Comcast NBCUniversal secures heavyweight support for sports tech accelerator

US media conglomerate Comcast NBCUniversal has launched a new global accelerator for sports technology startups, targeting applications in fields including sports venue and event innovation.

SportsTech has heavyweight backing in the form of Comcast NBCUniversal’s sports brands – NBC Sports, Sky Sports and Golf Channel – alongside US motor-racing series NASCAR and two US Olympic sports organisations – U.S. Ski & Snowboard and USA Swimming. Comcast Ventures, the company’s San Francisco-based venture capital arm, will round out the partnership.

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.

The inaugural class will begin in August, with the application process for entries opening yesterday (Tuesday). SportsTech will offer a three-month custom-tailored program for up to 10 startups. Initial focus areas will include technologies and products in several key categories, such as sports venue and event innovation, fan and player engagement, media and entertainment, and business of sports.

The deadline to submit an application for SportsTech is May 15, with applications being welcomed from across the world. The selected startups will reside in Atlanta for the duration of the program, operating out of SportsTech’s location at The Battery at Truist Park, where Comcast’s The Farm accelerator is also based.  It will be directed by Boomtown Accelerators, a leading accelerator program headquartered in Boulder, Colorado.  Boomtown already operates The Farm for Comcast NBCUniversal.

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. 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.

SportsTech is the third accelerator created by Comcast NBCUniversal in the last three years, joining LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by TechStars, based out of the company’s global headquarters at the Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia, and The Farm.

“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,” said Jenna Kurath, vice-president of startup partner development at 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.”