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Comcast launches SportsTech startup accelerator with NASCAR and others

Comcast NBCUniversal believes its can access startup invention while supporting future Olympic gold-medalists.

The American mass media company propelled its brand-new SportsTech accelerator today, based in part, on that impetus.

TechCrunch attended a briefing with Comcast execs at 30 Rock NYC to learn more about the initiative.

The SportsTech accelerator is a partnership across Comcast NBCUniversal’s boasts media symbols: NBC Athletics, Sky Sports and the Golf Channel.

The program fetches in industry marriages NASCAR, U.S. Ski& Snowboard and USA Swimming — all of whose boasts providing information on Comcast NBC channels.

Starting today, pre-Series A boasts technology startups can apply to become part of a 10 -company cohort.

Accepted crusades will gain $50,000 in equity-based funding and enroll SportsTech’s three-month accelerator boot camp — with sports industry aid and mentorship — to kick off at Comcast’s Atlanta agencies August 2020.

Boomtown Accelerators invited to take part in Comcast in managing the SportsTech curriculum, with both sharing a minimum of 6% equity in selected startups.

Industry partners, such as NASCAR and U.S. Ski& Snowboard, will dally an advisory role in startup collection, but won’t add capital.

An overarching objective for SportsTech rose during conversations with execs and Jenna Kurath, Comcast’s VP for Startup Partner Development, who will run the brand-new accelerator.

Comcast and partners aim to access innovation that could advance the business and competitive aspects of each organization.

From McDonald’s McD Tech Labs to Mastercard’s Start Path, corporate incubators and accelerators had now become common in large cap America, where companies look to tap startup ingenuity and deal-flow to adapt and hedge disruption.

Toward its own points, SportsTech has designated various elevated startup lists. They include Business of Sports, Team and Coach Success and Athlete and Player Performance.

SportsTech marriages, such as NASCAR, hope to access innovation to drive greater gathering date. The motorsport series( and its advertising-base) has become more device-distributed, and NASCAR flows more race-day data live, from the pits to the driver’s seat.

” The focus has evolved into exactly what we we going to do to introduce more engineering in the competition side of the sport…the fan experience side and how we operate as a business ,” said NASCAR Chief Innovation Officer Craig Neeb.

” We’re self-confident we’re going to get access to some fantastically strong and innovative companies ,” he said of NASCAR’s SportsTech participation.

U.S. Ski& Snowboard — the nonprofit that organizes America’s snowsport contender units — has an eye on action and medical tech for its athletes.

” Wearable engineering[ to measure results ]… is an area of interest…and things like computer perception and artificial intelligence for us to better understand technical points, are quite interesting ,” said Troy Taylor, U.S. Ski& Snowboard’s Director of High Performance.

US Ski Team

Credit: U.S. Ski& Snowboard

Some of that technology could boost prospects of U.S. contestants, such as alpine skiers Tommy Ford and Mikaela Shiffrin, at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

In a $7.75 billion deal inked in 2014 , Comcast NBCUniversal purchased the U.S. broadcast claims for Olympic competition — summer and wintertime — through 2032.

” We queried ourselves,’ could we do more ?’ The notion of an innovation engine that runs before, during and after the Olympics. Could that give our Team USA a competitive edge in their quest for amber ?,” said Jenna Kurath.

The answer came up in the affirmative and led to the formation of Comcast’s SportsTech accelerator.

Beyond supporting Olympic achievement, there is a strategic business motivation for Comcast and its new organization.

” The early insights we gain from these companies could to be translated into other commercial relationships, whether that’s licensing or even acquisition ,” Will McIntosh, EVP for NBC Sports Digital and Consumer Business, told TechCrunch.

SportsTech is Comcast’s third accelerator, and the organization has a VC fund, San Francisco-based Comcast Ventures — which has invested in the likes of Lyft, Vimeo and Slack and racked up 67 departures, per Crunchbase data.

After completing the SportsTech accelerator, cohort startups could receive series-level investment or acquire proposals from Comcast, its project appendage or manufacture spouses, such as NASCAR.

” Our natural self-restraint right now is…to have early deliverables. But overtime, with our existing spouses, we’ll have communications about who else could be a logical value-add to bring into this ecosystem ,” said Bill Connors, Comcast Central Division President.

NASCAR could debut hybrids as early as 2022

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