Monday October 3rd, 2016

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Sports technology accelerators are one of the latest trends hitting the industry in 2016, with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia 76ers recently leading the pack.

Now, the Minnesota Vikings’ new 200-acre practice facility and team headquarters will also house an accelerator program for startups. According to Vikings COO Kevin Warren, the franchise is looking to take advantage of opportunities across sports and technology in the local Minneapolis and St. Paul communities.

He said that the Vikings would invest in some of the young entrepreneurs’ projects, which may not be sports-related. Additionally, there may be opportunities for the 18 Fortune 500 companies in the team’s area to also get involved with the program.

“We’re interested in incorporating what we see into our own operations,” Warren told Patriots.com.

“This effort provides all parties—and the community at large—opportunities to create depth at the intersection of sports, tech and business.”

Even with the final plans for the accelerator still on hold until 2017, Warren said that he hopes the program turns into a larger effort to help the Twin Cities.

“We’d like to further the education of youth by creating a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum that could be used in the school systems to help young, talented students advance. We need to empower employees and the community,” he said.

Along with housing an accelerator, the Vikings’ news facility will feature a television studio for aspiring sports broadcasters. The franchise has previously discussed hosting high school football games on Friday nights at TCO Stadium, an on-site venue the team will eventually share with local high school soccer, football and lacrosse teams. Students pursuing a media and journalism career could broadcast the games on radio and television from the team’s multimedia center, the Vikings Entertainment Network.

The team’s new headquarters is reminiscent of the Dallas Cowboys’ new facility in Frisco, Texas. The mixed-use development also includes an outdoor stadium, a medical center, retail shops and potentially Gatorade’s third Sports Science Institute.

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