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L.A. Dodgers Accelerator (dodgersaccelerator.com)
58 points by Lukeas14 on June 15, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 24 comments

In part, this expresses a common public perception of startups: that branding and marketing are the critical early steps. It's the idea that everything starts with SEO and social media. Baseball teams don't have track records of disrupting industries...they have a fucking antitrust exemption and live off tax payer subsidized stadium deals. They all take the 3~0 pitch and don't bunt with two out. It's conservative money jumping on the startup hype and cashing in their star power

Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) is a company that has streaming video deals with HBO, Sony, ESPN, WWE, and the PGA Tour. They measure their non-baseball related revenue with 9 figures. Their streaming service exceeded Twitch in both number of streams and revenue in 2014. They are currently evaluating spinning-off as a company with a valuation in the neighborhood of $5 billion [1] . MLBAM actually is one of the best examples of a successful tech startup created by a pre-Internet company. But since they are a private company that never took venture capital, they are mostly ignored by people in our community. Granted the Dodgers are only 1/30th of MLBAM, but I think your overall view of baseball is outdated and in turn you might be overly cynical regarding this accelerator.

[1] - http://www.wsj.com/articles/mlbs-streaming-tech-unit-goes-pr...

The primary assets of MLABAM are intellectual property rights (contracts for content). The business is resale and the revenue model is biased toward dividend type payouts rather than reinvestment for continued growth. This may make it a lucrative business line, but it doesn't make it a startup. It started on third base not ramen.

>The primary assets of MLABAM are intellectual property rights (contracts for content). The business is resale

You can say that about any number of startups that focus on delivering content: Netflix, Steam, Youtube, etc.

> and the revenue model is biased toward dividend type payouts rather than reinvestment for continued growth. This may make it a lucrative business line, but it doesn't make it a startup.

MLBAM has had both dividend payouts and reinvestment. They were started with a $77 million initial investment [1] and turned it into a $5 billion business in a decade and a half. You don't get that kind of growth without reinvestment.

> It started on third base not ramen.

Can't disagree, but isn't that the point of an accelerator? Isn't that supposed to be the differentiator between going to someone like Y Combinator before going to a VC? They are supposed to give startups a head start and guidance that they wouldn't normally receive in order to help them be more successful.

[1] - http://www.fastcompany.com/1822802/mlb-advanced-medias-bob-b...

When Netflix was a startup, the disruptive idea was sending DVD's through the mail as often as you liked for a fixed monthly fee but only so long as you never had more than two at a time. YouTube stopped being a startup when Google bought them almost a decade ago. Since, it's seen incremental change but hasn't disrupted anything.

Neither was built on the value of exclusive rights to content. My understanding is that this is mostly true for s Steam as well, but I don't know as much about its evolution. MLABAM didn't go through an accelerator so RoboCop is riding a unicorn on that one.

Techbiz is now a game of mad libs for patronizing capitalists.

Hey kids! Fill out this form along with thousands of others. If we fancy the way you fill it out and if you know how to play with computers dandily then we'll throw money at you like a sunday at the horsetracks.

Oh, some more pied piper hooli reference here and there to keep this cynicism timely and relevant.

My idea: An app to let you post Dodgers watch parties, to help out the majority of Los Angeleans who don't have access to the Dodgers' TV package.

My thoughts exactly. I don't live in a Time Warner serviced area so I can't watch the games unless I pay ridiculous fees. I've also been attending more games in-person because of this, so maybe that was their intention all along.

TWC and Charter now! (Not that in affects my MLB TV in Europe.)

From the bottom of the FAQ page:

>The Accelerator model gives you the opportunity to pitch investors, venture capitalists, influential industry leaders, and R/GA executives and clients at the end of the program during Demo Day. As a benefit of participating in the program, each company will receive $20,000 as well as work space, connections, and deep mentorship in exchange for 6% equity. In addition, companies accepted to the program have the option to accept a $100,000 convertible debt note. This provides even more resources for you to get your ideas off the ground.

Seems like a pretty hefty chunk to give up for $20K and the chance to be a guinea pig in an unproven startup incubator run by...a baseball team.

I have no idea about the quality of RG/A's work, but we did share an office with them and it was always an entertaining recent college grad, hipster fashion show.

I do think the idea of sports focus is cool though.

Their marketing is also a bit misleading. The landing page claims to award/grant $120K to each team.

However, until you get near the last question of the separate 'FAQ' page, there is no mention of equity exchanges or convertible debt financing, nor that $100K of the prize is optional and if chosen, require the team to take ongoing financial obligations to the sponsor(s).

Aren't the original YC terms 7% for $20,000 plus $100,000 uncapped note?

I would love to do a sportsbook startup, take it legit. If only the US would change its antiquated laws, it could revolutionize the industry and prevent the rampant fraud and shady business practices of current international online sportsbooks.

I wrote a blog post on this topic as well:

Online sportsbooks... A security and fraud nightmare. http://justink.svbtle.com/online-sports-books-a-security-nig...

While betting on individual games is still tightly controlled in the US, Daily Fantasy Sports is considerably more open. Basically picking (and betting real money on) fantasy rosters on a daily basis.

It's the one form of online gambling in the US that's relatively open, its carve out in the relevant laws was an explicit choice. It's got the support of the pro leagues and the broadcasters, so its lobby is pretty strong.

It's an extremely fast growing market right now. Two major players have the lions share of the market, but there's a lot of activity around the fringes.

Both David Stern (previous) and Adam Silver of the NBA support sports gambling. If all major sports (NFL, MLB, NCAA) can get behind it, perhaps legislation can get pushed through. Once that happens, it will be another "space race" to build the first legal US based sportsbook.

>> "Once that happens, it will be another "space race" to build the first legal US based sports book."

Wouldn't it just be easy for existing non-US companies to expand into the US? They already cover US sports.

I am wondering ... How will a DSL for trading on betting exchanges + a trading/backtesting engine will be perceived in this context? I have my doubts for even applying because the sole purpose of our software is "educated" gambling. In the past applying for accelerator in Europe did not go very well because gambling is quite regulated here, although I am seeing this more of a different financial instrument.

This...actually makes a lot of sense given the Dodgers' history. They were one of the first teams to really recognize that a strong farm system was essential to a strong team. Developing a good pool of young talent in sports tech and sports entertainment like this would make sure that the Dodgers are one of the first beneficiaries of products that come out of this accelerator.

You have to understand that baseball is basically ass-backwards in everything. Even if the terms aren't great, this is revolutionary that a team would look OUTSIDE for more information. This is becoming more common with the smarter teams but the vast majority of teams would NEVER think to do something like this. They presume to have all the answers in all realms of the business, in general.

It's interesting that an organization like the L.A. Dodgers has interest in something like this. It's also worth noting how startlingly similar this is to the YC-model of funding: $120k, 3 months, demo-day...

This Dodgers accelerator is "Powered by TechStars". See http://rgaaccelerator.com/. The terms are exactly the same as all other TechStars programs. $20k for 6% equity + an optional $100k as a convertible note.

Dodgers, Lakers - LA teams seem to know something about staying relevant outside of 'sports', through quite a bit of competition.

I'm going to apply and wear head-to-toe Giants gear to every meeting.

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