Kentucky’s Sports Tech Startup Scene: Exploring the Emerging Business Landscape.
Kentucky is renowned for its prestigious horse racing, premium bourbon, and outstanding college basketball. Traditionally associated with wealth and long-established customs, the Bluegrass state surprises with its emerging tech industry, which defies its reputation.
Following the trend that originated in the Bay Area and expanded across the country, tech companies are sprouting up all over Kentucky, gradually finding their place in the Midwest. Like in the wider tech industry, Kentucky boasts major players and smaller startups, along with a dedicated community of supporters. The local tech scene in the Bluegrass State mirrors the national landscape, making it a microcosm of the industry as a whole.
Today, we’ll explore the emerging tech startup scene in KY, including some of the most noteworthy sports tech startups we should pay attention to.
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Funding the State’s Tech Industry
In early 2023, $889,427 in state matching grants will be awarded to eight innovative companies in Kentucky. These grants aim to support the growth of the state’s technology industry and create high-paying job opportunities.
This funding is part of Kentucky’s renowned Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) matching funds program, which has gained national recognition. The grants will complement the $3.15 million in federal grants the businesses will receive collectively.
The selected Kentucky-based companies utilize technology to advance various fields, including farming, sports, pest control, and Alzheimer’s disease care.
But What About Sports Tech Specifically?
Sports is a thriving industry with a significant impact on the economy. It is a massive $83 billion market in the United States alone. However, what’s even more impressive is the sports tech sector, which has already reached $20 billion and is projected to skyrocket to an astonishing $55.14 billion by 2030.
Entrepreneurs have recognized the potential of sport-related technology and have capitalized on it in various industries. Take, for example, a BetMGM Kentucky Bonus code or the likes of Fanduel and DraftKings, two prominent betting giants with valuations of $20 billion and $14 billion, respectively.
Nevertheless, sports encompasses much more than just fantasy-social apps and betting. It presents an opportunity to unlock the hidden potential of the sports world. This includes developing improved protective gear, constructing smarter stadiums, and implementing cutting-edge training methods. Every professional sports team and major college program is actively searching for that competitive advantage, and savvy entrepreneurs are stepping up to meet these demands.
Sports Technology Trends Assisting Startups
The demand for sports tech solutions is being fueled by several factors, including the increase in live sports updates, the growing interest in at-home training, and the user’s desire for engagement. Currently, there are several industry triggers that we are noticing:
Fitness apps – The pandemic lockdowns have made at-home training sessions more common. This trend has increased since 2017 but accelerated significantly after the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, there was a notable 46% increase in installations of health and fitness apps during the first half of 2020. However, in 2021, installations have decreased by 24%. Despite this decline, the number of training sessions has increased by one-third.
Seeing past traditional sports – The younger generation (Gen Z) exhibits less enthusiasm towards sports such as football, baseball, and hockey. Instead, they show a growing interest in adventure activities and e-sports, which are becoming increasingly popular. The latest sports provide even greater chances for engagement. Furthermore, e-sports athletes are more easily accessible to their fans than conventional athletes.
Social media – The rise in real-time updates and social media posts has enhanced fan interaction. The demand for sports analytics is fueled by fans who blog and share their reviews.
Sports tech gone digital – Several options can motivate you to participate in outdoor activities using digital elements. Alternatively, some experiences provide immersive augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) capabilities. As a result, you can enjoy cycling or playing golf without leaving the comfort of your own home.
Kentucky’s Sports Tech Startup: The Future
Customers are no longer limited to just coaches, teams, or leagues. They can also include athletes, fans, videographers, publishers distributing content, advertisers, or other companies interested in acquiring data.
Sports technology is a diverse field with numerous startups catering to different aspects of the industry. The training and team management sector is just one example of the vast untapped potential for acquiring new customers in a highly competitive sports tech market. The revenue potential for certain sectors may still be unclear and present challenges. Still, there is a growing optimism that more Kentucky startups will achieve success by implementing creative business models and reaching a wider audience in the foreseeable future.