Exclusive: Sportradar And Interact Sport Sign Content Partnership Agreement
n an exclusive interview, Ministry of Sport spoke with Sportradar director of sports media and partnerships, Oceania, David Edwards and InteractSport CEO, Sam Taylor, on the recently announced partnership between the two sports data platforms.
Background into the organisations
Established in 2001, Sportradar is a leading global provider of sports intelligence and sport entertainment solutions, partnering with sports rights holders, whilst also fronting regulation and collecting data for betting, with more than 30 locations around the world.
InteractSport are a sports data and technology company with partnerships across a range of leading sporting organisations, with an expertise in sports such as netball, football and most notably, cricket.
Speaking on the deal, Taylor said this deal heavily compliments both parties.
“It’s really about that data pipeline, that end-to-end data capture, and through to that rich fan experience,” Taylor told Ministry of Sport.
“The ability for us to drive the innovation in the way that data is captured, presenting that as part of great fan experiences, and then Sportradar have a track record and history in being able to commercialise and distribute that data.
“End-to-end that data pipeline I think there is value there that will see some significant changes in the sporting landscape,” he said.
Ins and outs of the deal
With the acquisition to position Sportradar as a leading cricket data and content provider, it provides both parties to take the next ecological step in their respective chronologies.
Speaking on the specificities of the announcement, Edwards said the main goal of the acquisition is to not only expand their own product, but to support partners across different sporting codes.
“This acquisition allows us to expand our product offering, enhances our ability to support partners across sports and, in particular, the areas in which InteractSport has considerable expertise, such as cricket and netball,” Edwards told Ministry of Sport.
“Leveraging InteractSport’s technology, including a new cricket data collection tool, will enable us to enhance our product offerings within cricket and deliver our combined digital solutions to cricket rights holders, opening up new revenue and growth opportunities.
“InteractSport has grown organically since its inception and will add value to Sportradar’s business by increasing our presence in cricket and helping us become a leading cricket content provider,” he said.
Taylor reiterated the points of Edwards, saying the time was right to build a partnership like this.
“It was a natural step in our evolution,” Taylor said.
“Becoming a part of Sportradar really enables us to scale up, we can accelerate our product innovation, which is a key part of what we do, get our products to market quicker and of course push into some new markets as well,” he said,
The acquisition is anticipated to close in the second quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.
Just an emphasis on cricket?
With multiple partnerships in cricket including Cricket Australia (CA) and the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), InteractSport does have a profound knowledge and understanding of the game.
Whilst there is this experience, and a goal of growing their commercial partnerships in cricket, Taylor said the organisation does not limit themselves to the single code, with an eye on the ever-growing Asian market.
“We have a number of major customers that go beyond just cricket,” Taylor told Ministry of Sport.
“A couple of our key and most prestigious clients are the ECB, CA and then all state and territory cricket boards here in Australia.
“But beyond that we also have a number of partnerships with Netball Australia (NA), Football Australia (FA), formerly the FFA and Swimming Australia (SA), so we do have a number of partners across a number of sports.
“Cricket has been our foundation sport, our founders were cricket players, I myself am a cricket player and that love of cricket really was the driver of the initial creation of our product, going back some 20 years.
“Looking at it through a cricket lens, the Asian market is huge.
“We will ultimately continue to look for opportunities to work with the major cricket and sporting boards throughout the world,” he said.
Speaking on why Sportradar chose to acquire InteractSport, Edwards said the possibilities are endless between the two parties.
“At Sportradar, we are constantly looking for new opportunities to develop our products and services which will enable the business to innovate,” Edwards said.
“InteractSport’s track record and aligned services were a good fit for us.
“Developing our capabilities, specifically in cricket, is vital for us as we see that market as a significant growth area.
“Cricket is the second most-watched sport in the world, with around two billion fans worldwide, and the potential in tremendous.
“Cricket is a strategic growth sport for Sportradar.
“We believe this acquisition puts us in a position within the sport to unlock significant growth opportunities.
“In addition to our world-leading premium cricket service, we will leverage InteractSport’s digital solutions to develop compelling offerings to cricket rights holders,” he said.
Much like Taylor, Edwards said Sportradar have many partnerships with codes other than cricket.
“In Australia, we’re working with all the tier-one rights holders across the key codes, including basketball, football, tennis, rugby and Aussie Rules,” Taylor said.
“For example, we’re powering the National Basketball League’s (NBL’s) OTT platform, which is live streaming more than 1 500 games per year across the NBL and NBL1 competitions.
“From an integrity perspective, our bet monitoring technology tracks over 600 000 matches a year across 23 sports.
“As a business, we work with more than 1 000 companies in over 80 countries, including official partnerships with the NBA, NHL, MBL, AFC, FIFA and UEFA,” he said.
Looking towards the future
Asked on what InteractSport were looking to achieve in the future, Taylor said the COVID-19 pandemic has presented an opportunity to change the match day experience for fans away from the traditional model.
“From our founding, we’ve really looked to push the envelope in terms of improving fan experience, the world for the player and the administrator,” Taylor told Ministry of Sport.
“We’ve always felt that digital experiences for sport at times haven’t always kept pace with digital platforms in other sectors.
“It’s always been our ambition to make that consumption of sport a really wonderful experience for people throughout the world.
“The thing that we’ve always loved about sport, be it at the elite level or at the community and grassroots level, is that connectivity, it brings people together.
“We’ve seen throughout the pandemic the power of sport I believe, and whilst we absolutely hope to see stadiums packed again and sports back to its brightest and shiniest across the world, there’s no doubt that there are some changes that will be in place going forward, and that’s ensuring the out-of-stadium experience, the experience at home and on your device is still a really rich and engaging one, and one that connects people.
“To be able to do that and be part of that is something that gets us out of bed each day and keeps us striving to continue to deliver those great experiences,” he said.