Program to drive player development, create new fan experiences and deliver advanced media technology with new, cutting-edge companies
NEW YORK, Jan. 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Major League Soccer (MLS) today announced the launch of MLS Innovation Lab, a program designed to shape the future of sports through the identification of cutting-edge startups and advanced technologies to help develop the next generation of athletes, enhance the fan experience and drive continued growth for the League and its Clubs. MLS Innovation Lab is the latest initiative from Major League Soccer, which has been recognized as a global leader in innovation.
MLS recently became the first major sports league with a global digital streaming agreement when it formed an unprecedented ten-year partnership with Apple that reimagined how soccer fans consumed games – with no blackouts and all matches on a single platform. MLS Season Pass delivered new enhanced live match broadcasts all in 1080p as well as thousands of hours of premium content to a young, digital savvy, global audience. The 2023 season also saw the start of Leagues Cup, a partnership with Liga MX and Concacaf, the first in-season tournament by a major professional league in North America. MLS is also creating the next generation of live enhanced data feeds with industry leader Sportec to power MLS Season Pass. In recent years, MLS has been at the forefront of video review in soccer – with the MLS Video Review program later mirrored by other leagues around the world – and MLS was the first major men’s league in North America to return to play during the COVID-19 pandemic when it hosted the MLS is Back tournament in 2020.
This forward-thinking approach by MLS is the driver behind the creation of MLS Innovation Lab. MLS Innovation Lab gives companies the chance to test their products in real-world environments throughout the MLS ecosystem including MLS NEXT FEST, Generation adidas Cup, MLS NEXT Cup and the MLS NEXT All-Star Game presented by Allstate, among others.
With thousands of matches per year, MLS NEXT Pro, MLS NEXT and MLS GO offer an unparalleled breadth of testing opportunities for participating companies and each year, a group of high-potential companies will be invited to immerse themselves in this unique testing environment, fostering rapid development of novel products and technologies. MLS will provide direct access to its expertise, and network, ensuring accelerated development for participants.
Following a rigorous evaluation process which vetted hundreds of companies, six companies from across the globe were chosen to be included in the program’s inaugural cohort. MLS Innovation Lab officially kicked off in December at MLS NEXT FEST in Arizona, where each of the six companies began their journeys by testing and showcasing their respective products and capabilities in a live setting.
- A-Champs: Cognitive and technical training system for athletes of all skill levels (Spain).
- CAMB.AI: AI dubbing platform that instantaneously translates content into any language, all while maintaining the native speakers voice and tone, bringing any type of content, any game alive, in any language (UAE).
- Fabric: Gamified mixed reality fan experiences at live events that drives fan loyalty through rewards (US).
- Fitogether: A FIFA Preferred Provider for Wearable Player Tracking, validated as the most accurate solution with centimeter-level data accuracy. The technology utilizes GPS to track on-field performance through a video hybrid system, catering to professional and academy levels. (South Korea)
- Reeplayer: Premium AI camera empowering teams and organizations to automatically record, live stream, share, and monetize soccer footage (U.S.).
- STAIDIUM U.S.: AI-powered and 5G-enabled camera with an OTT platform that delivers live broadcasts, highlights, and advanced game and player analytics (U.S.).
“Major League Soccer strives to be the front porch of innovation for the sports industry,” said Gary Stevenson, Deputy Commissioner of MLS and President of Soccer United Marketing. “In that spirit, MLS Innovation Lab provides a truly unique offering in global sports. Our 2024 cohort places a spotlight on some of the most exciting tech startups from around the world, and we eagerly anticipate their impact on the sport in the years to come.”
Following the conclusion of all testing opportunities, companies will be selected to present to MLS executives and owners with the promising companies having the potential to earn long-term strategic partnerships and investment opportunities from the League.
For more information on MLS Innovation Lab, or to be considered for the program in the future, visit MLSsoccer.com/InnovationLab.
About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer — celebrating its 29th season in 2024 — features 30 clubs throughout the United States and Canada, including a new expansion team in San Diego that will debut in 2025. All MLS, Leagues Cup, and select MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT matches can be watched through MLS Season Pass, available on the Apple TV app on Apple devices, smart TVs, streaming devices, set-top boxes, and game consoles, and the web at tv.apple.com. MLS Season Pass features the most expansive and accessible lineup of programming ever for MLS fans. For more information about MLS, visit mlssoccer.com. For more information about the Apple TV app, visit apple.com/apple-tv-app.
Major League Soccer
SOURCE Major League Soccer