The Next $100M Companies in Sports
Some ideas, thoughts, and insights for those interested in athletics.
This should get your mind spinning.
My aim is to provide some ideas for anyone looking to:
build a sports startup
expand your current operations
provide good ideas to your employer
invest in the next big thing
see where the space is headed
A lot of this is just me spitballing — based on hours of research, writing, and conversations with some of the smartest people in sports.
Let’s Dive In 👇
The Next $100M Sports Businesses
As I’ve previously mentioned, there are billions of dollars ready to be deployed across the sports landscape.
The hawks are circling and the money is stacking up (while the opportunities are beginning to formulate).
If you’re going to build something in sports, now is a GREAT time.
Anything to do with data at scale is a goldmine.
Teams, leagues, players, brands, etc will pay a premium for it.
As they say, data is the new oil in sports. Add machine learning on top of this (and you have a goldmine).
The youth sports landscape is messy (especially as NIL moves downstream).
There is so much opportunity in figuring out better ways of connecting recruits to not only colleges — but also club, AAU, and prep teams.
Twitter is the current method and it’s so inefficient.
NCSA has a stranglehold over the industry, but its service-based approach is getting outdated.
Technology is what will move this forward.
D2C With Athletes
NIL turned a small 1% market of pro athletes into a large 100% market of all athletes.
Applications that connect athletes with opportunities will continue to gain ground:
With so many gatekeepers and middlemen in sports, anything that can cut through the weeds will gain traction.
Just like Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify eliminated stores + physical locations — similar applications will be tailored to sports.
We saw it with applications such as Cameo (connecting fans directly to athletes) and a little bit with coaching applications (connecting trainers with athletes remotely).
The younger generations have the worst attention spans in human history.
You can thank social media and the overflux of dopamine for that.
Look at what TopGolf did for golf. Look at what the Savannah Bananas are doing for baseball.
Both active players and fans want to be entertained.
Build towards the “TikTok” crowd and you’ll be rewarded over the next decade.
While web3 took a backseat, artificial intelligence (AI) has become a hot commodity.
But AI is one of the few areas of technology that sports are ahead of the curve on.
And that’s thanks to…
Hudl, Pixellot, Trace, and Veo who are currently battling in the AI camera landscape.
However, there’s a huge market for other AI sports applications.
Whether it’s tracking highlights, curating data, etc.
One of the most broken industries in sports/entertainment is ticketing.
The monopoly TicketMaster holds over everyone is painful — but where there is pain there is opportunity.
At the youth level, most of the ticketing is still done by cash.
At the pro/college level, digital ticketing is more prevalent.
But it still lacks many features, such as advanced data and experiences in the real or digital worlds for loyal fans.
Ticketing is a massive data play as well.
Athletes have different needs today than they’ve had in the past.
The big guys will continue to out pay everyone (CAA, Excel, etc) but NIL is enough of a niche to build something special.
I don’t think you can just offer representation though, you need lots of other verticals to separate yourself.
The big players might acquire you before you reach $100M, but there’s nothing wrong with that either.
While sports is a massive industry growing at an insane rate.
It’s still a very tight-knit community.
Much of it is a relationship game…
This is why I’m optimistic about all the talent entering the industry (especially on the tech side of things).
We have bright minds — many of them exited founders — entering from non-sports-related fields to bring their ideas, software, tech, and equipment to athletics.
It will hopefully enable greater connection and allow the most innovative and creative companies to gain the upper hand — not just those with relationships or money.
These were a few areas I see $100M companies being built in sports (I’ll save some of the other ones for another day).
PODCAST Alert: 🔦
I released Episode 1 of my new series where I interview founders, investors, and athletes transforming the future of sports.
Yesterday, I talked with former NBA player CJ Watson, who has made 20+ angel investments and authored 3 books since retiring.
Check it Out (24 min long):
Apple, Spotify, Anchor, IHeartRadio, Amazon, Google, etc
As always, thanks for reading!
Have a great weekend. We’ll talk again on Sunday.