As the clock strikes 10 on the morning of the 16th of September, Zalgirio Arena will turn to a bustling center of basketball innovation, as Central and Eastern Europe’s first sports hackathon will take over the building.
The hackathon will be a two-day event that could be described as a marathon for creating innovative solutions to sports-related issues and unites all sorts of start-up, technological and expert partners. At the end of the process, the start-up teams will present prototypes for their solutions with the help of IT professionals, coders, designers and other specialists that are there to complete the task.
The event is organized in cooperation with Katalista Ventures, and is sponsored by one of the world’s largest sports technology creators Genius Sport, that works alongside some of the world’s biggest associations - FIBA, NBA, NCAA. The Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) will also be joining the hackathon.
Zalgiris Director Paulius Motiejunas sees this as a step forward both for the club, and sports in general: “Zalgiris is a dynamic sports club, that is always open to improvement and innovation. We seek to effectively realize all the opportunities that modern technology presents us to improve our sportive results, but we also want to be innovators, encouraging the highest standards in sports, business and intellectual cooperation, that would create value for Lithuania’s society.”
Eight start-ups from Lithuania and other European countries will seek innovative solutions in three different departments - the maximization of Zalgiris sports results by evaluating and improving the players’ physical data and carrying out injury prevention, increasing the involvement of Zalgiris fans into the team’s activities by using technological potential, and opening new opportunities for the business partners of the basketball club.
Arvydas Plėta, the partner for innovations in Katalista Ventures, was excited to be setting the stones in sports innovation in the region, and having drawn in some of the brightest talents in Europe: “A hackathon of a scope this big, and will attract some of the most forward-thinking and best known start-ups from France, Latvia, Lithuania will take place in our region for the first time. We are very happy to connect the basketball giants with the progressive brains of Europe, and become the initiators of innovative cooperation not only Lithuania, the Baltic states, but in the entire Eastern and Central Europe.”
Hackathons are becoming a more common occurrence in the sports world in recent years, as similar start-up marathons were held in the United States of America by the NBA and in Barcelona by the EuroLeague.