Ten teams join Saints' Future of Football Challenge

By SFC Media time Tue 21 Mar Club

Southampton Football Club, with Sport Republic and Yolo Group, kick-off the Future of Football Challenge with ten web3 and sport tech startups.

The Future of Football Challenge officially launched this week with an event at St Mary’s Stadium. In the following four-week virtual programme, teams will rapidly test and pilot their solutions, participate in tailored workshops, and have regular and direct access to Southampton FC, Sport Republic, and Yolo Group decision-makers.

Of the 260 original applicants from 43 countries, Future of Football organisers selected 20 to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. Half of them now have the opportunity to show decision-makers from Southampton FC, Sport Republic, and Yolo Group how their solutions will support the club’s values of innovation and commitment to its fans and community.

Teams will be in competition throughout the programme with only a select few to reach the finals. At the St Mary’s finale, six teams will pitch for a commercial relationship with Southampton FC and a £100,000 discretionary prize pool for post-programme solution development.

Sarah Batters, Director of Marketing and Partnerships at Southampton FC, said: “The Future of Football Challenge is intended to help us find new ways to engage with our fans, or develop our football teams using tech. We’re pleased to see the teams and ideas that will now be focused on helping us achieve those goals.”

Sarah Batters Future of Football Challenge staff
Sarah Batters (second from left) at the Future of Football Challenge launch at St Mary's

Henrik Kraft, Sport Republic and Southampton FC Chairman, said: “At Sport Republic, we’re looking forward to seeing how these teams progress through the programme and leverage technology to innovate sport and drive club growth. We’re getting a front-row seat to the creation of the future of football.”

Tim Heath, GP at Yolo Investments and founder of Yolo Group, said: “Creating something unique and testing solutions quickly is what Yolo Group and this programme are all about. Congratulations to those who have made it that far - the challenge now is to turn plans into reality. After seeing the pitches, I’m now excited to see the outcomes.”

The ten teams that will be focused on creating solutions for updated football experiences in the football development or fan engagement space are:

Atom Stars creates quick-to-launch virtual worlds to address real-world problems
collectID connects the physical and the digital to ensure product and experience authenticity
Connected Fanatics offers a connected merchandise platform that creates new fan experiences and team connection

DIBZ uses SMS to elevate the at-game fan experience
Fanprime gamifies loyalty solutions for brands with large communities

Filmily is a new highly personalised and targeted suite of Web 3.0 fan engagement solution to engage remote fans and make them feel part of the game day experience.

Gemini Sports Analytics enables sports executives to make data-driven decisions with the help of AI
MLA uses machine learning insights to predict injuries and improve sport performance
turfcoach leverages AI to inform turf data analytics for pitch management
X-Plora upgrades games, tours, and other in-person experiences with AR/VR and gamification

Keep an eye out for further updates, with the winner announced in the coming months.


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