Inside INdiana Business

HUB aims to grow sports tourism innovation

(IIB Photo/Alex Brown)

WESTFIELD, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The director of Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield says the newly-launched Grand Park Research & Development HUB is the next step in boosting the sports tourism industry in central Indiana. The HUB is designed as a place for entrepreneurs, businesses and universities to focus on new innovations in technology, services and research projects related to sports tourism. William Knox says the goal is to “harness the energy” of the 400-acre campus to attract businesses and create a test environment for those innovations.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Knox said the HUB will add to a well-established entrepreneurial ecosystem in central Indiana.

“It’s going to very focused on sports tourism-related technologies and services, but will definitely aid in bringing companies to the area that hopefully will start here, but then look to continue to grow and develop their business if not here in Westfield, in the central Indiana area,” Knox said. 

Grand Park is initially partnering with four companies: Spotz, Sport Aware, RefReps and ZoneIn. Each company is either housed in or has deployed its products on campus. 

“We’re currently working with a company that is developing a wireless, solar-powered streaming camera that we can use on camera,” said Knox. “So, we look at what we need as a campus and what ability we have to aid in the development and enhancement of those products and that’s how we’ll kind of start with the vetting process for these different companies that will come into the Research & Development HUB.”

Knox says the HUB will also work to produce its own research projects in the sports tourism space. Grand Park says it is partnering with the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute on research, but also to develop educational and internship opportunities.

Knox adds the goal is to develop technologies and services that will not only offset operational costs at Grand Park, but also improve safety for athletes and make operations more efficient.

In addition to the HUB, Knox says activity at Grand Park has been trending in a positive direction as things get back to normal from the pandemic. 

“For us, we’re very fortunate given our location. Being here in the state of Indiana, we were able to open up a lot sooner than many other, so we’ve been actually able to produce events for quite some time now. Now that summer’s here and our summer baseball season and softball season has started, we’ve started to see those numbers go up significantly. And, even for our fall events, they are trending very high.”