SportsNL is excited to announce the launch of the Sports Tech Innovation Bridge to the United States (STIB-US).

This groundbreaking program, designed by SportsNL, aims to expedite the entry of Dutch businesses into the US market. SportsNL is extending an invitation to all sports tech companies incorporated in the Netherlands to take advantage of this opportunity. STIB-US equips participants with the necessary tools, knowledge, and support to successfully enter the US market, with a specific emphasis on the sports industry.

The STIB-US program is an initiative of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Miami in collaboration with Alan B Levan | NSU Broward Center of Innovation, Miami, FL, The University of North Texas Sports Innovation Project, Frisco, TX, KNVB (Royal Dutch Football Federation), SportInnovator, the Johan Cruijff Arena, and with support from RVO and ScaleNL.

About the program

The program consists of three parts. Starting this November, all participants will have access to live online workshops led by industry experts. These workshops will cover various topics, including the US mindset, cultural differences between our countries, and effective strategies for marketing, branding, presenting, and pitching a company or product. From a sports perspective participants will discover the American Sports industry in all its facets; pro sports, educational sports, recreational sports, fans, marketing, and fan engagement.

In January 2024, a second selection round will follow where selected candidates will be able to pitch at the KNVB headquarters. The finalists of the event will then be offered a customized online mentorship program leading up to the highlight of this program: an immersive visit to two prominent American sports cities to Dallas, Texas and Miami, Florida. During this visit, the group will undergo an in-person bootcamp that familiarizes them with the entrepreneurial environment, the innovation and tech ecosystem, and provides them with invaluable insights from experts and investors in both cities. The program culminates in a pitch in front of a carefully curated audience in both Dallas and Miami.

If you are interested in participating in the STIB-US program, please complete the online application form here by Saturday, October 21, 2023.

Apply for a fastpass to enter the US Sports Market

The Opportunity

The US professional sports market is the largest in the world and accounts for over $83 billion when only looking at major revenue streams for the sport teams (ticket revenue, media rights, sponsorships, and merchandise). This does not include youth sports or athletic departments of universities, that generate a combined $19bln a year. In contrast to youth sports in the Netherlands which is organized in non-profits and run by volunteers, the US youth sports system is often structured as a business ($37.5bln). From the elite quarterback of an NFL franchise to the 5-year old girl playing soccer around the corner in a recreational league: Sports is business.

The US is leading the way in the use of data innovation in sports across American schools, colleges, and universities. For the Dutch sports industry, the American sports sector is very attractive as a market for innovative products, services, and technologies. The Dutch sports sector is constantly developing and innovating, from greening sports locations to youth and talent development, fan experience, athlete performance, vitality and diversity and inclusion. The US market embraces innovation to gain momentum over its competitors.

Major international sporting events will hosted in the US over the coming years, such as the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in 2026, FIFA World Cup (World Cup) in 2026 and the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Additionally, it is on rare occasion that three Formula 1 Grand Prix races (Las Vegas, Austin and Miami) will be hosted in the US. Altogether, this demonstrates optimal momentum from the internal US sports market and offers enormous opportunities for Dutch companies and organizations.

Sports Tech Innovation Bridge to the US aims to unlock these opportunities, by providing unique exposure, connections and preparation. It is open to all areas of sport technology innovation, yet we will place special emphasis on the following 3 areas:

  • Athletic performance and talent development: Be better solutions in data, mental health, specialty performance, coaching
  • Grounds, facilities and operations: Grass solutions, smart stadiums and ID solutions, traffic, sustainability (energy, water, greening)
  • Community and fan engagement: Smart camera’s, smart ID, racism and discrimination topics, social media solutions

Workshop Overview


Starting Your Business Journey in the USA – by Levan

Gain a deep understanding of the American business landscape, define your unique value proposition, articulate the problem and the solution you offer, legal requirements including but not limited to business entity types and their implications, IP protection and contracts, employment, and labor laws. Through a combination of theoretical concepts, interactive discussions, and practical exercises you will develop a strong foundation to navigate the complexities of the American business ecosystem.


The American Sports Consumer – by UNT

Delve into the psyche of the American sport consumer and explore what is important to them in their sports experiences, both as a participant and fan. Based on that outline, current trends in the American sports culture are explored (fan engagement, emerging sports, sports centric hospitality, etc.).


The Fragmented Sports Structure – by UNT

In this workshop, we explore the different American sports structures (professional sports, collegiate sports, high school sports, amateur sports), and how they operate. Franchise-league structures, Competitive balance measures, revenue sharing, talent development systems, and understanding what drives these different entities will be the main focus.


Business Development in the USA – by Levan

Explore topics that are critical to accelerating your sports tech business in the USA. You will learn how to develop an effective market entry strategy, conduct US market research, create a strong brand messaging strategy for the US market, how to leverage digital marketing tactics, social media, and influencer partnerships. This workshop will also cover supply chain logistics, scaling your team and implementing agile project management methodologies for efficient growth.


Marketing Strategies – by UNT

In this workshop we explore B2C and B2B marketing strategies for new market entrants, and explore how participants can connect with Americans consumers. Promotional strategies, partnership strategies, endorsement deals with influencers, and professional event attendance, among others are all discussed.


How to Present and Pitch to Investors, Businesses, and Innovation Ecosystem Leaders – by Levan

In this workshop you will have access to experienced mentors who will provide guidance tailored to your specific business needs which includes crafting and refining your pitch deck. You will be equipped with the skills to communicate your vision to potential investors and partners in-person, virtually and through video presentations.


The program consists of an initial application process and screening, (mandatory) live online workshops providing insights about the US sports market, followed by a selection process and a (hybrid) pitch session in the Netherlands for the selected companies. The top companies from that pitch will then be selected to cross 'the bridge' and join us in Miami and Dallas. Please block the following dates in your calendar:
September 20, 2023
Announcement program and opening date applications
October 21, 2023
Application deadline
November and December 2023
Six live online workshops by field experts
December 2023
Re-submission company pitch deck and video for selection of final candidate pitch event at KNVB
January 25
In-person pitch event for selected companies at KNVB for selection final cohort
February – May 2024
Pitch preparation for winners pitch event (i.e. final cohort)
May 2024
Boot camp and pitch in Miami, Florida and Dallas, Texas for final cohort


Who are we looking for?

The program is free and open to all, though certain criteria and conditions do apply. 

We are looking for companies with an innovative product/technology, capable of providing solutions to meet the challenges in sports as mentioned above.

The applications will be screened by a committee comprised of experts from the respective organizations involved, other industry experts might be added. The companies / solutions must meet the following criteria and conditions


  • Year of incorporation – latest 2022
  • Must have at least a minimum viable product/prototype validated in through use in the marketplace
  • Strategic fit: Company fits within the above-mentioned areas and provide an unique solution to these challenges.
  • Level of maturity: The project already has a commercial product or a proven MVP with some relevant customers/users or are in the process of finalizing the validation process of the MVP. Ideally the company is generating revenue or has been provided with outside funding through investors.
  • Team: The proposed team includes a dedicated full-time or part-time staff member focused on the growing U.S. market and has the background to successfully accomplish the market entry process.
  • Market potential: The size of the target customer(s) to which the project is addressing, as well as the purchasing capacity of these customer(s). The company must have a potential long-term impact on the sports sector. In addition, it will be positively valued if they can generate impact in related sectors.
  • Feasibility: To have a business plan based on economic-financial profitability of the project and the generation of employment.
  • Commitment: Ability to show commitment to enter the U.S. market, and willingness to dedicate resources in the short- and medium term.
What are the conditions for participation?

What kind of startups / scale ups / small medium enterprises are we looking for? What do you have to meet?

  • Be a legal entity (registered at the chamber of commerce in the Netherlands)
  • Responsible Declaration of being up-to-date with their obligations with the State Tax Agency with the applicable Tax Agency, with the local administration and with the Social Security Treasury
  • The founding partners and members of the team with decision-making capacity must attend and actively participate in the program (live and online)
  • The company agrees to participate in the communication and dissemination activities that the promoting and collaborating partners may organize in order to promote the participants in the event and beyond.
  • Participation in the live online educational program is free for all entering the program after screening, and it’s mandatory to be able to be selected for the pitch event at the KNVB in January
  • Once selected for the US part of the program (the winners of the pitch event at the KNVB), the ability to pay for your travel costs (1 flight from the Netherlands, 1 flight to the Netherlands and 1 internal flight between Miami and Dallas) – this is per person, only 1 person (founder or team member with decision-making capacity) can represent the company during the US part of the program. Other costs are covered by the program
What should our pitches have?

Your pitch (max 18 slides)

In addition to completing the application form, we expect the company to upload a pitch document with the following information (please make sure you don’t forget to describe these topics):

Company profile including year of incorporation, number of employees, turnover / capital raised and contact details

  • Identification of the need or problem to be solved
  • Value proposition and business model
  • Identification of potential users, customers or market
  • Main functionalities and Competitive differentiation
  • Internationalization plan
  • Scalability and growth
  • Technical definition of the project (at a technical level) and commercially viable
  • Reason for interest in participation:
    • Why do you see the US as your next step? 
    • Is there a need/market for your product in the US, and do you have the numbers and research to back that up? What other insights have you gained? What is your unique selling point in the most developed sports market in the world?
    • How do you see your market entrance in the US? Through an already established local sales channel, or are you going to set-up your own ‘shop’?
    • What are you looking for (investors, clients, partners, etc?)
    • What other markets outside of the Netherlands do you service and how?
    • Is your team capable of leading the company in(to) the US, do you have a plan for expansion? In other words, do you have resources (funds), expertise, labor, network in the US to follow up?
    • With this new market entry opportunity, how will it impact your current activities?

The pitch document may be submitted in free form (presentation/slide deck, letter form), but must be uploaded as a PDF file (landscape or portrait A4) (max. 10MB).

Pitches must be in English!

What are key dates for this program?

All sessions during the program are mandatory. We expect applicants to be the representatives of the participating business (founder or CEO) and for these persons to commit to the program throughout its course.

Key dates include:

  • October 21, 2023 – Application deadline
  • November through December 2023 – Mandatory live online workshops by field experts at 19:00 NL time (CET)
    1. Thursday Nov 2: Starting Your Business Journey in the USA – by Levan
    2. Thursday Nov 9: The American Sports Consumer – UNT
    3. Thursday Nov 16: Business Development in the USA – Levan
    4. Wednesday Nov 22: The Fragmented Sports Structure – UNT
    5. Thursday Nov 30: Marketing Strategies – UNT
    6. Thursday Dec 7: How to Present and Pitch to Investors, Businesses, and Innovation Ecosystem leaders – Levan
  • December 2023 – Re-submission deadline pitch deck and video for selection of final candidates
  • January 25, 2024 – In-person pitch event for selected companies at KNVB
  • February through May 2024 – Pitch preparation for winners pitch event (i.e. final cohort)
  • May 2024 – Boot camp and pitch in Miami, Florida and Dallas, Texas for final cohort
What are the costs involved with the FLOTEX 23/24 STIB-US program?

Participation in the live online educational program is free for all companies that are admitted to the program after screening. Attendance to all sessions is mandatory to be eligible for selection for the pitch event at the KNVB in January.


Once selected for the US part of the program (the winners of the pitch event at the KNVB), each participant will need to be able to pay for your travel costs (1 flight from the Netherlands, 1 flight back to the Netherlands and 1 domestic flight between Miami and Dallas). The program can only accommodate 1 person (founder or team member with decision-making capacity) who will be representing the company during the US part of the program. Other costs are covered by the program.


Contact Person FLOTEX 23/24 STIB-US Program

Miami, Florida

Maurice Ouderland

Apply now for the FLOTEX 23/24 STIB-US Program