Major League Soccer has announced that the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Target will include, for the first time ever, an Innovation Showcase in collaboration with R/GA Ventures. Attendees from across the telecommunications, media and entertainment landscape will gather in Atlanta, with leaders from soccer leagues around the world, to explore the role technology and innovation can play in creating and delivering new, best-in-class experiences for fans across the sports landscape.
The event, to be hosted by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, will feature a keynote presentation from Cirque du Soleil President and COO Jonathan Tétrault, who will speak about Cirque du Soleil’s legendary creative process as well as its reinvention and expansion over the last two decades.
Following the presentation by Tétrault, the Showcase will feature presentations and demonstrations from a group of selected startups who are working to create innovation for the sports industry. Topics will include:
- Blockchain and its application for sports merchandise
- New ways to survey fan reaction in real time
- Augmented Reality and the ability to easily create new experiences for fans in stadium
- A new technology to increase fan engagement in sports broadcasts
- New ways to enable digital ticketing and fan to fan payments
- Innovation in on-field data for the sport of soccer
“We’re looking forward to having an event that brings thought leaders of all industries together through their shared interest in cutting-edge technology,” said Gary Stevenson, president and managing director of MLS Business Ventures, in a statement. “The MLS Innovation Showcase will reinforce the importance of creating technology solutions to enhance the soccer business and forge a deeper connection with fans.”
MLS is producing the Innovation Showcase with R/GA Ventures, the investment and innovation arm of global agency R/GA. The two formed a partnership in June to launch a technology accelerator that provides MLS with a first look at cutting edge new startups in strategic areas of focus for the League. The Innovation Showcase is one of the first manifestations of the MLS Accelerator.