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IIT Madras appoints Former ESPN Head (India & South Asia) as CEO of Sports Science Centre of Excellence

IIT Madras appoints Former ESPN Head (India & South Asia) as CEO of Sports Science Centre of Excellence

  • 19th Feb 2024
  • Press Release

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) has appointed Ramesh Kumar, former ESPN Vice President and Head of ESPN (India and South Asia) and Global Head of ESPNcricinfo, as the Chief Executive Officer of Center of Excellence in Sports Science and Analytics (CESSA).

The Center of Excellence in Sports Science and Analytics at IIT Madras will be a global platform for fostering innovation in sports technology and deliver products and solutions to enhance athlete performance and also serve general fitness and health consumers. It will also create and deliver products and solutions across media platforms and work with sporting federations and bodies (creating their platforms and enhancing on ground experience and working with other media platforms) to increase fan engagement.

CESSA will also be establishing an Incubator ecosystem for Sport Tech start-ups. This will be supported by inter-disciplinary faculties accomplished in the field of modelling, data science, IoT and AI and wearables and biomechanics. The center will also deliver high quality Sports science and education courses and sports coaching products targeted at students and coaches through various strategic collaborations with IIT Madras' credibility, expertise, content and certification.

Over the next few years, CESSA will also take the lead in carrying out cutting-edge research in sports science and analytics in collaboration with leading institutes in the world.

Welcoming Ramesh Kumar to IIT Madras, Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (Alumni and Corporate Relations), IIT Madras, and the Head of CESSA said, "We are delighted that CESSA will be led by Ramesh, an industry veteran with a proven track record of impact. This aligns with our commitment to be at the forefront of sports tech helping athletes, coaches and all stakeholders."

Mr. Ramesh Kumar, an alumnus of IIT Madras (BTech (ME), 1992 Batch) comes with more than three decades of industry experience with an initial corporate stint with the Tata Group in India and close to 24 years in the sports industry. He has been providing leadership to drive global digital leadership, innovation and growth of the world's no 1 digital sports brand 'ESPNcricinfo'. He also drove overall strategic leadership for ESPN India and South Asia operations.

Outlining his vision, Mr. Ramesh Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Center of Excellence in Sports Science and Analytics (CESSA), IIT Madras, said, "I am excited to join the Center and leverage the deep tech knowledge and domain strengths in the fields of AI, ML, data science, IoT/sensors, computer vision technology and bio mechanical analysis to envision solutions and products for sportspersons, general athletes, media platforms, sports fans, sporting federations and players in the sports education domain."

CESSA is already collaborating with leading institutes nationally and globally focussed in the field of Sports science, technology and engineering including Sports Authority of India, National Center for Sports Science Research, Insipre Institute of Sports, Northwestern University and University of Birmingham.

The Centre is equipped not only with state-of-the-art infrastructure but also undertakes teaching, and research. It aims to incubate 25 start-ups a year and serve as develop a central data, insights and analytics hub to provide sports-related analytics service to various stakeholders in the sports industry world-wide.

The CESSA is going to be housed in a state-of-the-art indoor sports facility which will provide a test bed for piloting sports tech in an agile environment.

This Centre is being set up with support from the 'Institute of Eminence' initiative of the Government of India. IIT Madras was accorded the 'Institute of Eminence' (IoE) status in September 2019
. It is part of the Government of India's vision to empower educational centres to be world-class teaching and research institutions.