My year began the same way many of my fellow Canadians’ did- glued to my TV screen following Canada’s best under-20 hockey players in their pursuit of gold at the IIHF World Junior Championships. Their triumphant tournament kicked off what the Honourable Bal Gosal, Canada’s Sport Minister, proclaimed the “Year of Sport” in Canada; with our country playing host to a number of international events including the aforementioned World Juniors, the Pan Am & Parapan Am Games and FIFA Women’s World Cup, we will welcome thousands of the world’s top athletes to cities across the country.

Ryerson, a University driven by bold vision and defined by innovation, has continued to widen its footprint in the sports industry. Building off the landmark renovations of the old Maple Leaf Gardens- renamed the Mattamy Athletic Centre- last year’s addition of the Sportsnet RTA Production Centre, equipped with $1 million in industry-leading technology and equipment, provides tomorrow’s leaders in sport media with a significant head-start on comparable programs.

The Ted Rogers School of Management routinely welcomes some of the biggest names in sport. With the introduction of the “Real World” Speaker Series from Distinguished Counsel in Residence, Ralph Lean, students have been treated to intimate and captivating lectures from senior sports executives including MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke, Toronto Blue Jays’ President & CEO Paul Beeston and Executive Director of CBC Sports, Jeffrey Orridge, who will soon take over as the CFL’s new Commissioner.

It was recently announced that Tom Anselmi, with over two decades of experience in the sport industry including 15 years with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, has been appointed a Distinguished Visiting Professor at TRSM. A Ryerson alumnus, Anselmi is teaching a course alongside the Loretta Rogers Chair in Sport Marketing, Cheri Bradish, and has already counted 12th CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon, Olympian Tessa Bonhomme, Raptors play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin and Vancouver Canucks’ Vice President, Suite & Ticket Sales and Service, Michael Cosentino among guest panellists.

Last month, Ryerson was proud to partner with Rogers to launch the inaugural Next Big Idea in Sport Competition. This nationwide competition, led by Bradish, will provide up to 10 startups currently exploring innovation opportunities within the sports industry with a four-month residency in the new sports-focused startup incubation program at Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ). At the end of the four months, which includes mentorship from senior executives from companies including MLSE, Rogers, the CFL, Tennis Canada, NBCSports.com, the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees, three teams will be selected and awarded cash prizes of up to $50,000.

The DMZ already boasts a number of innovative sport startups, including Logit– an intuitive app that helps identify precursors of injury, illness, and burnout in athletes, and Brizi– a social drone recently featured by the Discovery Channel and was in action at the CIS Basketball Finals at the MAC. With the support of an incredible network of Canada’s industry leaders lead by former CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon, we’re looking forward to welcoming the first cohort of sport-specific startups in June- just as the summer of sport kicks-off. If you’d like to learn more about the competition or related initiatives at Ryerson, email sportinnovation@ryerson.ca or follow @RyersonSpIn on Twitter.

Posted by Alysia Harji

Alysia Harji is a current direct-entry Marketing Management major. She has a love for brand management, finance, traveling and fashion. When she is not balancing motherhood, work and being a student, you can see her sipping a chai tea latte, blogging or watching marathons of Suits and Pretty Little Liars in her fuzzy slippers.

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