NBA launches startup accelerator in Africa

The NBA Africa Startup Accelerator is open to early-stage startups in Africa that develop solutions in event management and ticketing, youth development, AI, and digital marketing in the sports and creative industries.



The National Basketball Association (NBA) Africa has launched a startup accelerator based on the continent focused on early-stage African startup companies.

The Triple-Double: NBA Africa Startup Accelerator, run by technology incubator ALX Ventures, aims to support African tech entrepreneurs in sports and creative industries with mentorship and capital.

Early-stage startups in Africa that develop solutions in event management and ticketing, youth development, AI, and digital marketing in the sports and creative industries can apply by May 31 2024. 

Ten selected startups will receive mentorship from NBA Africa, ALX and other stakeholders, which will provide guidance focusing on product development, business growth and go-to-market strategy. 

NBA Africa says the accelerator is aligned with President Biden’s Digital Transformation with Africa Initiative and the US Department of Commerce’s Africa strategy. 

A demo day organised by NBA Africa will occur in New York City in September 2024, at which participating companies will pitch their products to a panel of industry leaders from all around the world. Four winning companies will then be selected to be awarded financial support, mentorship, and the opportunity to work with NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) on their current and future initiatives on the continent.

“We are thrilled to launch an accelerator program based on the continent and focused on early-stage African startups,” said Clare Akamanzi, CEO of NBA Africa.

“This groundbreaking new initiative reflects our commitment to expanding the African sports ecosystem, and these incredible companies will be at the forefront of shaping the future of sport on the continent.”

NBA wants to score big in Africa

The NBA has ambitious plans to attract fans in Africa.

The BAL, a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and NBA Africa, is a professional league featuring 12 club teams from across Africa that opened its fourth season in March 2024.

The league says its 2024 season will reach fans in 214 countries and territories in 17 languages through free-to-air and paid TV broadcast partnerships.

Attendance grew by 51% last season, with “more than 40,000 fans attending the 30 group phase games”, according to the BAL, although reports suggest that some group stage games were poorly attended.

As well as the BAL, the NBA is also attempting to drum up interest in its flagship US-based competition.

NBA Africa says it experienced a significant uptick in viewer engagement during the 2023-24 NBA regular season. The league said that the more than 140 live game telecasts in Africa generated a 41% year-on-year increase in average viewership and nearly 6m total watch hours.

NBA Africa’s social media accounts generated nearly 90m video views, while its YouTube channel generated a more than 230% year-over-year increase in video views, it reported.

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Adam Saidane