The sports world is no stranger to innovation, but 2023 has seen an exceptional surge in creative approaches and groundbreaking technology. Here’s a look at five organizations making an impact on the sports world.
1. Savannah Bananas: Entertaining Baseball Revolutionaries
The Savannah Bananas have reimagined baseball, combining sports with circus-like entertainment. Their unique approach includes players performing stunts and leveraging social media to transform traditional baseball into an engaging and theatrical experience.
The Savannah Bananas are a baseball team based in Savannah, Georgia that plays in the Coastal Plain League, a collegiate summer league. They are known for their wacky and entertaining style of baseball. Some key things to know about the Savannah Bananas:
- Founded in 2016 by team president Jared Orton and vice president Jesse Cole, the Bananas quickly became one of the most popular and well-attended summer collegiate teams.
- They play home games at historic Grayson Stadium, which was built in 1926 and has a capacity of 4,000. Games frequently sell out.
- The team is focused on entertainment and creating a lively, fun fan experience as much as baseball. Players wear bright yellow uniforms and there are skits, dances, props, and wild antics during games.
- Signature elements include players wearing kilts on “Kilt Night”, banana-themed player introductions, on-field safety breaks where players dance with the umpires, and player walk-up songs chosen by fans.
- The Bananas have gained national notoriety and been featured on ESPN, CNN, and in the Wall Street Journal for their unique, party-like atmosphere that upends conventions for how baseball is typically played.
The Savannah Bananas are an incredibly popular, unorthodox college summer team focused more on fun than serious baseball, where players and fans come together to create a one-of-a-kind, banana-fueled circus of entertainment.
2. Athletes Unlimited: Reinventing Team Sports for Women
Athletes Unlimited is breaking the mold in women’s professional sports. By eliminating traditional team owners and reshuffling teams weekly, they’ve introduced spontaneity and a fresh competitive edge to sports like softball, volleyball, lacrosse, and basketball. Their innovative structure crowns individual champions, democratizing the sport and empowering athletes.
Athletes Unlimited is a new professional sports league that began in 2020 with an innovative model for women’s team sports. Rather than traditional seasons with set teams, Athletes Unlimited features elite athletes across several sports who compete in condensed 5-week seasons.
The sports have included professional softball and volleyball so far, with plans to expand into more women’s sports. Instead of set teams, players accumulate individual points. The top player at the end of the short season is crowned the league champion.
Player leadership committees help shape major decisions for the league. There is also no general manager or owner – instead the players directly make choices that affect their seasons. This empowers the players and increases their investment in the success of the league.
Athletes Unlimited is broadcast on TV and social media, helping showcase these great female athletes. The seasons feature higher pay for women’s sports with profit sharing and player advocates that give the athletes more control.
In summary, Athletes Unlimited has developed an innovative model that aims to reinvent women’s professional team sports. By constantly shifting teams, focusing on player empowerment, and condensing seasons for excitement, they are working to reimagine how women can sustainably compete at the highest level.
3. Togethxr: Elevating Women Athletes’ Stories
Co-founded by renowned athletes including Alex Morgan and Sue Bird, Togethxr is a media platform dedicated to elevating the stories of elite women athletes. Through documentaries and candid narratives, they’re reshaping the perception and coverage of women in sports, championing equality and recognition.
Togethxr is a new digital media and commerce brand that aims to highlight and celebrate female athletes. Launched in 2021, it was founded by 5 high-profile women athletes across various sports: WNBA star Sue Bird, Olympic soccer champion Alex Morgan, Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim, Olympic swimmer Simone Manuel, and Olympic gymnast Simone Biles.
Together, these women co-own Togethxr and serve on the company’s board. The goal is to provide unique coverage of women in sports while also selling quality merchandise.
As female athletes often get overlooked or marginalized in the mainstream, Togethxr provides an elevated platform designed to showcase their stories and offerings. The brand name combines “together” with the “xr” suffix used to make words more gender inclusive.
The content features behind-the-scenes athlete content, while the ecommerce side sells gear, accessories and other lifestyle products. With further athlete partnerships planned, Togethxr exemplifies new athlete-driven media ventures focused uniquely on the empowerment, leadership and creativity of women in sports.
In summary, Togethxr is an athlete-led brand by and for women that aims to provide an inclusive digital space to celebrate female athletes through engaging storytelling and merchandise.
4. The Famous Group: Merging Sports with Mixed Reality
Revolutionizing fan experience, The Famous Group utilizes cutting-edge mixed-reality technology. From transforming stadiums into digital realms to integrating augmented reality in live events, they’re blurring the lines between the physical and digital, offering fans unparalleled immersive experiences.
The Famous Group is a company that is revolutionizing fan experiences at live events by utilizing cutting-edge mixed-reality and augmented reality technology. Their goal is to transform traditional sporting venues and concerts into fully immersive digital realms.
Specifically, The Famous Group is integrating technologies like augmented and virtual reality into live stadium and arena settings. This lets them overlay digital content and interactions onto the real-world environment. Fans are able to engage with this digital content through AR/VR headsets or through mobile apps on their smartphones and tablets.
Some examples of the immersive fan experiences The Famous Group is creating include:
- Augmented overlays of stats, replays, and other info layered onto the live event and visible through phones/headsets
- VR environments where fans can watch the event from any vantage point in a simulated stadium
- AR portals that transport fans into backstage areas, VIP lounges, or interactive gaming spaces
By blending physical and digital worlds, The Famous Group aims to give fans unparalleled access, engagements, and data during live games, concerts, and performances. Their mixed-reality stadium experiences represent the cutting-edge of how venues can be transformed into multidimensional interactive playgrounds through emerging technologies.
In summary, The Famous Group is at the forefront of enhancing fan enjoyment by turning traditional live events into fully immersive, augmented and virtual reality-powered experiences through a variety of creative stadium integrations.
5. Sharpshooters.ai: A New Angle in Sports Training
Isaac Cooper’s Sharpshooters.ai introduces an ingenious blend of mental and physical training. Utilizing coloring books to enhance athletes’ focus and concentration, this platform integrates advanced AI and neuroscience to revolutionize sports training regimens, promising a more holistic approach to athlete development.
Sharpshooters.ai is a new sports training program that takes an unconventional approach by using coloring books to help athletes improve their focus and concentration. The idea is that mental discipline is just as important as physical ability in sports.
The coloring books teach athletes to channel their attention sharply, like a sharpshooter, which can translate to better performance in high-pressure moments. The books also provide stress relief, helping athletes manage anxiety.
Additionally, Sharpshooters.ai uses AI technology to create personalized training plans for each athlete based on their strengths, weaknesses, and performance over time. This ensures tailored and effective training.
The program is grounded in neuroscience research on how activities like coloring affect the brain. This helps demonstrate that cognitive exercises can enrich mental acuity needed for elite sports in the same way physical training builds athletic prowess.
In summary, Sharpshooters.ai brings an innovative approach to sports training by blending physical skill development with mental focus exercises like coloring books, AI-powered custom plans, and insights from neuroscience. This comprehensive method aims to advance both mental and physical excellence.
These innovators are not just changing the rules of the game; they’re rewriting the playbook. From elevating women’s sports to integrating advanced technology, 2023 is witnessing a new era of sports, marked by creativity, inclusivity, and technological prowess.