Nike-sponsored youth sports camps partner with tech firm Famer to host sessions virtually this summer

A boy rides his bicycle on the infield base paths at Veteran’s Field, home of the Chatham Anglers, in Chatham, MA on June 5, 2020.

Barry Chin| Boston Globe | Getty Images

Sports and fitness platform developer Famer announced a partnership with US Sports Camps (USSC) this week to bring virtual summer camps to youth displaced by camp closures due to Covid-19.

Famer CEO Rich Abend said Famer would “offer a fully integrated virtual experience” that will include Zoom-like events through camp settings. Famer will use the platform to build its business through virtual reality coaching and training subscription packages and cloud services.

Famer recently created digital training platforms for USSC. The organization then introduced the platforms to “select coaches, and the early feedback has been very positive from parents and kids,” the company said.

Covid-19 has interrupted the youth sports market that’s worth $24 billion worldwide, with the US responsible for $19.2 billion, according to a study by WinterGreen Research. Though some youth organizations like USA Football are attempting to return in phases, USSC has already rescheduled summer camps until 2021. USSC operates over 1,000 Nike camps in 16 different sports.

“This has been a difficult time for us at US Sports Camps,” Justin Hoeveler, executive vice-president of US Sports Camps, said in a statement. He added, “2020 is the first summer in 48 years that we haven’t operated in-person summer sports camps for young athletes.”

Famer also developed a subscription-based app for the National Basketball Players Association. The “NBPA Training Ground” is a mobile app that offers select virtual coaching and training via NBA players.

An app created by Famer focuses on interactive sports camps as physical sports remain closed due to coronavirus.

Source: Famer

Christopher Jean, the NBPA director of grassroots basketball and events, said the app allows players to “connect to youth throughout the year but virtually, so we don’t have to rely on regional aspects, and we can connect to [youth athletes] worldwide.”

Sporting goods company Spalding, which ended its partnership with the NBA, is the sponsor of the app. Jean said the NBPA wants to attract “more big sponsors to allow us to grow,” which would eventually allow the union to offer more personalized training packages.

Jean added the NBPA is discussing content creation ideas for players on clubs that will not attend the NBA’s Disney bubble campus next month.

“This is one part of our overall grassroots strategy,” said Jean, who added the NBPA is contemplating its virtual camp platform.

Famer completed a $3 million seed-funding round in 2018, and Abend told CNBC the company would raise more capital before focusing on Series A funding round. Abend told CNBC the company is projecting “somewhere around $1.4 million in our first full year of sales” to end 2020.

“The grand vision is to try and build the Airbnb of coaching and training,” Abend said. “As we grow and start to build out the supply side and demand side, now you have kids, coaches trainers finding each other all over the world.”

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