Ryerson University and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment’s Future of Sport Lab now accepting applications for first incubator cohort

November 1, 2018

Collaborative lab for sport innovation and research gives startups opportunities to develop solutions and tools for the sport industry

TORONTO, November 1, 2018 - Ryerson University and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) announced today that the Future of Sport Lab (FSL), their co-managed lab for sport innovation and research, is now accepting applications for startups creating meaningful innovation in sport.

FSL will provide up to 10 selected startups with four months of incubation, beginning January 2019. During the program, startups will receive immersive programming in partnership with the Ted Rogers School of Business, direct guidance from notable mentors in the FSL network, access to leading academics, and opportunities to pilot with MLSE teams and venues.

Applications to the FSL are due by 12 p.m. on November 22, 2018. Finalists will be invited to participate in Pitch Days on December 3-4, where founders will pitch their businesses to the advisory committee and broader mentor network for feedback and evaluation.

"We're proud to be doing something unique. Unlike other sport-focused incubators and hubs, the FSL takes no equity, doesn't require founder relocation, and doesn't constrain startups to specific sports or markets. Our focus is developing high-impact sport innovation underscored by research and mentorship," said Cheri Bradish, director of FSL and the Loretta Rogers Research Chair in Sport Marketing with the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University.

The FSLwill provide startup unprecedented opportunities within the sports industry spanning analytics, athletic performance technologies, analysis of business management, fan engagement, consumer experiences and social innovation.

"We're excited to see startups that can help us achieve our goals – to win championships and deliver exceptional fan experiences – but we're also looking forward to giving them a platform with our teams, venues and business that will give them an incredible opportunity for success in the sports and entertainment industry," said Humza Teherany, Chief Technology & Digital Officer, MLSE.

Accepted startups will be chosen by a network of advisors and mentors from many of Canada's preeminent sport organizations, including:

  • Brian Cooper, Chair, Future of Sport Lab and Chief Executive Officer, MKTG
  • Dr. Joe Baker, Director, Lifespan Health and Performance Laboratory and Professor, York University
  • Tim Bezbatchenko, General Manager, Toronto FC
  • Dr. Timothy Chan, Director, Applied Optimization Laboratory and Faculty Advisor, University of Toronto Sports Analytics Group
  • John Doig, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Scotiabank
  • Dr. Travis McDonough, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Kinduct
  • Paul Pathak, Partner, ChitizPathak LLP
  • Teresa Resch, Vice President, Basketball Operations and Player Development, Toronto Raptors
  • Hayley Wickenheiser, Assistant Director, Player Development, Toronto Maple Leafs

Interested applicants are invited to attend an Open House in mid-November to learn about the FSL programming. For further details, visit

Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education. Urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 45,300 students, including 2,600 Master's and PhD students, 3,800 faculty and staff, and nearly 198,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), one of the world's premier sports and entertainment companies, owns the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto FC (MLS), Toronto Argonauts (CFL), Toronto Marlies (AHL), Raptors 905 (NBA D-League), TFC II (USL) and Raptors Uprising Gaming Club, the Toronto Raptors esports franchise in the NBA 2K League. Its charitable arm, MLSE Foundation, focuses on funding initiatives to support youth through sport and recreational programs. In 2017 MLSE Foundation, with support of community and corporate partners, built MLSE LaunchPad, a 42,000-sq. ft. space dedicated to programming that support its four Pillars: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Ready For School and Ready For Work. MLSE also owns and operates Scotiabank Arena, Canada's premier sports & entertainment venue hosting more than 200 events each year, two digital channels - Leafs Nation Network and NBA TV Canada and has a partnership with Live Nation - the largest concert promoter in the world. MLSE has also invested in and operates five of Toronto's sports facilities – Coca-Cola Coliseum, BMO Field, BMO Training Grounds at Downsview Park, home of Toronto FC's Academy and the First Team's practice facility, the Toronto Raptors' training facility and the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence, the practice facility for the Maple Leafs and Marlies.

Media Contacts

Zandra Alexander
Public Affairs, Ryerson University
Office: 416-979-5000 x 4282

Charzie Abendanio
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
Tel: (416) 815-5455

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