Disney offers cash prizes to software developers for new fitness apps


Developers, assemble! The Walt Disney Company has teamed up with Creative England, a nonprofit group, to sponsor a competition to come up with new fitness apps for families using Disney and Marvel characters. The reward? A £95,000 (or more than $148,000 in U.S. cash) prize.

The competition in England was designed “to target software specialists outside London’s highly competitive development scene,” according to a press release, though only companies in England are qualified for the competition.

Matt Carroll of Disney said in the release that the competition was seeking submissions that take advantage of the latest heath technology trends, such as wearable fitness sensors.

“We hope developers will be inspired to come up with fun and engaging digital solutions using Disney’s stories and characters for families to use, which will positively effect [sic] a healthier way of life,” Carroll wrote.

Disney officials said the company’s decision to back the competition follows the success of a Pirates of the Caribbean add-on for the Disney Infinity video game created in Brighton by local developer Studio Gobo.

Disney and Creative England’s competition will award £5,000 (more than $7,500) to three regional developers in the first round to prepare a ‘proof of concept’. One team will then win £80,000 (more than $125,000) in funding to help develop a final product.

Disney is just one large company that is seeking to secure a piece of the lucrative fitness technology industry. This week, Apple introduced its new watches that are touted to have a fitness component that is an integral part of the devices. But it’s not just in the mobile tech realm in which Disney has turned to sports to reflect some of its core values and tap into poplar pastimes for its fans.

The Walt Disney Company has continued to build its ties to professional and amateur sports, too. Last week, the company announced its sponsorship of the new Orlando City Soccer Club. Also, the popular runDisney division appears to be growing by leaps and bounds with new races, health and fitness expos, and related events. In addition, Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando hosts amateur sporting events of all types year-round and continues to attract positive fan exposure even with little marketing compared to that of the resorts and theme parks here in Orlando.


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