At “Innov your club”, Bpifrance provides assistance.

The numbers are clear: with 77 billion euros in revenue and annual growth of 3%, the sports sector weighs heavily on the French economy. A sector that Bpifrance fully follows, by providing financial support, but also by community leadership by its Leaders. Launched in 2020 to introduce innovation to the French sports ecosystem, it brings together 55 professional sports clubs, both women’s and men’s, of which the public investment bank is a partner. They represent seven sports disciplines: football, rugby, basketball, handball, volleyball, ice hockey and water polo. The latter ” new members »To date, the football club Cécifoot, from Bondy, has just joined the ranks of this team on the eve of« Innovate your club », An event organized at Bpifrance Le Hub on June 2 in Paris. “You are the major economic and social players in each of your territories”reminds them of Patrice Bégay, Executive Director and Communication of Bpifrance.

Through this network, Bpifrance has many goals. “Strengthen the business and commercial development of clubs and expand your national and international network”, continued Patrice Bégay. Then, strengthen the popularity of sports clubs, as well as develop the skills of their leaders through advice and training. Most of all, “It’s important to connect with all the players in the sport. Creating bridges, facilitating encounters and solidarity is a permanent duty.”, he urged. To drive innovation within the Leaders ecosystem, the public bank relies primarily on a network of 16,000 partner companies of all sizes, including several start-ups that produce disruptive solutions.

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E-sport, NFT, applications: phosphorus sportech

In fact, the tricolor sportec is in the starting blocks. And it is phosphorus in various fields. Thus, SportEasy has developed a digital application that aims to simplify the daily life and administrative management of amateur teams and clubs: for example, by collecting payment of subscriptions online or by consent in sharing comments, photos or videos. “It’s an organizational application and a social network”, says Nizar Melki, co-founder of the young shoot which claims nearly 2 million users and aims to expand its wings worldwide. In part, Metafight offers to buy MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters cards with non-fungible tokens (NFT), these digital certificates grant ownership rights and are exchanged on the blockchain . A revolution, in a way. “This affects the provision of image rights to low -income professional athletes. How to sell their image and help them get better paid is the big topic that NFTs can answer »said Thomas Chauveau, co-founder of Metafight.

Another field of exploration, electronic sport, in other words is the practice of a video game network on the Internet. For example, the MCES esports club has professional teams that play games like Fortnite, while investing in training. “We have developed academies, clubs, and diplomas in esports teaching to support the development of players at all stages of their evolution”, says Sandra Niellini, co-founder of this Marseille structure. An esports club can also be attached to a traditional club. “ Now we are talking to sports federations to develop esports sections in clubs to use them as a motivational lever that allows young people who are in clubs to stay there.specificity of the leader.

Incubators, key links

Within this burgeoning ecosystem, incubators and accelerators play an important role in creating innovative sports companies and their scaling. Le Tremplin supports start-ups as well as major accounts, private or institutional, to change their activity or help them meet their change challenges. “We have the incubator side as well as the accelerator side, depending on the maturity level of the start-ups”says Jean-Baptiste Alliot, executive director of the Vitality Hub, one of the pillars of this structure that supports both projects on social topics such as for example better aging or the fight against sedentary living, as well as performance in sports, by incorporating nuggets like MyCoach, a designer of educational tools in the form of web applications to learn sports.

Structuring, networking and fundraising assistance is an integral part of Le Tremplin’s support for start-ups, even those in early stage, explains Jean-Baptise Alliot. The next call for applications will also take place in September for the launch of a new promotion from January. In part, Bpifrance Le Hub supports tech companies in which the public bank invests and is at an advanced level of maturity. “Our role is to be a lever on operational expectations such as recruitment, links with companies, or even communication”, says Jonathan Lascar, director of Bpifrance Le Hub. Selection criteria? “We first look at the value proposition, how innovative and disruptive it is, what the depth of the market is, as well as the difference of offer in the market. Above all, we pay attention to the team, to the extent that it is complementary and agile. Agility and flexibility, in fact, are essential qualities ”he says.

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A hybrid ecosystem

Without forgetting the role that local authorities can play. The Grand Paris Sud, in particular, feeds on the ambition of “changing territory into a sports territory”, said Anne-Sophie Havesou, project director of Grand Paris Sport within this merger. A strategy for the development of esports, but also the creation of a sports leisure center as well as an economic activity park, should contribute to the emergence of a sports sector.

Schools are less involved in developing the sport of tomorrow. For example, the EPF School of Engineering, which supports companies in developing their products, has worked on the scientific evaluation of hybrid lawns augmented by sensors, designed by the company Grass Natural. Finally, “Clubs and federations need students to work with them: as volunteers, of course, but to also help them develop their strategy or communication plans, find partners or market”, graduation of David Mignot, president of the Sport management business school. The future of an innovative sport among the territories depends largely on the training of talents.