What are the biggest sports tech markets? When asked that yesterday, it was a quick answer: Boston, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles. To be clear, we’re seeing an increase in activity and quality companies across the map (in US and globally) – but like sports there need to be leaders at the top of the table.
While these markets mirror the overall tech industry trends in terms of financings, activity, buzz, etc., there are complementary reasons that make each a strong community for building a sports-enabled tech company.
- Boston– Sports permeate day-day life; unofficial sneaker capital (New Balance, Reebok, Converse, Saucony); DraftKings set stage.
- San Francisco– Sports embracing tech isn’t a new concept; still the de facto place sports stakeholders look to engage with new technologies.
- New York– Home to all the leagues; media hub and largest market; most pro teams.
- Los Angeles– Entertainment epicenter; as e-sports grow and institutionalize, LA has emerged as the leader.
These four markets also have the most sports tech startups according to AngelList (Chicago is 5th), developing some critical mass.
As active venture investors focused on helping accelerate technology companies that are (or can be) empowered by sports, we’re often asked how we define the sports tech market. Words like ‘small’, and ‘niche’, sometimes come up – but that thinking ignores the bigger picture…
At the risk of sounding like a 30 for 30 tagline…what if I told you there were more than 4 billion sports fans in the world? That there are more than 6.7 billion live event viewers annually. That 200+ million Americans are active in sports and fitness. That major tech companies have, and are continuing to, create tremendous enterprise value on the back of the sports industry.
When it comes to customer loyalty and engagement at a massive scale, the sports industry is unrivaled. And leveraging sports as a platform to help grow quality early stage tech startups is a powerful recipe. The brief chart below outlines how we assess the technology application and investment opportunities in sports.
- Traditional Sports/Entertainment- The initial layer; what first comes to mind when thinking about sports industry.
- Complementary Sectors– Major industries dependent on sports for growth.
- Target technologies- The most exciting layer; every major technology focus can benefit from sports platform.
As you can see, the application and opportunity for sports enabled businesses is massive.