Exclusive: How Sportradar Used Technology To Grow The NBL
In an exclusive with Ministry of Sport, for the ‘Brand Break’ interview series, Sportradar director of sports media and partnerships, Dave Edwards, discussed how technology, data and broadcasting helped grow the National Basketball League (NBL) and its competitions.
After Sportradar became the official international media rights and OTT distributor of the NBL, Edwards, said the league is their best global case study in showing how they like to work with basketball rights holders from a technological and sponsorship standpoint.
“We’re generating a lot of value for the NBL, not just commercially, but from a technological standpoint, which includes the high performance and scouting tool,” Edwards said.
“So, we provide the NBL with a tool that essentially links data and video together for post-game analysis, which saves a tremendous amount of time for them and their high-performance teams.
“Sportradar is the media rights distributor for the NBL, we’ve been doing that for a couple of years, and seen a lot of growth, which is pleasing to see in terms of revenues and fan engagement.
On the OTT platform, Edwards, said: “We provide the technology that underpins the NBL’s streaming platform, which hosts over 1500 NBL1 games per season.”
“Several years ago that was unthinkable, but now we’re bringing direct-to-consumer content, which has been great for the brand, for the league to have that exposure, and then all the automated production inside venues for NBL1.
“From a production point-of-view, we have cameras around arenas, collecting streams and distributing them without a manual operator, which drives down the cost of production for the league, and captures the video that is used for high-performance elements,” he said.
On how Sportradar uses technology to provide the NBL with more sponsorships and international recognition, Edwards said data is crucial in understanding an audience and Sportradar is enabling the NBL to do that through their OTT platform.
“Sportradar was the first company to launch a sport specific OTT platform for rights holder, meaning we can help rights holders like the NBL understand their audience, including who they are and where they’re located,” Edwards said.
“It’s that first party data that’s so important to drive those advertising revenues and allows them to personalise the experience as well, which also allows them to present targeted upsell opportunities,” he said.
On using data and technology to create fan engagement, Edwards said the NBL is very forward thinking when it comes to their data and fan engagement strategy for all competitions.
“The synergy stats data capture tool, which was initially for the NBL1, is now being used by some of the biggest basketball leagues or competitions in the world including Turkey, France and Lithuania,” Edwards said.
“Some rights holders can be a little bit cautious when it comes to embracing these types of technologies and need to see OTT platforms as complimentary to their existing media rights deals.
“Getting visibility on your audience is paramount and personalising your platform to fans but can also help when it comes to getting that audience data for sponsorship or broadcast rights discussions.
“That mindset extends to betting as well, many rights holders reserve those betting rights for no other reason than thinking its competitive to their media rights, however, smarter rights holders are carving those betting rights out from their media rights agreements and talking to companies like Sportradar,” he said.
On the acquisitions of Synergy Sports and InteractSport, and their roles in helping the company, Edwards said both companies have helped Sportradar’s new division ‘sport solutions’, drive engagement, the commercialisation of content and long-term growth of competitions.
“Synergy has a lot of goodwill and has been around for many years, with a focus on data and video for high-performance and commercialising content,” Edwards said.
“This fit neatly into Sportradar’s core mission of working with rights holders to commercialise content.
“Synergy Sports has in venue technology, including AR driven cameras in NBL1 venues, that capture streams, along with solutions that in venue statisticians are using to capture data that feeds websites and OTT platforms, as well as the coaching and scouting products which drive high-performance outcomes.
“When paired with Sportradar’s ability to distribute content globally, it’s quite a compelling proposition to rights holders.
“That’s the same with InteractSport, we saw the great work they were doing around grassroots cricket and cricket technology, elite data capture, streaming, and fan engagement.
“Having them around has allowed us to take the proposition to cricket boards around the world, we’ve now become the official data and streaming partner of the ICC, which is already paying dividends.
Finally, commenting on the investment of technology, Edwards, said: “For rights holders, investing in smart sport technology, is really an investment in future assets, especially if the game is to drive up the value of assets and IP to capitalise on increased rights and sponsorship revenues.”
To read the previous MOS Brand Break, where Catapult CEO, Will Lopes, broke down the company’s partnership with the AFL, Click here.