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The L.A. Dodgers Launch Tech Accelerator

The Los Angeles Dodgers are getting into the game of building tech companies with the launch of an accelerator.

The L.A. Dodgers Sports & Entertainment Accelerator with R/GA is accepting applications for 10 company spots in its three-month program, which starts Aug. 17.

In exchange for a 6 percent equity stake, participating companies will receive $20,000 and mentorship from the Dodger organization, advertising agency R/GA and local sports and tech executives. The accelerator also will invest $100,000 in convertible notes on a case-by-case basis.

The program is open to startups involved in some aspect of sports, such as venue management, smart-arena technology, second-screen content delivery, wearables and fantasy sports. Companies can be at any stage of development and are not limited to baseball.

The accelerator will be run out of Playa Vista by four full-time staff from R/GA. Previously, R/GA had an accelerator located in New York City in partnership with Techstars, a company that also operates the Disney Accelerator and Nike Accelerator.

“Nike and Disney have run accelerators in the recent past that we’ve spent some time looking into,” said Dodgers Chief Financial Officer Tucker Kain.

The Dodgers, who were bought in 2012 for $2.15 billion by Guggenheim Baseball Management, a group of investors affiliated with the Guggenheim Partners financial services conglomerate, see an accelerator as in sync with its owners’ business background. It plans to use the accelerator to find ways to better engage fans, as well as a way to internalize innovation in the tech industry.

“This is an opportunity to understand what people are working on in the sport technology space,” said Kain. “The accelerator concept, with our owners being investors by trade, really made sense.”

Technology reporter Garrett Reim can be reached at greim@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @garrettreim for the latest in L.A. tech news.

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