Shields says athletes and other celebrities can provide unique value for startups. However, it's important to remember that "a star will get you in the room, but the pitch and product will still have to be on point."
Whatever the reasons for startups to seek support, or for sports organizations or leagues to seek the next technological edge, these partnerships can be valuable for both sides. In a best-case scenario, a sports organization could find the company that will deliver its next big mobile app, customer experience, or insight for its athletes and coaches through the use of new technology. And the programs can help lift small companies out of the startup stage.
More sports organizations will work with startups after they see a few proven success stories, according to Shields. "What keeps those companies ahead of the curve is relentless innovation. Innovation has got to come from somewhere, so why not engage the vibrant startup community that is alive and well in many cities across this country?"
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