*The sports data revolution* – The quickening in sports data. There can only be one.
If the Moneyball book and film raised the curtain on the sports data industry, these recent weeks have indeed seen the beginning of the end game.
In very simple terms, this industry provides the data collected from sports events to gaming gambling and media companies. It is, therefore, the fuel for betting, fantasy, game stats on broadcast, and even match analysis.
It goes from the wearables end – via collection, tracking, analytics, coaching software – to the data/AV rights play at the other.
The key players.
They are, say, 7:
- Stats Perform
- IMG Arena
Some may argue on the names, but that’s not the point.
The thing to notice is that this is now a sector entering a phase of intense consolidation. It’s “eat or be eaten”.
Two major trends are accelerating the inevitable:
1. The opening of the massive USA gambling market.
2. The move towards “exclusivity” in data ownership, increasingly bitter with legal disputes between Genius and Sportsradar over English football data rights.
So, if this is now war, you need a war chest, right?
These boys are backed by serious money. Proper war chests!
Sportradar, here, with half a billion in debt capital.
Atrium, here, with a lead investment from Eldridge Industries, the private investment firm, whose chairman is Todd Boehly, minority owner of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Los Angeles Dodgers, and additional investment from Elysian Park Ventures, whose executive board also includes Boehly and other Dodgers owners, as well as other parties.
StatsPerform, here, financed by Vista Equity Partners.
And, this week, Genius got listed via a $1.5bn SPAC.
IMG Arena is part of the sports industry gorilla Endeavour, run by Ari Emmanuel.
Catapult is a publicly listed company.
Hudl has blue chip VC investors in Accel and Bain.
Make no mistake, THE big data wars have begun!!!
Here is the thing about big data, though. It’s big. It needs managed and interpreted.
Let’s have the principals explain it better.
Carsten Koerl, CEO of Sportradar this week:
We are pushing the boundaries of data intelligence to rapidly transform the company from the world’s leading betting data provider to a leading global technology business.
As an advanced technology business, we have long been believers in the future value of AI. Its impact, however, is now becoming clearer: from instantly modelling new sports, sporting formats and future events, weeks ahead of schedule; to the rapid creation of new data-driven digital betting products. Like our own AI-driven and algorithm-based Simulated Reality, which was created and brought to market in just 10 days, in March, due to the void in live sport.
Machine learning is transforming the way sports data is being designed, digitized and delivered.
Couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
Stats CEO Carl Mergele makes the same point:
I believe our takeover of digital sports media and content provider Perform will create a combined entity that will offer unprecedented opportunities in artificial intelligence.
Big data needs machine learning to manage it.
Humans just can’t deal with that data hosepipe.
The future is AI. Whoever has the best tech will win. It’s that simple. AI is the differentiator. Ask Salesforce.
Zone7 is a very early mover in adopting deep learning neural networks to sports. They are currently in the vertical of injury prediction and prevention and they already have marquis clients across many sports, both sides of the Atlantic. The possibilities of the technology are, however, gaining traction and acceptance every day. The future looks bright.
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