The Grand Park Sports Campus and the city of Westfield, Indiana, have launched a research and development program that will aim to attract entrepreneurs, businesses and universities investing in sports tourism. The Grand Park Research & Development HUB will help with the development of new technologies, services and research projects that will help serve the industry from the youth to professional level.
“Grand Park is the largest sports complex of its kind in the country,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook. “There is no better place for ideas, technologies and research opportunities around sport to be originated, vetted and eventually launched into the marketplace.”
Grand Park Director William Knox said the goal was to provide a wide range of potential support for the industry. “With the proliferation of competitive and recreational sports, there is opportunity to innovate in the areas of safety, technology, marketing, nutrition and understanding,” he said. “Youth sports, specifically, is now a $19 billion industry. We can play a part in making it safer and more accessible.”
The HUB intends to accept business and research partners focused on the areas of professional, youth and recreational sports clubs and teams, accredited universities and educators, national governing bodies and local hospitality and sports tourism partners.
“The breadth of opportunity for partners is broad,” said Jessi Stas, partner coordinator for the Grand Park Research and Development HUB. “Whether focus groups are needed to vet an initial concept, a product is in its beta testing phase, qualitative and quantitative data needs to be aggregated or if there is an opportunity to take a product or service to the next level, the HUB will accommodate all iterations of research and development.”
The HUB has already announced its Phase 1 partners, which including Spotz, Sport Aware, RefReps and ZoneIn, each of which is housed or has deployed its products on the venue’s campus. The IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute has also been named as the first partner university.
Local tourism officials also expressed support for the project.
“Hamilton County Tourism regularly uses geo location data, research panels, impact studies and other forms of intelligence to provide insights and number-driven data to help inform our decisions,” said Jordan Musall, data intelligence manager for the organization. “Our goal is to work with the HUB to use this data to better understand the visitor profile and enhance the overall visitor experience at Grand Park and see how that can be applicable across the global sports hospitality landscape.”