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Volume 26 No. 202
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Comcast Launching Sports Tech Accelerator This Year

Comcast NBCUniversal will select 10 sports-tech startups to join a new accelerator that will launch outside Atlanta this summer, hoping to supercharge innovation in eight different areas of sports business. Each company will receive a $50,000 equity investment and get first-hand strategic and technical advice, along with free office space for three months. NASCAR, U.S. Ski & Snowboarding and USA Swimming have signed on as partners. Colorado-based Boomtown Accelerators will actually operate the program, which will be based at Comcast’s existing accelerator programs at The Battery Atlanta. The broad areas of focus include: sports media and entertainment; fan/player engagement; athlete performance; team/coach success; venue and event innovation; fantasy sports and betting, esports and sports business.

Applications are available at comcastsportstech.com and are due May 15. The inaugural class begins in August. A commercial product is not necessary to be considered, and the terms contemplate a very early-stage company -- the $50,000 investment will buy a minimum of 6% equity in the startups, working out to valuation of less than $850,000. Comcast and Boomtown will be the actual equity holders. Along with the equity funding, $1.7M in other support will be available to the participating companies. The sports properties won’t hold equity in the accelerator participants, but their leaders think proximity to the program and face-to-face collaboration with the startups will bring tech solutions to their sports more quickly. 

Both NASCAR and the Olympic sports NGBs have sophisticated technical challenges but have limited funds for high-end research & development. “We’re really salivating and really interested in having some two-way conversations with some of these really bright folks about some of the innovation needs we need but haven’t been able to pursue,” said USA Swimming CCO Shana Ferguson.