Comcast NBCU To Launch ‘SportsTech’ Startup Accelerator Program
New company will leverage NBCU’s vast sports-media portfolio and expertise
Comcast NBCUniversal is looking to leverage its extensive sports-media–technology portfolio to give the next generation of sports-tech startups a boost. The company has announced the launch of SportsTech, a global accelerator for sports-technology startups that will be supported by three of Comcast NBCU’s sports brands — NBC Sports, Sky Sports, and Golf Channel — as well as NASCAR and two U.S. Olympic sports organizations: U.S. Ski & Snowboard and USA Swimming. Comcast Ventures, the company’s San Francisco-based venture-capital arm, will round out the partnership.
According to the announcement, each partner will serve on an advisory committee that influences the innovation priorities of SportsTech, and each will provide startups with direct access to strategic industry relationships, mentorship, and partnership opportunities. Partners will have early exposure to emerging sports-tech trends and technologies that cross multiple sports, gaining insight into how these technologies can potentially reshape and benefit their businesses.
Based in The Battery Atlanta/SunTrust Park, where Comcast Cable’s Central Division headquarters are located, the new accelerator is designed to provide sports-tech startups with the resources and relationships to succeed by giving them access to a broad international consortium of advisors, a custom sports-tech curriculum shaped by industry experts, and investment capital.
“We are delighted to introduce SportsTech to our suite of accelerators to help founders build sports technology and products, refine their business models, tell their stories, and benefit from the unique assets and talent of Comcast NBCUniversal,” says Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer, Comcast Cable. “Comcast NBCUniversal has some of the most prominent sports brands, and we are excited to partner with founders through SportsTech.”
SportsTech is the third accelerator created by Comcast NBCUniversal in the past three years, joining LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by TechStars, based in the company’s global headquarters at the Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia, and The Farm, powered by Boomtown, located in Atlanta.
“The demand for sports technology across the globe has never been greater, yet most sports startups don’t have access to the resources they need to succeed nor an ability to develop relationships with the right people inside the industry,” says Jenna Kurath, VP, startup partner development, Comcast Cable. “SportsTech will provide the curriculum and platform for founders to develop their ideas while obtaining mentorship from leaders in multiple sports, enabling them to further deploy their technologies to dramatically improve sports experiences for athletes and audiences alike.”
Beginning in August, SportsTech will offer a three-month custom-tailored program for up to 10 startups. Initial focus areas will comprise technologies and products in several key categories:
- Media & Entertainment
- Fan & Player Engagement
- Athlete & Player Performance
- Team & Coach Success
- Sports Venue & Event Innovation
- Fantasy Sports & Sports Wagering
- Business of Sports
Early-stage startups from around the world are encouraged to apply for the inaugural class, which will begin in August, at www.comcastsportstech.com. The deadline for submitting an application for SportsTech is May 15. The selected startups will reside in Atlanta for the duration of the program, operating out of SportsTech’s flagship location at The Battery at SunTrust Park, where Comcast’s The Farm accelerator is also based. It will be directed by Boomtown Accelerators, a Boulder, CO-based accelerator program that operates The Farm for Comcast NBCUniversal.