By NBC Sports
Published: 14 Jan, 2020
4 Minute Read
(JANUARY 14, 2020) ATLANTA – Comcast NBCUniversal today announced the launch of SportsTech, a global accelerator for sports technology startups. SportsTech will feature an unprecedented partnership of three of Comcast NBCUniversal’s sports brands — NBC Sports, Sky Sports and Golf Channel — alongside NASCAR and two US 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. 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.
Early stage startups from around the world are encouraged to apply for the inaugural class, which will begin in August
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. 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, powered by Boomtown, located in Atlanta.
“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,” said 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.”
“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, 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 2020, 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:
“Technology has always played a pivotal role for NASCAR and our car manufacturers who, over the course of many decades, have used our sport to test and implement the next wave of innovations,” said Craig Neeb, NASCAR executive vice president and chief innovation officer. “But increasingly, our sport is focused on leveraging technology to provide comprehensive and engaging experiences, whether that’s from investing in esports and virtual reality to cultivate the next generation of fans or prioritizing connectivity solutions that enable new experiences associated with attending our live events. Joining the Comcast NBCU SportsTech accelerator program excites us because we’ll discover new ideas and have the infrastructure to fast-track them into the field and iterate further.”
The deadline to submit 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 leading accelerator program headquartered in Boulder, CO. Boomtown operates The Farm for Comcast NBCUniversal and has established itself as a preeminent home for early-stage startups.
Comcast NBCUniversal has a proud history of supporting founders and startup communities, dating back to its own founder Ralph Roberts, who had the vision to see how a small cable startup in 1963 could transform into one of the most innovative global media and technology companies. In addition to SportsTech and The Farm, run at the Central Division in Atlanta, the company also offers the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator. Both accelerators are currently accepting applications for startups from around the world to build and refine their business. To learn about the 2020 focus areas and apply, visit www.ComcastNBCULIFT.com and www.TheFarmATL.com.