the Jury's Choice winner and SeatServe was celebrated for best pitch.
edisn.ai is an Indian company that created an AI computer vision platform that uses proprietary player recognition technologies to deliver enhanced fan engagement and provide additional monetization opportunities for content owners.
"We are extremely proud and honored to receive the Jury's Award at the Euroleague Basketball FanXP Challenge," edisn.ai CEO Ashok Karanth said. "This recognition from such an esteemed jury is a great boost for us in our journey. Euroleague Basketball has been great in providing us an amazing opportunity to interact with senior executives and work with them on pilot projects."
SeatServe, a New York-based company founded by Israelis, provides a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for venues, stadiums and arenas. Its easy-to-use platform enables both in-seat delivery and express pickup services, leading to an increase in revenue and customer satisfaction. Fans can enjoy SeatServe through a web-based app that can also be easily integrated into any team/venue/league app.
"We are humbled to be a winner of the Euroleague Basketball's Fan XP challenge this year," Seatserve founder Shay Dadush said. "It is incredible to be working with an organization that pushes innovation to new heights and excited to be working together to bring a better fan experience to the basketball world."
The 10 finalists also participated in different sessions with Euroleague Basketball executives with the aim to design potential future pilot tests to be executed in the future as well as in other ‘coaching’ and ‘networking’ sessions with relevant people in the sports industry, technology and investment.
After the last two editions, Euroleague Basketball has executed numerous pilot tests with many of the former finalists and has nowadays a long-term business relationship with two of them.
Euroleague Basketball wishes to warmly thank jury members Didac Lee, CO-Founder Galdana Ventures; Luis Vicente, Eleven Sports CEO; Stina Lundgren from the Stockholm School of Economics and Sree Varma, Founder & CEO, iSportconnect & iSportconnect Capital, for their time and expertise; partners N3xt sports, LaSalle University and iSportConnect for their support and Roca Gallery for hosting the event.