I was recently interviewed by John George of the Philadelphia Business Journal about the 76ers Innovation lab. Below are my quotes that are featured in the article.
Thilo Kunkel, an assistant professor of marketing and sport management at Temple University, is surprised more haven’t followed suit. “It makes sense for the 76ers,” Kunkel said. “They can leverage resources they already have in areas like social media and their knowledge in other areas like marketing and branding to help startups.”
Kunkel said the owners of professional sports teams are also well-positioned to help emerging companies through their personal connections and the “financial and social capital” that goes with owning a pro sports team. It’s also likely, he said, people will want to invest in a sports team’s business accelerator company as a means of being associated with the sports team.
He said the Sixers’ model, with its offer of free housing and free office space, likely won’t appeal to more mature companies that will not want to give up equity for a benefit they likely don’t need. The lab, Kunkel said, is structured to provide a lot of assistance to fledgling entrepreneurs. “I don’t think it actually cost teams a lot to do,” Kunkel said of accelerators. “And they can realize a lot of upside without a lot of risk.”