Place/Date: London, UK - March 21st, 2023 at 9:45 am UTC · 4 min read
Contact: Heidi Leid, Source: Yolo Group
The Future of Football challenge officially launched this week with an event at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton. In the following four-week virtual program, teams will rapidly test and pilot their solutions, participate in tailored workshops, and have regular and direct access to Southampton FC, Sport Republic, and Yolo Group decision-makers.
Of the 260 original applicants from 43 countries, Future of Football organizers selected 20 to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. Half of them now have the opportunity to show decision-makers from Southampton FC, Sport Republic, and Yolo Group how their solutions will support the club’s values of innovation and commitment to its fans and community.
Sarah Batters, Director of Marketing and Partnerships at Southampton FC stated:
“The Future of Football challenge is intended to help us find new ways to engage with our fans or develop our football teams using tech. We’re pleased to see the teams and ideas that will now be focused on helping us achieve those goals.”
Teams will be in competition throughout the program with only a select few reaching the finals. At the St Mary’s finale, six teams will pitch for a commercial relationship with Southampton FC and a £100k discretionary prize pool for post-program solution development.
Henrik Kraft, Sport Republic, and Southampton FC Chairman had these words to say:
“At Sport Republic, we’re looking forward to seeing how these teams progress through the program and leverage technology to innovate sport and drive club growth. We’re getting a front-row seat to the creation of the future of football.”
Tim Heath, GP at Yolo Investments and Founder of Yolo Group spoke on the developments:
“Creating something unique and testing solutions quickly is what Yolo Group and this program are all about. Congratulations to those who have made it that far – the challenge now is to turn plans into reality. After seeing the pitches, I’m now excited to see the outcomes.”
The ten teams that will be focused on creating solutions for updated football experiences in the football development or fan engagement space are:
Southampton Football Club is a professional football club that plays in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. Based in Hampshire, on England’s south coast, the club plays its home games in the 32,000-capacity St Mary’s Stadium, a stone’s throw from St Mary’s Church, where the club was formed in 1885. Nicknamed ‘The Saints’, the club’s proudest moment came in 1976 when they beat Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.
Having been named one of the world’s fastest-growing football club brands in 2015, the club went on to achieve its highest-ever Premier League finish of sixth in 2016 to secure European qualification for a second consecutive season. Proud of its 137-year heritage, but constantly moving forward, the club is renowned for doing things differently and using its strong set of guiding principles to turn potential into excellence, both on and off the pitch.
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