The Next Play Venture Tournament is a national competition for Student-led business plans that aim to make the sports industry more sustainable.


How are sustainability and sports related?  Sustainability in sports has a lot to do with the impacts of the places where we play–our fields and our stadiums.  It has a lot do with the gear we use to perform–our shoes, our jerseys, our food.  But beyond these things, sustainability and sports share a similar spirit.

Get in the game

At the tournament, attendees will present their solutions for incorporating sustainability into the sports world, and they will be judged by and have the chance to network with professionals in both the sports and sustainability industries.

The Next Play Tournament is about placing a spotlight on and providing support for the newest and most innovative efforts to implement sustainability into the sports world.  Students have world-changing ideas.  We want the world to know.

Because we want these ideas to address the variety of services associated with the sports industry as well as respect the triple bottom line, there are 2 tracks in which teams can enter their venture pitches: for-profits and non-profits.

 Track Descriptions

The student teams will compete in a series of five rounds within each track.  After each round, some teams will be eliminated while others are given the opportunity to present again in the next round.  Each round will allow teams to consider changes based on the judges’ feedback, and they will be offered more time to pitch their ventures.  There will be one winner in each track, and on the last evening of the competition, the last teams standing will face off in Davidson’s Belk Arena to compete for the championship.

Tournament Bracket


The Winner’s Circle (April 2014 Prizes)

All competitors in The Next Play Tournament have the opportunity to present their ideas in front of companies and organizations from both the sports and the sustainability sectors.  Winners receive funding and support to help bring their ideas to life.

Last year each member of the championship team also received tickets to The Green Sports Alliance Summit, which took place on July 21-23 in Santa Clara, CA. Each ticket was valued at $425.



Our generous 2015 sponsors for The Next Play are game changers in sports and sustainability.

2015 Premier Level sponsors:

Duke Energy

2015 Gold Level sponsors:


2015 Silver Level sponsors:

Project for Innovation, Energy, and Sustainability

2015 Bronze Level sponsors:

WM logo_4c

2015 Promotional support provided by:

The Green Sports Alliance

Sponsorship opportunities still available.  Contact us for information on how to get in the game!

TNP Sponsorship Check List

What’s next?

Is your school going to the Women’s and/or Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament? Have a business plan for making the sports industry more sustainable? Register to compete in the Next Play Venture Tournament!