TicketManager | Is an Edtech Company Your Next Partner?

Based simply on its massive size, the education technology category has no doubt already found itself on the sponsorship target lists of many sports and entertainment rights holders.

And in the last few weeks those properties’ sales teams gained two major examples to use as reasons why others in the industry should consider partnering with an event, team, league or other organization.

Guild got the ball rolling with an agreement to become the official education, skilling & career mobility supporter of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games, providing an “opportunity for Team USA athletes to receive education and career development opportunities with personalized one-on-one coaching to support athletes in building competitive careers alongside their athletic achievements.”

That announcement was followed one week later by online learning platform Udemy’s deal to become the MLS San Jose Earthquakes’ official learning and skills partner, as well as earn front-of-shirt branding on the MLS club’s training jerseys. Planned activations include providing subsidized access for underserved communities to over 220,000 courses available on the Udemy platform.

Edtech companies are engaged in fierce competition for market share and most need to establish brand identity and familiarity among consumers, providing rights holders an opportunity to tailor sponsorship packages that include visibility benefits, exclusivity and experiential elements that can inform fans about who they are and what they do.

In addition, as with the two existing deals, partnerships with edtech companies lend themselves to community and social responsibility activations that take advantage of the category’s mission to “democratize education.”

Rights holders will need to become familiar with the many discrete segments—both B2C and B2B—that make up the overall edtech industry in order to correctly identify their most likely targets and properly define sponsor categories to optimize revenue. For example, Udemy operates in the online learning platform segment, while Guild specifies that it “does not create or provide learning content. We connect learners to a highly curated marketplace of universities and learning providers.”

One starting point is the recently published report by Market.us that estimates the global edtech market was worth $146 billion in 2023 and forecasts it to grow at a CAGR of 14.2 percent over the next 10 years, “due to increased demand for remote learning solutions as well as digital educational services. Factors including an increasing adoption of e-learning platforms, and an increase in demand for digital learning tools and personalized learning experiences are fueling market expansion.”

The consumer sector accounts for 70 percent of the market, according to Market.us and North America is the largest region for edtech, commanding 36.5 percent of global spending.

The report defines edtech as encompassing “a wide range of digital tools, resources, platforms, and applications designed to support educators, students, and administrators (and) leverage technology to improve access to education, personalize learning, facilitate collaboration, and foster engagement.”

Edtech is comprised of hundreds of upstart companies, with some of the major players including massive open online courses (MOOCs) providers Coursera, edX, Udacity and Udemy. Other high-profile brands in different sectors include Khan Academy, MasterClass, Chegg and Brainly. Digital giants Amazon and Google also have edtech offerings and Accenture recently moved in on the action with its acquisition of Udacity.