Tyton Partners Inaugural Salon Series: The Intersection of Sports and Education

We are excited to announce that last week we hosted our first Tyton Partners sponsored Salon Series, which brings together a diverse group of C-suite executives, investors, former and current clients, and friends of Tyton Partners in a casual setting to network and listen as influential global knowledge sector executives discuss topics that are driving innovation in EdTech and the broader education marketplace.

For our inaugural event, we welcomed Cole Van Nice, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Elysian Park Ventures, a global investment platform dedicated to nurturing investments where sport intersects with health, culture, commerce, and technology; and Toby Kraut, Founder, and CEO of BoomTown, a purveyor of custom-tailored innovation platforms built to facilitate connections between standout startups with changemakers at corporations, mission-based organizations, and investor networks. The Tyton community was thrilled to host Cole and Toby as they discussed their respective organizations’ roles and experiences within the sports and education ecosystem, the impact recent capital markets activities have made in this space, and how they imagine this section of the market may evolve in 2024 and beyond.

Please continue reading to learn about Tyton Partners’ perspectives in this burgeoning asset class and the highlights and major themes covered during this event.

The Evolution of Sports Investing

Over the last five years, there has been a democratization of sports investment, with institutional capital flowing into major leagues like MLB, NBA, and NHL, with expectations of the NFL soon following suit. The franchise valuation landscape has also transformed significantly, fueled by exponential growth in sports broadcasting rights, gaming revenue, streaming, and over-the-top (OTT) services. As a result, sports investing has emerged as a formidable asset class with enduring appeal to private equity (PE) firms and institutional investors, underlining its real staying power in the financial landscape.


The momentum behind sports investing also has tangible benefits for ancillary technology solutions serving professional, amateur, collegiate, and club level programs. The entire sports industry is undergoing a digital transformation, with teams, leagues, and athletes increasingly leveraging technology to enhance performance, engage fans, and optimize operations. SportsTech platforms that offer innovative solutions in areas such as athlete management, performance analytics, fan engagement, and recruiting are highly sought after by strategic and private equity alike.

The Sports and Education Ecosystem

The rise in private equity interest across multiple sports verticals is also reinforced by transforming business models at the nexus of sports and education that include several exciting areas:

  • Franchised and Multi-Center Sports Education: Driven by post-pandemic tailwinds, parents are spending more on outside of school enrichment and “whole child” learning activities – and sports is leading the way: from swim schools to centers to learn soccer, basketball or gymnastics, to summer sports camps and elite training facilities and leagues for older children
  • Sports Management Platforms: Administrative software platforms that provide athletic directors, coaches, clubs, national governing bodies, and youth sports operators various functionalities including scheduling & registration, payment processing, communicating, healthcare management, and compliance and NIL management.
  • Recruitment Platforms: Student-athlete recruiting solutions developed to unify the college recruiting process by connecting athletes, clubs, events, and college coaches on a single digital platform
  • Digital Sports Communities: The streaming boom has completely transformed the landscape in which sports content is consumed. With multiple subscription-based models augmenting audience reach, platforms leveraging video-based content and streaming strengthen ties between sports fans, high schools, and athletes
  • Tech-Enabled Health & Wellness Solutions: Learning platforms built to serve a wide range of fitness professionals like gym owners, personal trainers, or vertical enrichment school operators with go-to-market training services, real-time reporting/analytics, CRM tools, and payment processing
  • Virtual Coaching: Online sports education marketplaces that enable coaches to teach online and provide access to instruction, knowledge, and motivation students need to grow and progress as athletes and coaches
  • Courseware: Supplemental curricula that use sports as the real-life application to drive standards aligned, hands-on learning in classrooms

There is immense opportunity and growth ahead for innovative solutions that enhance athlete development, fan engagement, and operational efficiencies. The intersection of sports and education not only presents lucrative investment opportunities but also addresses the evolving demands of modern sports consumers and stakeholders. As a result, we expect investors to flock towards ventures that capitalize on this convergence, driving growth and value creation in the foreseeable future. 

Key themes from Salon Series Q&A:

  • Pay to play: Travel and club sports, are fulfilling and can be a springboard to high school and college athletics. However, equipment, club fees, and traveling to games and tournaments often entail substantial costs. Parents are looking for school systems to allocate funds to be able to support program participation
  • Evolution of the AD: School boards trying to cut Athletic Directors to save costs are met with community pushback. The role of the Athletic Director is important to student athletes because of what they go through in SEL well-being. AD’s are a valuable sounding board for scholar athletes going through the system
  • Non-revenue generating Sports: Do sports need to make a profit to have overall impact and sustainability?
  • Sustained growth in women’s sports: The recent proliferation of women’s sports is experiencing a significant surge in popularity, garnering increasing attention from investors. Now is the time to deploy capital behind women’s sports leagues as the overwhelming consensus within the sports industry points to continued staying power and significant scale
  • Youth sports and SEL: Participation in youth sports offers benefits beyond physical health, including the promotion of social and emotional learning (SEL) through various means such as emotional regulation, self-confidence building, and the development of important life skills.

Stay tuned for the announcement of our subsequent Salon Series events later this year, where industry leaders convene to explore the latest innovations and trends. We look forward to the continuation of these events and welcoming guests and speakers across the entire global knowledge sector.

As always, if you would like to discuss the above trends or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us here. We provide our clients with a unique set of services that include M&A, capital market acces, and strategy consulting.