Mélanie Duparc, Secretary General of the World Union of Olympic Cities

In recent years, a new trend has emerged: incubators and accelerators dedicated to sports technology. While the concept of incubation is rather new in the sports world, it began in the USA in 1959 when Joseph L. Mancuso opened the Batavia Industrial Center in a Batavia, New York, warehouse. While trying to find a single company to rent the warehouse, he decided instead to divide the building and rent it to separate businesses that would nurture by providing shared office services, assistance with raising capital and business advice. Incubation then expanded in the U.S. in the 1980s and spread to the UK and Europe through various related forms.

You may be wondering what does this has to do with a city. By creating a competitive ecosystem that allows sports start-ups to develop, a city could benefit from many advantages including: job creation, talent attraction, positioning of your city as a sports innovation hub, new initiatives and projects, and so on. These are many benefits that sports events can also bring; but perhaps, over a less continuous and shorter period of time.

In order to fully maximise these benefits, cities must understand the potential of sports incubators and accelerators and define how they want to activate these platforms to meet their needs. This is the purpose of this publication: providing cities with the information needed to start exploring the opportunity of supporting such initiatives.

To give you a better idea of what sports incubators and accelerators are, we have compared the different existing models. Providing insight on how they contribute to the development of startups; which vertical markets they are covering; and what the advantages of cities to support this type of initiative are.

We also asked several incubators, some of which are still in the process of development and others more mature, to tell us a little more about their background and how they operate. From Paris to Tel Aviv, via Berlin and the province of Trentino, we offer you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of innovation. Providing answers to what the future trends in the sports industry are, who the leading startups are and what motivates investors.

Highlighted in this publication is a feature on “The Spot”, the only conference in the world that brings together all sports incubators and accelerators. An annual international gathering, in the heart of the Olympic Capital, which gives the unique opportunity for all of them to learn from each other and establish new and solid relationships with the world of sport.


Enjoy the reading!


Mélanie Duparc

Secretary General of the World Union of Olympic Cities

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