3 min read

MLS welcomes six sports tech start-ups to accelerator program


Major League Soccer (MLS) has officially launched its Innovation Lab accelerator program, introducing a diverse line-up of six early-stage sports technology companies set to reshape the football landscape.

After sifting through applications from “hundreds” of companies, MLS selected start-ups focusing on player development, fan engagement and media and consumption for its inaugural cohort.

The chosen innovators include A-Champs, offering a Spanish cognitive and technical training system; Camb.AI, specialising in automatic content translation in the speaker’s own voice; and Fabric, a mixed reality specialist. Additionally, the cohort features Fitogether, a wearable tracking equipment developer; Reeplayer, an AI camera maker; and Stadium US, an AI-powered 5G camera and OTT platform capturing live streams and highlights.

All six start-ups will gain invaluable exposure by testing their products in live settings at various events and tapping into MLS’ extensive network of contacts and expertise.

“Major League Soccer strives to be the front porch of innovation for the sports industry,” stated Gary Stevenson, Deputy Commissioner of MLS and President of Soccer United Marketing.

“In that spirit, MLS Innovation Lab provides a truly unique offering in global sports. Our 2024 cohort places a spotlight on some of the most exciting tech start-ups from around the world, and we eagerly anticipate their impact on the sport in the years to come.”

MLS Innovation Labs, announced last year, aligns with other prominent incubators like the NBA’s LaunchPad, focusing on start-ups advancing both on-court and off-court activities.

Chris Schlosser, Senior Vice President of Emerging Ventures at MLS, discussed the initiative, noting it as an annual program.

“The first cohort get to showcase their products in MLS and MLS Next Pro to really show us what they can do,” Schlosser explained.

“The best companies will be invited to the MLS All-Star Game, where the owners of all 29 MLS clubs will be present. That’s an unbelievably powerful room in the sports world.”

The 2024 MLS season, covered by a 10-year, US$2.5 billion broadcast deal with Apple TV, will mark the second campaign of this partnership.

The MLS Season Pass offers live global coverage of every game along with a live ‘whiparound’ show and digital features.

In collaboration with Apple, MLS will present an eight-part docuseries Beyond the Pitch, produced by Box to Box Films, known for the successful Formula 1-themed Drive to Survive on Netflix.

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