An event with future –

The MIT Sports Entrepreneurship Bootcamp

TSG Hoffenheim, DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga, the WHU and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) successfully organized the world's first MIT Sports Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in Germany.

Bootcamp - for some this might sound like a drill, but in any case it stands for hard work. Even when only the mind is needed. Experts in challenging and empowering people from all over the world are the representatives of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the world's leading technical universities, who have been running these week-long high-speed learning programs focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship since 2014.

From September 7th to 13th, 2019, the first MIT Bootcamp in Germany took place in the PreZero Arena of TSG Hoffenheim, jointly organized by WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management, MIT, TSG Hoffenheim, DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga and Sporttotal. It was also the first of its kind in the world with a focus on the sports industry.

The event is nicknamed Bootcamp mainly because it teaches a lot of knowledge within a short period of time. The MIT calls it "one semester of learning content compressed in one week". Every day the participants had to complete tasks and deliver results to their coaches. The defined goal of the week was to develop a business idea. The daily tasks therefore revolved, for example, around analyzing the potential market or creating a business plan. As time was short, the days were long and stressful. That one night allowed the participants less sleep than usual was more the rule than the exception.

The 70 students, young professionals and entrepreneurs who came together in Sinsheim originated from 28 nations. The program was implemented by experienced lecturers and coaches from MIT and WHU, in addition guest lectures were also given. DFL Managing Director Christian Seifert, for example, provided information about the DFL Group's unique strategy of implementing large parts of the media value chain within its own organization - from the production of the broadcast base signal and the creation of customized content for media partners to the collection and processing of match data and the global marketing of broadcasting rights. "At DFL, we see innovation as part of our DNA," Seifert explained: "This MIT Bootcamp therefore fits our strategy perfectly. Meeting all these smart people who are willing to think outside the box was an inspiring experience."

Dr. Peter Görlich, Managing Director of TSG Hoffenheim, provided participants with insights into digital data analysis and the use of Big Data at the Bundesliga club. "As a club, we wanted to get to know new perspectives, which is why we participated in the organization of the boot camp," said Görlich: "A comprehensive commitment to football means more than just the result on the pitch. In order for us to develop further, we need a scientific basis. I learned many things in the discussions that could take our club to the next level". One of his discussion partners was Professor Sascha L. Schmidt, Director of the Center for Sports and Management at WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management, who accompanied the event intensively and was also impressed by the premiere: "The participants of this first MIT Sports Entrepreneurship Bootcamp are pioneers in the field of sports business. I am sure that some of them have a great career in sports ahead of them. They all follow their passion and bring the right spirit with them that is needed to be successful".

On the last day of the boot camp, a final presentation followed, in which the participants presented in groups one business idea each, which they had developed during the week. At the end of the Boot Camp, all participants received an MIT certificate and access to a unique network of former boot campers, many of whom have successfully founded companies. The MIT website states that the start-ups founded by former boot camp participants have raised more than 70 million US dollars in financing. There is no question that the latest graduates would like to follow in their footsteps.