Campeonato Brasileiro Série A football club São Paulo has launched Inova.São, an innovation centre located at Estádio do Morumbi.

The initiative aims to welcome startups that can develop and implement innovative solutions that can increase the club’s revenue streams and improve sporting competitiveness. São Paulo aims to attract investment of up to R$6m ($943,000/€1.09m/$1.13m) over the first three years of operation, which it claims will cover the costs of the project without requiring it to provide an initial financial contribution.

In an effort to create an inspiring environment and promote new ideas, Inova.São will have a dedicated area in Morumbi overlooking the pitch. The space, initially measuring 300m², is located in the Morumbi Concept Hall area, in the lower bowl of the stadium.

It will function as a coworking space, bringing together startups and developers. The idea is that professionals from universities, companies, mentors, specialists, partners, fans, investors and startups from across the world will gather at the centre.

The School of Physical Education at USP (University of São Paulo), the first educational institution to be part of the ecosystem, has signed a collaboration agreement with the hub, along with social and cultural organisation IDBrasil.

“The design of the project and the definition of partners to enable the operation of Inova.São… have been worked on by the São Paulo Innovation Board since it was created by president Julio Casares, in July 2021,” said Wladimir Castro, a volunteer consultant in the club’s innovation department.

Inova.São will be operated by Sportheca and Deboo through strategic partnerships São Paulo has struck with the startup hub for the sports market and Web3 specialist, respectively. “We are very proud to participate in the creation of the innovation centre with São Paulo, one of the largest clubs in Brazil and in the world,” said Eduardo Tega, CEO of Sportheca.

“This initiative, which will be a reference point in the country, foresees identifying opportunities, developing solutions for the club and scaling new businesses in the area of sports tech.”

Eduardo Paraske, co-founder of Deboo, added: “This is not a single initiative or project, as the articulation of the three elements – coworking space, ecosystem and methodology – allows for the establishment of an innovative environment and culture in a lasting way.

“By appropriating technology as a means and not as an end, and by connecting with the best minds – wherever they are – we envision the agile implementation of new solutions that will improve the club’s sporting performance, increase fan engagement and also generate revenue.”

São Paulo has a reputation for innovation and has two other projects currently running alongside Inova.São. Censo Tricolor, harnessing big data technology, aims to create the first census of Brazilian football, researching at least 10 million fans.

Terra dos Campeões is being developed at the club’s training ground and is being designed to honour legendary players through both physical and digital means.

In January, São Paulo entered into a three-year sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency platform Bitso, which will lead to new experiences for fans at the Morumbi.

Image: São Paulo FC