Sports Innovation Institute at IUPUI to help Indianapolis become entrepreneurial hub for sports: Newscenter: Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

Sports Innovation Institute at IUPUI to help Indianapolis become entrepreneurial hub for sports

  • Jan. 11, 2016


INDIANAPOLIS -- Did you send a "woohoo!" tweet about the Big 10 Championship football game that took place in Indianapolis?

If you did, it -- along with every other tweet that mentioned the event -- was collected on behalf of the recently launched Sports Innovation Institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the first university effort in the United States focused exclusively on sports and innovation.

It's the latest initiative the institute has conducted to help Indianapolis become an innovation and entrepreneurial hub for sports.

"'Innovation' and 'sports' are two powerful words for the future -- globally, nationally, and right here in Indianapolis and Central Indiana," said Jim Whitehead, CEO of the American College of Sports Medicine. "The Sports Innovation Institute at IUPUI will create a pipeline of new ideas and exciting ventures. We very much look forward to collaborating in accelerating and elevating progress at all levels."

The Sports Innovation Institute serves as a bridge between eight schools at IUPUI and Indianapolis sports-industry partners such as the Indiana Sports Corporation and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Those schools are Informatics and Computing, Physical Education and Tourism Management, the Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Engineering and Technology, Liberal Arts, Education, Herron School of Art and Design, Public and Environmental Affairs, and the Kelley School of Business.

All of the Twitter data from the Big 10 Championship game was grabbed by the School of Informatics and Computing, which is analyzing it to help gain insights for the Indiana Sports Corporation, said Jay Gladden, dean of the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management and a leader in the formation of the institute.

Geographers in the School of Liberal Arts are mapping spatial patterns found in that data, and sports-management faculty in the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management are interpreting themes that emerge from the data analysis, Gladden said.

"At Indiana Sports Corp, we believe that every event is bigger than the game itself. We are very pleased to have the Sports Innovation Institute capturing, analyzing and promoting all of the activities around sports in our community," said Ryan Vaughn, president of Indiana Sports Corporation. "The Sports Innovation Institute will serve as a great resource to demonstrate the impact sports have on our community on a variety of different fronts and will assist Indiana Sports Corp in presenting competitive bids for future events."

In preparation of launching the institute, the Indiana University Public Policy Institute was asked to provide a baseline study of the annual economic impact of sports, from professional franchises to Little League games, in Central Indiana. The study found that sports generate $3.4 billion annually in revenue, nearly 20 times the estimated impact of hosting the Super Bowl every year.

Other Sports Innovation Institute initiatives include:

  • Launching a unique integrated degree program that will prepare students for in-demand jobs in the field of sports analytics. In the integrated degree program, students earn a Bachelor of Science degree in tourism, convention and event management with a sports-management emphasis from the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management and a master's in informatics with a specialization in sports analytics from the School of Informatics and Computing. Students can earn both the bachelor's and the master's in five years instead of six, getting an accelerated start to their careers.
  • Opening of the Next Level Coaching Academy by the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management, a new online development academy that develops coaches into high-performing, ethical and diverse leaders prepared to immediately assume head coaching and leadership roles in today's rapidly changing athletics environment.

Gladden said those initiatives reflect the Sports Innovation Institute's focus on three areas:

  • Talent development
  • Fan experience
  • Grass-roots sports advancement

"The sports industry has grown so large that there is a strong need to think about ways to connect and grow it even further," Gladden said. "The institute, working with public and private partners, will help answer questions such as, What comes next? How can Indianapolis do better? And how can Indianapolis grow and develop sports to yield even greater benefits for the city and the state?"

Richard Schneider