Procurement · 12 September 2017

Arsenal Innovation Lab launched to find startups that can engage football fans

Arsenal want to partner with startups to explore ways of improving match day experiences
Arsenal want to explore ways of improving match day experiences

Premier League football club Arsenal has launched an accelerator programme for creative startups to help make new and innovative fan experiences and help progress the club’s business.

The Arsenal Innovation Lab will see the football club work with startups to explore ways of improving match day experiences for fans, engage more fans around the world, create new offerings for the club’s commercial partners and develop its future retail strategy.

Businesses that the Arsenal Innovation Lab selects will also be given the chance to pitch their own unique “wildcard” ideas that they think can help increase the prosperity of the North London club.

Successful candidate startups will be mentored by the club’s Arsenal Innovation Lab business heads, and get the chance to test and demonstrate their products or services in real-life environments, over a ten-week period.

Read more: Five football business lessons for owners at the start of the season

Arsenal’s chief commercial officer, Vinai Venkatesham, suggested that there may also be the potential for investment opportunities as a result of the programme.

In a statement, Venkatesham said: “The club has always placed a big emphasis on being pioneering and innovative and we plan to continue this by working with smart-thinking businesses to help us identify ground-breaking ideas to take us forward.

“We know there are many brilliant startup companies with creative and innovative ideas and we are looking forward to working with them.”

Startup founders have until midnight on 12 October to apply for a place on the ten-week Arsenal Innovation Lab programme.

Commenting on the launch of the Arsenal Innovation Lab, chairman at L Marks, the London-based corporate innovation firm that’s partnering with Arsenal football club on the project, Stuart Marks, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to be supporting the club to accelerate their collaborations with startups and tech talent.

“Though based in London, Arsenal has global support which presents amazing opportunities for new businesses working on digital fan engagement and other relevant solutions to work with the club.”

Read more: Premier League suppliers chase £1.3m in overdue payments from top football clubs

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.