Comcast Corp. is putting a full-court press on its competition as investors and startups discover new opportunities in the increasingly tech-driven sports arena.Â
The media giant has launched SportsTech, an accelerator focused on emerging sports technologies. Ten startups will be selected for the three-month program, which begins in August in Atlanta. In exchange for a minimum of 6% equity, participants will receive a $50,000 investment as well as a custom curriculum and access to industry professionals and athletes.Â
Comcastâs initial investment into SportsTech is more than $15 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Interest in sports technology has expanded as live streaming, esports and other developments spark opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs. Esports is projected to become a $1 billion mainstream industry, and, in a futher boost to the sector, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized sports betting in 2018.
âMost sports startups donât have access to the resources they need to succeed nor an ability to develop relationships with the right people inside the industry,â said Jenna Kurath, vice president of Startup Partner Development, Comcast Cable, in a statement.
The accelerator will focus on eight investment areas, including fan and player engagement; media and entertainment; athlete and player performance; team and coach success; fantasy sports; venue and event innovation; the business of sports and esports.
SportsTech has partnered with a number of major sports media brands to offer advisory services and partnership opportunities for selected startups. Partners include three Comcast NBCUniversal entities â NBC Sports, Sky Sports and Golf Channel âÂ as well as NASCAR, U.S. Ski & Snowboard, USA Swimming and Comcast Ventures, Comcastâs venture capital arm.Â
The initiative is Comcastâs third accelerator launched over the past three years. By taking early stakes in young companies, Comcast aims to gain a foothold in emerging entertainment technologies before its competitors and create additional revenue streams for itself.