Our mission is to bring sports fans closer to the games they love through the use of technology.
With its fans-first mindset, YinzCam has become the premier professional sports app vendor in the world over the last 10 years, having developed more than 180 mobile apps for teams, leagues, venues and events.
Not long before our mission statement was formalized, however, the goal of our founder and CEO Priya Narasimhan was a little more personal.
“I started this because I wanted something for me,” she admitted during an interview with the Sports Geek podcast.
A faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, Priya had fallen in love with hockey upon moving to Pittsburgh, PA, and being introduced to the sport. It was while attending a game in 2007, high up in the stands of Mellon Arena, former home of the Pittsburgh Penguins, that she became frustrated that she was missing key plays on the ice down below.
“Everybody else is taller than I am, so I would never see the goal, the fight, the save… And we couldn’t fix my height, so we had to find another way.”
Inspired to find a new way to enjoy the games and view the big moments, Priya started an academic research project at CMU to find out if mobile phones could offer fans like herself a second look at the action inside the arena.
That project led to a partnership with the Penguins, who allowed Priya’s roster of curious students to install wifi access points throughout their arena, and tap into the club’s video feeds to cut and publish highlights from multiple camera angles for fans to view via their not-so-smart phones during the 2008-09 season. And that partnership led to huge viewership by Pittsburgh fans during the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals, which in turn led to the birth of YinzCam.
“We went to talk to the Penguins (about the numbers), and they said, ‘Look, if you have this ready, we will roll it into our new arena,’” Priya recalled. “At that point it was no longer a research project, it was, ‘Oh wow, you want a product!’ So we made the leap from research project to product. We went to the university, spoke to them, spun it out of the university and now we are a start-up with the Penguins as our first client.”
It wasn’t long after launching that the New England Patriots heard about what we were doing with the Penguins and became our first NFL client. Then came the local Pittsburgh Steelers and 11 more NFL clubs, followed by our first NBA client, the Phoenix Suns.
Fast forward 10 years and we are proud to have clients across the globe, totaling more than 75 million app downloads. But we don’t just do apps. With our mission always top of mind, we have expanded our team of talented in-house developers, designers and engineers, who now create Augmented Reality games and features, who equip venues to sell food and beverage via mobile, clubs to collect, store and analyze data, and so much more!
Believe it or not, Priya Narasimhan was not a fan of American sports when she moved to the United States in 1998 to pursue a higher education. One of the most influential women and successful entrepreneurs in the sports business today, the founder & CEO of YinzCam knew little about American football, basketball, hockey or tennis at the time, and had never even considered pursuing a career in sports.
Born in India and raised in Zambia, Africa, Priya had grown up watching cricket, rugby and fútbol, and would often stay up to watch matches from back home in the middle of the night, while attending the University of California Santa Barbara. But her focus was on earning her PHD in electrical and computer engineering, and her dream was to become a faculty member and to teach.
Until that one memorable night in 2007 at Mellon Arena on 66 Mario Lemieux Place in Pittsburgh, PA, that is.
“It all changed when I went to my first ice hockey game for the Pittsburgh Penguins,” said Priya, who had moved to Pittsburgh after graduating to become a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. “It was like religion for me, sitting in the stands, nosebleed seats – that’s what you could get as a faculty member on a good day – I just absolutely fell in love with the sport. It was transformational for me.”
It was also the beginning of a new dream and a second career, as her new love of hockey was the inspiration behind YinzCam, which she founded out of CMU in May of 2009.
In the decade since, Priya has won numerous awards, presented at conferences around the world, and partnered with hundreds of professional sports franchises and leagues across the globe, to enhance the experience of sports fans like herself, all while building an innovative tech company in Pittsburgh and continuing to teach as a Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon.
As YinzCam’s new Chief Strategy Officer, George Scott is focused on growing the company globally, while leveraging its diverse and innovative clients to develop new products and services for fans of a wide variety of sports around the world.
Prior to joining YinzCam in June of 2020, George spent 12 years at the National Football League, where he led the development of the league’s Club Media Group, overseeing a wide array of technology. His accomplishments with the NFL included the migration of all 32 clubs to a unified CMS, partnering with the teams to build out their social media platforms, setting individual franchise strategies for growth in reach, engagement and monetization, and more recently, working to increase opportunities for club content distribution, including the first-ever live game streaming on clubs’ mobile websites and apps.
During his tenure, George made it a priority to visit each and every NFL franchise, spending time at their training facilities, headquarters, press boxes, stadiums and tailgates, all in an effort to understand the unique brands and fan bases.
Prior to his role at the NFL, George was SVP and COO of the College Sports Online division of CBS, where he led the growth in NCAA properties from less than 80 to over 230 prior to his departure.
“Having worked with NFL clubs for 12 years, I am excited to be in a position to help make their unique and innovative ideas for their fans a reality. The more we grow across the sporting world, the more our clients benefit from the collective knowledge and creativity of the whole.
“YinzCam’s passion for developing creative solutions for sports fans is what brought me here. I can’t wait to harness that passion to take us to a whole new level.”
When not working, researching or traveling, George enjoys running, rowing and spending time with his family; his wife Darlene, their son, daughter and two energetic dogs.