Southampton FC is aiming to find and accelerate the next group of sportstech disruptors in  launching ‘The Future of Football’ challenge, in a deal with Sport Republic and Yolo Group.

The Saints will welcome all “early-stage sportstech to test their solutions to innovate football and create new experiences”, in what is said to be a first-of-kind tournament hosted by a Premier League football club.

​​“We are committed to innovating and creating a positive impact is central to the way we operate and make decisions,” said Sarah Batters, Director of Marketing and Partnerships at Southampton FC. “We’re excited to see programme participants create the future of football.”

Led by Yolo Group and Sport Republic, Southampton FC will launch a four-week virtual programme. Challengers will focus on Web3 and sportstech developments to provide novel solutions to football development.

This will include scouting, training, recovery, game analytics or fan engagement be it gamification, loyalty programmes, matchday experiences and global fan engagement.

 Qualifying start-ups will be allowed to participate in ‘tailored workshops’ supported by Yolo Group to test their pilot solutions.

Following the trial period, a finale will be hosted at St. Mary’s, where start-ups will pitch for a commercial relationship with SFC and a £100k discretionary prize pool for post-programme solution development.

Yolo Group is the operating firm of leading blockchain betting brand, which has served as Southampton FC’s principal sponsor since 2020.

Backing the competition, Tim Heath, Founder of Yolo Group, added: “This programme is designed to push boundaries, to bring together a spectrum of solutions from startups around the globe. It’s a chance to create truly unique approaches – and test them. We’re driven by innovation, so we’re looking forward to seeing the results.”

The owner of Southampton FC –  Sport Republic is a London-based fund specialising in sports and entertainment investments, led by Henrik Kraft and Rasmus Ankersen and backed by lead investor Dragan Šolak.

“Sport Republic are really looking forward to being part of the Future of Football challenge to power innovation in sports tech,” noted Henrik Kraft, Sport Republic and SFC Chairman. “We are continuously seeking the most innovative sport tech companies to join our portfolio and leveraging our clubs to drive growth and digital transformation.”

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