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LaLiga selects smart venue finalists in accelerator programme

LaLiga has selected an access control solution and an in-stadium app as the two finalists in the smart venue category of its accelerator programme competition.

The Spanish football league has whittled down almost 300 companies from 55 countries to a group of 10 finalists in four categories as part of its Startup Competition 2019. The competition, from The Original Inspiration Centre by LaLiga supported by Global Sports Innovation Centre (GSIC), is part of the global agreement signed by LaLiga and Microsoft in 2016.

The two smart venue finalists include an as-yet-unnamed Australia-based company offering solutions in the fields of access control, cashless payments and user experience. It noted that it was also looking to develop solutions that facilitate the purchase of official merchandise and prevent piracy.

The other finalist in the smart venue category is from an unnamed UK-based developer that has created an app to help fans capture “exciting moments inside a stadium.” It added that the in-stadium mobile app could “help generate high-quality and viral content for clubs across LaLiga.”

The Startup Competition 2019 aims to “boost digital talent and ideas by promoting disruptive solutions that can help LaLiga and its clubs continue to grow in the field of innovation and technology.”

Iris Cordoba, managing director at GSIC powered by Microsoft, said: “Thanks to The Startup Competition 2019, ten innovative companies will have the opportunity to explore synergies on an individual level with LaLiga and in group with other winners, and, as a result, initiate pilot schemes within one of the most important sports organisations in the world.

“At GSIC powered by Microsoft we will help them at this stage through our growth acceleration program and by incorporating them into our ecosystem, boosting the integration of these solutions into LaLiga’s strategy.”

The submitted solutions had to be based on four categories – smart venues, media, fan engagement and performance.

The 10 finalists will prepare through July and August for an immersion week, which will take place in September. This preparation stage, which will extend until December, will help them to “better understand the organisation” and familiarise themselves with the areas in which their pilot projects will be developed.

During the period the 10 startups will start the growth acceleration programme with GSIC powered by Microsoft featuring mentoring sessions, contact with investors and high-level directors, digital transformation certification and the chance to access the Microsoft for Startups programme. In addition, pilot projects approved by LaLiga will begin development during this time.

Minerva Santana, LaLiga’s Innovation Director, said: “We are convinced that we have picked the perfect startups to improve the LaLiga fan experience and boost our clubs’ technological growth. From this point on we’ll be working hand-in-hand with them in order to maximise the potential of these pioneering projects.”

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