LAS VEGAS—The owners of the New York Mets sent a delegation to Las Vegas recently to scout out talent. They weren’t there to find a new pitcher. Stalking the halls of the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, the Mets were looking for technology investments that might help the team or complement the Major League Baseball franchise’s business interests.
Welcome to the newest job in professional sports: venture capitalist. In recent years, the ownership groups behind the Mets, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Washington Capitals and Wizards have all announced the founding of new venture firms. Others, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, launched incubators for startups. The team owners have invested in virtual reality broadcast startups like LiveLike, various drone companies and Bluetooth headphone startup Doppler Labs.