Got a great sports tech idea? Pitch it at ‘Shark Tank with an actual party’

The YouTube logo of a giant play button is outside of the new YouTube Theater, a 6,000-seat performance venue.
In November, when the Los Angeles Sports Council hosts its sports innovation conference, the “Startup Showdown” will take place in the YouTube Theater at SoFi Stadium.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Imagine this: You have a concept to make the sports world better through technology. You might have a way to make streaming more intuitive, or fitness more inclusive, or ticketing less painful. You have rehearsed your pitch to investors, well prepared with snappy slogans and financial projections, when you stumble upon one last question.

What rap song will you use for your walk-up music?

In the business world, the accelerator concept is not new: a competition for good ideas, with the sponsor funding the winner in exchange for an ownership share in a fledgling company. The Dodgers’ owners have done it for years, through their investment arm, helping former star outfielder Shawn Green get a company up and running.

In November, when the Los Angeles Sports Council will host its sports innovation conference, the highlight might well be the pitch party: the “Startup Showdown,” in which five pitches will be made in the YouTube Theater at SoFi Stadium with a disc jockey before a live audience.

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“Mix ‘Shark Tank’ with an actual party,” said Paul Judge, managing partner of Panoramic Ventures, the sponsor of the showdown, in which the winning venture gets $120,000.

The conference takes place Nov. 9, with panels on subjects such as the economic and community impact of sports in Los Angeles, the changing landscape of sports media, and the increasing prominence of athletes in the business world.

Judge said his firm hopes to make its mark in the business world by acknowledging that many good ideas turn into reality only because whoever dreamed them up can find friends and family to fund them.

“Wealth is not evenly distributed. Opportunity is not evenly distributed,” he said. “How can we help make access to capital more fair? How can we be the friends and family route?”

Judge said he would be on stage at the event, which means he’ll need walk-up music too.

“It’s L.A. so Kendrick, or Dr. Dre, or Tupac,” he said. “I need to work on that.”