The figures are clear: with 77 billion euros in revenue and annual growth of 3%, the sports sector carries a lot of weight in the French economy. A sector that Bpifrance monitors very closely, providing financial support, but also leading its community of leaders. Launched in 2020 to innovate the French sports ecosystem, it brings together 55 professional sports clubs, both women and men, whose partner is a public investment bank. They represent seven sports: football, rugby, basketball, handball, volleyball, ice hockey and water polo. Last ” recruit “To this day, the Cécifoot football club from Bondy has just joined the ranks of this team on the eve.” Innovate your club », An event organized at Bpifrance Le Hub on June 2 in Paris. “You are the main economic and social players in each of your territories”reminds them of Patrice Bégay, Bpifrance’s chief communications officer.
Through this network, Bpifrance has multiple goals. “Strengthen the business and commercial development of clubs and expand your national and international network”, continues Patrice Bégay. Then strengthen the fame of sports clubs, as well as develop the skills of their leaders through advice and training. Above all, “It is necessary to connect with all players in sports. Creating bridges, enabling meetings and synergies is therefore a permanent duty. ”he invites. To develop innovation within the Leaders ecosystem, the public bank relies in particular on a network of 16,000 partner companies of all sizes, including a number of start-ups developing disruptive solutions.
E-sport, NFT, applications: phosphorus sportech
In fact, the tricolor sporttech is in the starting blocks. And that phosphorus in very different fields. Therefore, 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 subscription payments online or by enabling the sharing of comments, photos or videos. “It’s an organizational application and a social network”, says Nizar Melki, co-founder of the young filming, which has almost 2 million users and aims to spread its wings internationally. For its part, Metafight offers the purchase of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighters in irreplaceable tokens (NFT), these digital certificates that give ownership and are exchanged on the blockchain. Revolution, in a way. “This affects the appropriation of the right to the image of professional athletes who earn little. How to sell your image and help them get better paid is a big topic that NFT can answer »says Thomas Chauveau, co-founder of Metafight.
Another field of research, electronic sports, in other words the practice of online video games on the Internet. For example, the MCES Esport Club has professional teams that play games like Fortnite while investing in training. “We have developed academies, clubs and sports coaching diplomas to support the development of players at all stages of their evolution.”, says Sandra Niellini, co-founder of this structure in Marseille. The Esport Club can additionally join the traditional club. “ Today, we are talking with sports federations to develop sports sections in clubs so that we can use them as a motivational lever that allows young people who are in clubs to stay there.assures the leader.
Incubators, key links
Within this changing ecosystem, incubators and accelerators play a key role in creating and expanding innovative sports companies. Le Tremplin supports start-ups as well as big accounts, private or institutional, to transform their activities or help them meet their innovation challenges. “We have an incubator side and an accelerator side, depending on the maturity level of the start-up”notes Jean-Baptiste Alliot, CEO of Vitality Hub, one of the poles of this structure that supports both projects on social issues such as better aging or combating a sedentary lifestyle, as well as sports performance, accompanied by nuggets such as MyCoach, designer educational tools in the form of web applications for learning sports.
Structuring, networking and fundraising assistance are 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 be held in September to launch a new promotion from January. For its part, Bpifrance Le Hub supports technology companies in which the public bank invests and which are already at a high level of maturity. “Our role is to be a lever of operational expectations such as employment, corporate relationships, or even communication.”, says Jonathan Lascar, director of Bpifrance Le Hub. Selection criteria? “First we look at the value supply, how innovative and disruptive it is, how deep the market is, as well as the differentiation of the market supply. First of all, let’s pay attention to the extent to which it is complementary and agile. Agility and adaptability are really important qualities ”He says.
Not forgetting the role that local authorities can play. That Grand Paris Court, in particular, feeds ambition “turning the territory into a sports territory”, says Anne-Sophie Havesou, director of the Grand Paris Sport project within this agglomeration. The strategy of sports development, but also the creation of a sports and recreation center, as well as a park of economic activities, should contribute to the emergence of the sports sector.
Schools are no less involved in building the sport of tomorrow. For example, the EPF School of Engineering, which supports companies in developing their products, worked on a scientific evaluation of sensor-supplemented hybrid lawns designed by Grass Natural. finally, “Clubs and federations need students to work with them: as volunteers, of course, but also to help them develop their strategy or communication plans, find partners or engage in marketing.”, concludes David Mignot, president of the Sports Management Business School. The future of innovative sports in the heart of the territory depends more than ever on talent training.