SA startup MatchKit partners USA Swimming to help athletes enhance commercial opportunities

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South African startup MatchKit has partnered with USA Swimming to help its athletes unlock additional revenue streams to further commercialise their careers in the build up to the Tokyo Olympics and beyond.

Founded in 2020 by Mike Sharman, 2007 Rugby World Cup winner Bryan Habana, Ben Karpinski, Shaka Sisulu and Andy OG (the latter using a pseudonym), MatchKit is a DIY website builder that enables athletes or their agents to showcase their sporting pedigree and sponsors, with sites going live within minutes.

It integrates into existing social media channels to show potential sponsors the scope and quality of an athlete’s influence, and also provides athletes with a hassle-free, plug and play e-commerce store where fans can purchase everything from bespoke branded merchandise to personalised video and audio shout-outs. It allows them to accept payments for their foundation or charity.

MatchKit has now joined forces with USA Swimming to help its team members better monetise their careers in a simple and cost effective way in the build up to the Tokyo Olympic Games, and find ways of supplementing their income during the COVID-19 crisis.

“For nearly a year, our nation’s best athletes have shown incredible perseverance in finding safe pool space and the financial means to remain Olympic hopefuls longer than planned. We continue to seek ways for our athletes to earn money to train, compete, and thrive. Today we are incredibly proud to announce our alignment with MatchKit.co to help our National Team athletes build their own personal brands and succeed financially during these tough economic times,” said Shana Ferguson, chief commercial officer of USA Swimming.

“Our elite athletes don’t have excess time to worry about things outside of competition, training and a busy travel schedule. COVID-19 has forced us to adapt quickly and it is exciting to be able to work with a platform that gives athletes a competitive advantage off the pool deck.”  

Sharman said his team had used lockdown to interrogate ways to help athletes of all sporting disciplines and tiers reignite revenue driving opportunities while waiting for the commencement of their respective leagues or competitions.

“The slowdown of physical sporting activity is inversely proportional to the uptick in social media activity. Athletes may not be able to entertain viewers in a grandstand, but all the digital world’s their stage to engage and enhance their connection with the most valuable stakeholder – the fan,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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