Sportradar 'going after fan engagement market' with Mocap acquisition
By Florence Lloyd-Hughes
Sportradar, the international digital content and data specialist, is continuing to ramp up its data offering and making a major play for the fan engagement market with the acquisition of Mocap Analytics, a USA-based technology company.
Mocap, which specialises in artificial intelligence and player tracking, has been officially dissolved into Sportradar although its team will continue to be based in California.
Arian Forouhar, chief executive and co-founder of Mocap, has been named Sportradar’s head of analytics and storytelling as part of the new venture.
Sportradar has said that the acquisition will be used to “pursue new opportunities” in player tracking data products and fan engagement.
The company will integrate these new “storytelling” features into its existing data agreements with American football’s NFL, basketball’s NBA and deals with Nascar motor racing and ice hockey's NHL.
Speaking to Sportcal from New York, Ashok Balakrishnan, Sportradar’s senior vice-president of technology and product management, said the integration of Mocap would enable the company to more fully exploit its assets.
He said: “Right now we’re sitting on top of mountains of data. We need to be able to unlock storytelling insights from that data. This acquisition is about going after the fan engagement market and fan activation market."
The technology will allow Sportradar to bring data insights to its various sports partners across their social media channels, television broadcasts, live-streams and mobile apps, according to Balakrishnan.
The company has already powered US magazine Sports Illustrated’s website with similar data innovations as part of its ‘Gamestream’ service and it expects even richer data to be rolled out soon.
Mocap made its name working with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, which boast two of the league’s star players in Steph Curry and Kevin Durant.
The company paired up with its local franchise to provide insight into player performance and team statistics, which were then distributed to fans online.
Balakrishnan said the new venture will create “digestible” and “snackable” content for sports fans that will offer greater insight on their favourite players and teams.
He cited the example of basketball superstar Lebron James, and the potential statistical analysis that could be applied to coverage of his games, saying: “We can describe the different shot types, analyse the quality of plays. We can prove that a shot had a 48-per-cent chance of going in.”
When pressed on what the appetite among sports fans is for potentially complex data, Balakrishnan was confident that there is a market, saying: “The demand is extremely high but it is challenging. We can accept that challenge because we can distil and simplify the data, and that will be the hardest part.”