Delaware Sports League moves to 1313 Innovation, vows to keep things interesting - Delaware


Dec. 15, 2015 10:58 am

Delaware Sports League moves to 1313 Innovation, vows to keep things interesting

The small biz aims to collaborate with other outfits to get millennials excited about Wilmington.
Bob Downing digs Delaware Sports League’s new digs.

Bob Downing digs Delaware Sports League's new digs.

(Photo by Lindsay Podraza)

1313 Innovation has seen an uptick in small businesses joining the coworking space since August, says one of its managers, Ryan Harrington. And they’re not all tech-related.

Take Delaware Sports League, for example. The company has been bringing Delawareans kickball, dodgeball, flag football and more since 2007, but just a few months ago, cofounder and CEO Bob Downing settled on 1313 as DSL’s new office.

“I am not one that particularly loves working from home,” Downing said in speaking of his previous work environment. “As awesome as it sounds to work in your undies, you also feel like the last man on Earth.”

Part of the draw to 1313, he said, was The Fun Dept.’s recent move to the same space. He’s friends with Nick Gianoulis, the company’s “Godfather of Fun.”

Downing, who is also working to bring large athletic entertainment events to Delaware, saw the coworking space as an opportunity to bounce ideas off The Fun Dept. folks, among others, and possibly collaborate together on future events.

“It’s an environment that has a collaborative spirit, and that’s one of the main reasons why this works for someone in a company like mine,” Downing said. “This type of energy is what I’m looking for and want to instill in my staff.”

Delaware Sports League is a growing enterprise. In its inaugural sports tournament, it hosted 10 teams and fewer than 100 folks, Downing said. Today there are 7,500 (non-unique) participants annually, with more than 625 intramural sports teams. “We’ve got the biggest start to winter ever,” he said. “We’re jumping off the charts.”

He’s pleased with that reach, but he has also branched Delaware Sports League out into the event-hosting arena. His company is a social one, and he said he’s compelled to try to make Delaware — and its large Wilmington sports contingent — a place where millennials don’t just work but live, play and take pride in the community.

“We have to create new things, things people can see that they’re going to be able to experience on a consistent basis,” he said. “We can make all the policies on crime and violence, and there’s nothing more important than education and infrastructure — however, none of it matters if people don’t want to live in your city because it’s boring.”


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