First Cleveland Indians Tribe Hackathon, in partnership with Progressive Insurance and Tech Elevator, a success

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Over 150 people gathered May 21 at Progressive Field’s Terrace Club to watch the demos for what many hope will be the first in a long series of Tribe Hackathons, where talented software developers put their minds and skills towards building great technology around the game of baseball.

The event was a collaboration between the Cleveland Indians, Progressive Insurance and TechElevator, a coding bootcamp which teaches novices to become software developers through a 14-week intensive full-time program.

The inaugural Tribe Hackathon asked developers to use technology to enhance the fan experience.

“We deliberately kept the challenge broad,” said Anthony Hughes CEO and co-founder of Tech Elevator, “And it paid off. What we saw was unbridled creativity and I’d be surprised if at some future point fans in Progressive Field aren’t experiencing some derivative of what we saw created at the hackathon.”

Members of the community who came to watch the demos were treated to a very wide range of projects from a wide array of participants. High level developers with a passion for the game mingled with college students and hobbyists. Projects included

  • “Uber style” ordering of concessions directly to the fan’s seat
  • A digital re-creation of the famous hot dog race for the field’s new scoreboard
  • A virtual reality project enabling a fan to experience the game live from the field

HARdball, the-grand prize winner (winning signed Brantley Jerseys and seats behind home plate) produced a highly polished smart phone app using augmented reality (AR): By hovering a smart phone camera over the field, fans can access extra data associated with players.

“The Tribe Hackathon was an unbelievable experience and fusion of two of my passions: coding and baseball.” said Chad Millburn who teamed up with colleagues from Recess Creative.

“We couldn’t have engineered it better to be honest,” said Neil Weiss, Indians CIO, “When Anthony and I brainstormed the initial idea it was simply about finding a fun way to unite the region’s developer community. The energy here, the connections made, and the technology created has far exceeded our expectations.”

“Progressive is honored to have been a cosponsor of this exciting event, given our reputation as a tech leader.” Added Jane Gundlach, Progressive IT Manager. “It aligns with our company’s passion for innovation, creativity and fun.”

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