EB Tech Challenge: It’s About Embracing Disruption

It’s a thrill and a great pleasure for me to be on my way to Barcelona this week for the 2019 EB Tech Challenge in Barcelona, and I want to give a big shout of thanks to my friends at EuroLeague Basketball for again inviting me to be a judge at the second edition of this great initiative at the University of La Salle-URL’s innovation park.

I say this because tech innovation is not only an area of great importance and opportunity for the sports industry but also something I really enjoy thinking and learning about, so being part of an event featuring innovative, disruptive companies is at one level just plain fun.

And I think that actually enjoying tech innovation plays a big part in being able to benefit from it and grow with the opportunities it can offer. I talk to people, especially industry “veterans,” who think that they have made progress because they have reached an attitude of accepting disruption. The real transformational leap is when you actually embrace disruption.

At least that is the attitude I am going to be bring to my responsibilities as a judge of the EB Tech Challenge this week.

Allow me to introduce the 10 finalists for 2019 because they all deserve our attention, whether they are chosen as this week’s winners or not:

  • Dynamtick (Italy) is focused on the area of dynamic ticket pricing. It creates algorithms analyse real-time sales data and other external factors to generate the right price to maximize spectators and revenues.
  • Neoverse VR (Spain has created Fangate as a multi-device content platform for integrating the fan ecosystem, including video content 360, VR, e-commerce, gaming and so on.
  • Zoomtv.IT (Lithuania) has created Trackmylogo.com, an AI-driven computer vision technology measures and constantly monitors the value that sports events create for sponsors on TV and other video platforms.
  • KISWE Mobile (Belgium) has developed Kiswe CloudCast to increase viewership and retention through the power of narrowcasting stories unique to different demographics and audiences (languages and/or influencers).
  • Instant Sponsor (USA) Instant Sponsor is a blockchain-powered global sponsorship platform seamlessly connecting brands and the rights holders (teams, athletes and events) across sports, e-sports and entertainment.
  • Blink Identity (USA) has built a system using a novel approach to face recognition to identify people at full walking speed, in any lighting condition, at scale (1M+ background) — the most frictionless biometric system possible.
  • IC Cosmosh (Greece) has invented Mediastalker to protect creators and copyright owners by stopping media piracy of their very valuable content using AI and machine learning.
  • Snapify Ltd. (UK) has created Snaptivity, a smart stadium technology based on connected sensors to track crowd movement and collect data points like sound, light, ambience, analysed using AI and machine learning to understand behaviour and emotions of the fans along with the stadium environment.
  • Texel (USA) enables next generation experiences using immersive media (“virtual presence”) for live events (sports, entertainment) via a white-label service platform with a wide set of enrichment and monetization tools, including advanced social interaction.
  • PlayPass (Belgium) offers a cashless payment solution which can also be linked to access control, aimed at reducing waiting lines, eliminating fraud and human errors and improving cashflow as well as increasing data insights.

I wish them all the best of luck!

F1 Teams Up With Hutch For Mobile Games

Formula 1 plans to launch FIA Formula 1 World Championship mobile games for iOS and Android platforms in partnership with games studio Hutch.

Under the terms of the multi-year agreement starting in 2019, the games studio Hutch will develop official licensed games.

Frank Arthofer, Director of Digital, Licensing and New Business at Formula 1, said: “Since Liberty Media’s acquisition of Formula 1, we have sought to establish partnerships that can enrich the experience of fans via innovative digital channels.”

“We see Hutch as a leading mobile game development and publishing partner that can enable and reinforce that initiative, ensuring we engage our expanding, passionate worldwide community of fans.”

Hutch CEO Shaun Rutland said: “As a studio of petrolheads, this partnership with Formula 1 is an exciting opportunity to take Hutch to the next level. Following a series of successful global brand partnerships, we see huge potential for mobile-first games that will engage the Formula 1 community.”

Hutch has developed a string of popular car-focused games, including Top Drives, MMX Hill Dash 2 and Hot Wheels: Race Off.

Israeli Basketball League Launching OTT Service

The Winner League, Israel’s Basketball Super League (BSL), has formed a new partnership with Sportradar to launch the first streaming broadcast platform from a league in the country.

WinnerLeague.TV will help fans watch every league game live via streaming on any connected devices through their browser.

In addition, the new platform will provide on-demand content including games highlights, key plays and in future, even more exclusive content which will be produced by both the league and the teams.

Shmuel Frenkel, the BSL’s chairman, said: “We are certain that the demand for online streaming will keep rising in the future and we’re very proud to be the first league in Israel to have OTT. We’re excited to work together with Sportradar and hope that this cooperation will last many years and across more fields. This is one more step in our technological advance for basketball fans in Israel and all over the world”.

Rainer Geier, Managing Director OTT at Sportradar, said: “When we launched our new OTT offering, I said it was crucial to have data and video together if you wanted to offer clients an OTT solution in this technological day and age. That has been borne out by our partnership with BSL on their new OTT platform and I’m proud to be able to give fans in Israel and beyond the opportunity to watch live and on demand coverage of this fantastic league across a wide range of devices for the first time.”

More than 25 organizations have signed up to Sportradar’s sports media solutions within the last 18 months, complementing their existing OTT partners including Borussia Dortmund, the World Rally Championship, Deutsche Telekom, LAOLA1.tv, ITF Davis Cup and Fed Cup, International Table Tennis Federation, EuroHockey and the IMMAF.

Link : https://www.sportradar.com/news-archive/sportradar-signs-winner-league-ott-deal/

West Ham Names New Technology Partner

English Premier League team West Ham United has announced Vanquish Technologies as its Official Technology Partner to drive significant efficiencies and improvements across the club’s technology infrastructure – both internally and fan facing.

Additionally, West Ham will support the growth of Vanquish Technologies by offering unique marketing and experiential opportunities for Vanquish’s clients and audience.

West Ham United Digital and Commercial Director Karim Virani said: “Vanquish Technologies has a well-established reputation across business, both as a company with its finger on the pulse and one that strives to find innovative ways to engage with consumers therefore absolutely resonate with our values and vision.”

“Vanquish Tech’s dynamic approach to its work is fuelled by energy and creativity and we are excited about utilising their expertise as we work closely with them over the coming season.”

Vanquish Tech CEO Simeon Taylor said: “We are tremendously proud of our partnership with West Ham United Football Club and thrilled to be announced as the Official Technology Partner.”

“We feel like this is a fantastic platform to elevate our brand and we are excited to be associated with this historic football club. Furthermore, as a London-born business this is a proud day for us all at Vanquish Tech.”


Lacrosse League Names Digital Media Provider

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) has signed a new partnership with Two Circles.

Under the terms of the agreement, the data-driven sports marketing agency will help the NLL to drive its business growth, with a specific focus on game day and digital media.

Two Circles will also introduce leading technology in marketing to support and execute the NLL’s new data-driven approach.

“We’re delighted to be working with an agency with such a strong domestic and international track record,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz.

“As the NLL continues to grow in popularity, there are huge business opportunities for our teams. Two Circles will play a central role in our ambitions to better understand who our fans are and what they want. We will then use that insight to drive greater fan engagement, improve the viewing experience and grow attendance.”

Sam Yardley, SVP Consulting at Two Circles, said: “The NLL has established itself as one of the world’s most popular indoor sports competitions, but we believe it has only scratched the surface with the growth it can drive in its business. We’re excited to be working with such an ambitious rights-holder and seeing the positive results of our partnership.”


Jockey Club Welcomes JLT As Race Partner

JLT Specialty has been named as an Official Partner of The Jockey Club and the Official Insurance Broker of its racecourse arm, Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR).

Under the terms of the three-year agreement, the insurance broker will receive digital, branding and content rights at all 15 of The Jockey Club’s racecourses, as well as access to race tickets and hospitality for key clients and staff across JLT’s UK regional offices.

Jonathan Palmer-Brown, Senior Executive for JLT Group, said: “JLT is delighted to become an Official Partner of The Jockey Club, building on our long association with the sport of horseracing. We understand the specialist insurance needs of the sport better than anyone, and this new partnership allows us to extend our expertise even further.”

Paul Fisher, Chief Executive of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “I’m very pleased to expand our relationship with JLT by them becoming an Official Partner. They provide us with excellent specialist insurance and risk management support, and are a valued sponsor with us at Aintree and Cheltenham, so this is a great example of a mutually-beneficial relationship going from strength-to-strength.”

JLT joins Bentley, Close Brothers, Diageo, European Breeders Fund, Randox Health and National Express as Official Partners of The Jockey Club.

The company’s racing sponsorship portfolio also includes JCR, Ascot, Newbury and York racecourses.


New Orleans Teams Unveil Casino Partnership

The jointly owned New Orleans Saints of the NFL and the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA have announced a partnership with Harrah’s New Orleans.

As part of the multi-year agreement beginning in 2019, the Caesar Entertainment-owned casino will develop customised experiences, in game features, a Saints-branded area on property and be designated as an official post-game destination.

“We are proud to align ourselves with a brand such as Harrah’s New Orleans Casino that is an industry leader not only nationally but on a local level as well,” said New Orleans Saints and Pelicans President Dennis Lauscha.

“Located in the Heart of Downtown New Orleans, Harrah’s vision for development and commitment to the city mirror that of the Saints and Pelicans and we could not be happier about this partnership.”

Caesars Entertainment Chief Experience Officer Michael Marino said: “This announcement, along with our previous announced partnerships with the Las Vegas Raiders, the Baltimore Ravens, the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA and the New Jersey Devils of the NHL, demonstrates Caesars’ strong commitment to the professional sports fan experience.”

“New Orleans has a rich heritage in sports, and we are excited to further enhance the game day experience. We look forward to many exciting seasons.”


Discovery Adds Ladies European Tour To GOLFTV

Discovery has acquired rights to the Ladies European Tour for its new GOLFTV platform.

As part of the multi-year agreement, GOLFTV will showcase all Ladies European Tour events from January 2019, including the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, Hero Women’s Indian Open and Andalucia Costa del Sol Open de Espana season final, as well as the Golf Sixes.

The new on-demand OTT service will also provide live coverage of the next two Solheim Cups in 25 countries in Europe.

Mark Lichtenhein, Chairman of the Ladies European Tour, said: “Building on our long-standing relationship with Discovery, it’s fantastic for the LET to be joining GOLFTV’s ground breaking new streaming service. Digital distribution has long been a critical component for women’s golf and it’s very exciting to now be positioned under one roof with the men’s game.”

Alex Kaplan, President and General Manager, Discovery Golf, said: “We’re excited to welcome the Ladies European Tour and Solheim Cup to the GOLFTV family, signifying another milestone in our journey to becoming the true ‘digital home of golf’ for fans.  As we prepare to launch the service, GOLFTV continues to build a portfolio of must-have content and events for golf fans. Our new relationship with the Ladies European Tour underlines our ambition to showcase women’s golf on a global platform, and feature the world’s greatest players, every week of the year.”

Under the agreement, Discovery will have the ability to sub-license the Ladies European Tour TV and digital coverage as part of a broader strategy to grow viewership of the Ladies European Tour.

Starting in 2019, GOLFTV’s portofolio also includes PGA Tour and European Tour.

Eleven Sports Will Stream Bundesliga Clash On Facebook

Global sports provider Eleven Sports has announced that fans in Poland and Portugal will be able to watch the Bundesliga clash between Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach live on Facebook this Friday.

Danny Menken, Group Managing Director Eleven Sports, said the company “is again leading the way in the innovative delivery of sports content by showcasing another of the biggest games in European football on Facebook.”

“We are always looking to push the boundaries when delivering premium sports content and alongside our partners Bundesliga, we are committed making our content accessible and easy to reach for existing and new audiences.”

In January 2018, Bayer 04 Leverkusen versus Bayern Munich was the first Bundesliga match ever streamed live on Facebook (it was available globally).

Last month, Bayern Munich versus Fortuna Düsseldorf was the first Bundesliga match streamed live on Facebook in Portugal.

IAAF Picks Fifty Digital To Lead Digital Expansion

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has chosen London agency Fifty Digital to lead its digital and social media content, and help it to engage worldwide digital communities.

Fifty Digital was appointed after a competitive pitch process involving multiple global agencies to secure the IAAF agreement.

Fifty Digital Co-Founder James Campbell said: “We are thrilled to be working the IAAF. Not only was it pleasing to pitch and ultimately win the business, it is brilliant to be starting this work and getting stuck in from day one.”

“To work with such a high-profile, global federation is an honour for us and we are proud to have been selected. There is so much potential here with lots of work to be done and the whole team is buzzing to be involved.”

The brief encompasses all events in the IAAF World Athletics Series, including the 2019 World Championships, which will take place in Doha, Qatar, from September 27-October 6 next year.