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Volume 20 No. 42
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The essence of innovation

Shining a light on the creative thinkers whose ideas drive innovation in sports


We’ll tell you right up front, these aren’t the typical people you see in SportsBusiness Journal every week, even if some of the companies they work for are familiar. That’s the idea behind “Idea Innovators” — it’s a focus on innovation, the ideas behind it and the people who make it all possible.

Let’s shine a spotlight on them, we thought. The people who are changing sports, or at least how we view and enjoy sports, consume and sell them.

We figured it could be interesting.

Innovation, of course, is a tricky thing. By definition, it’s the introduction of something new, a new idea, method or device, even simply a novelty. The people who drive such things are something of a novelty, too.

Put simply, they think differently. And that way of thinking transforms itself into all kinds of interesting, intellectual and … well, sometimes oddball types of ways.

That’s the beauty of innovation, and innovative thinking.

Rick Cavallaro is a scientist who touches all of Sportvision’s unique TV products. In his spare time, he designs, builds and pilots world-record-setting downwind carts — think of a sailboat on land, powered only by the wind, yet going faster than the wind. We’re not sure how it works, either.

Sporting Kansas City’s Asim Pasha built microchips before most people even knew what they were. Fox Sports’ Gary Hartley saw a kid’s drawing and turned it into Cleatus, the network’s NFL robot. And Burton Snowboards’ Greg Dacyshyn liked his beat-up old blue jeans so much, he figured out a way to transpose them onto the uniforms of the U.S. Olympic snowboard team.

Maybe you’ve heard of some of them, maybe you haven’t. Maybe you’re aware of their work, maybe you’re not. They’re people who are just a little outside the box, or they’re building a new box, and they make the sports business industry more productive, profitable and enjoyable because of it.

We’re not saying these are the only people being innovative, or ahead of the curve, in sports. Innovation is too fluid a concept to say that. Somewhere somebody is doing something that no one can predict, something that will change everything in their world … and possibly yours.

The Idea Innovators

Alex Blum, KIT Digital
James Carnes, Adidas
Rick Cavallaro, Sportvision
Greg Dacyshyn, Burton Snowboards
Bruce Goldfeder, CBS Sports
Kevin Haley, Under Armour
Gary Hartley, Fox Sports
Michael Her, NeuLion
Priya Narasimhan, YinzCam
John Pacino, ESPN
Asim Pasha, Sporting Kansas City
Adam Ritter, MLB Advanced Media
Alex Turnbull, PGA Tour
Nan Zi Wang, Comast Sports Group
Cam Weber, EA Sports