Braves CEO on Winning Atlanta Tech Talent

The Braves’ fan experience was at the center of this weekend’s Braves App Challenge, a hackathon aimed at finding innovative solutions to help create the greatest sporting experience in the Southeast. There were seven teams competing for the top prize of $5K and a runner-up price of $1K. All teams were charged with building consumer-facing mobile elements that integrate into the SunTrust Park/Battery Atlanta app.

The challenge is part of the new partnership between the Atlanta Tech Village and the Atlanta Braves, an effort to join up forces and highlight Atlanta’s growing tech scene and all of the startups thriving in it.

After 36 hours of non-stop coding, the demos were presented on Sunday, August 14, in front of a judging panel that included Braves Chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk, VP of Marketing Adam Zimmerman, and Director of Digital Marketing Greg Mize. They rated the prototypes based on audience engagement, revenue potential, feasibility and scalability, and finally, creativity and originality.

braves-app-judges braves-app-winnerTeam Mixle took the big win with their fan experience app. The team was comprised of entrepreneurs Ali Mirza, Andre Mace, and Ade Ayodele. Said Mirza of their app prototype. “A lot of people go to different events, for many different reasons. Not everyone is going to the Braves game because they are a die-hard baseball fan. So how do we ensure that we’re covering that full spectrum and for the people that are there to socialize with other people — how do we connect them?”

The runner up spot was taken by Team NewEX, comprised of entrepreneurs Sai MaddaliDerrick MillerLaVette CliftonYogesh Jindal, and Justin Matthews. Their app idea invites fans to tailor their own experiences while at the ballpark — whether it’s a 21+ group or a family-friendly group. Through the app, you can add your own experiences (think meets with the mascot, kiss cam opportunities, etc), pay for them along with your tickets, and sit in an area with like-minded folks.

braves-app-runnerupAfter crowning the winner, we spoke to CEO and Chairman of the Atlanta Braves, Terry McGuirk, about his experience judging the teams and why this ATV/Braves partnership is important to Atlanta.

What was your experience seeing the teams work together on this challenge along with the judging process?

The whole judging process was interesting because we had a mission, which was this great technology pipeline that we have. A terabyte of internet capacity is arriving at the Battery and Suntrust Park and we were offering to all of these groups to try and fill it up for us. Give us good ideas and new apps. Everybody had a wonderful approach to the different ways to engage the fans and make the Battery a more vibrant and important place. We’re looking forward to exploring with Mixel and NewEX and all of the ideas they’ve put on the platform for us to enhance and get better.

What are your thoughts on this new partnership between the Braves and ATV?

It’s a great partnership between the Tech Village and the Braves. We are doing so many tech-oriented things in Battery Park and the new ballpark. It will be the most technologically advanced project ever done in America. We expect all of the people here at Tech Village to be a part of it. I’d say that this is a partnership that will continue onwards.

Why do you think is important for the Braves to get involved with the tech scene here in Atlanta?

It’s ideas. We want the best and the brightest people working to come up the best ideas on how to engage our fans and how to use this great technology gift that we have. It’s a perfect marriage.