Sports Loft works with the most exciting tech startups in sport and entertainment. Listen for our network's insight into sport, entertainment, investment and technology.
Sports Loft Member Series: an interview with Tagboard President Nathan Peterson
Tagboard's President Nathan Peterson joins Yanni Andreopoulos from Sports Loft to talk about Tagboard’s growth as social media has become critical to the production landscape. Tagboard now powers broadcasts across US news and sports and was used for NFL Media’s production of the NFL Draft, is used by teams in every major league in the US and they recently signed a 4 year deal with Major League Baseball.
Nathan and Yanni explore the impact of COVID and how the sudden shift to remote production has helped Tagboard, the value of keeping the product as simple to use as possible and the importance of client feedback in the product development process. Our favourite bit - how Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey suggested that Apple Music’s Creative Director, Larry Jackson, should use Tagboard for the Apple Verzuz livestreams!
How is the value sports teams get from social media changing?
How is the value sports teams get from social media changing? What role does social media play for teams and how has this changed? We talk to Eric Stark, founder of Sports Loft member company Slate and Minnesota Timberwolves’ Director of Digital Content Shahbaz Khan about the increased importance of social media in sport and the demand for innovation and adaptability for digital content within sports teams, specifically the NBA.
Shahbaz talked about the importance and purpose of social media and how it can add value to teams. He mentioned how “there’s never a time which we’re posting for posting sake.” Therefore, in terms of using social to drive value, he abides by several ‘pillars’ which include “ensuring that we are engaging current fans at the highest level possible, potentially gaining new fans and monetizing content in a way that continues to engage with fans.” All of which contribute to the importance placed upon social media. Shahbaz said “it’s the most front-facing part of an organisation.”
Eric mentioned the increased emphasis on social and digital content now more than ever. He touched on how in today’s climate, teams are having to rely on social content for engagement and revenue. He explained “we’ve seen a lot more creative ways to incorporate sponsors this year than ever,” and how “all of a sudden teams are turning to the digital and social team as this is our most valuable asset.”
Personalisation in sport
Alexandra Wilis of Wimbledon and Nick Pinks of Covatic chatted about what personalisation means for sport.
Alex talked about how Wimbledon wants to remain relevant for as many people as possible, whatever their engagement with the tournament and tennis. She discussed the importance of both the technical side to personalisation, efficiency and how it needs to match up to the emotional, delivered through giving sport meaning and relevance. She touched on how Wimbledon is “making it easy to follow players” so fans can feel ”more immersed in that players’ success or failure and tap into that celeb feeling.” This “helps players become more famous and create more personal connections with the sport”. Personalisation can extend to helping those fans find new players to follow all year round.
Nick Pinks, CEO of Covatic, told us “you need to build a positive relationship between a user and the platform they’re using” to be allowed to personalise their experience. HE pointed out the danger of building segments and models from your most engaged fans as they’re often the wrong traits if you want to build a bigger audience, who are most likely to be composed of people who are not as avid as your top fans. Nick spoke about the importance of protecting user privacy and of how important that is to buy consumer trust and allow brands the right to take things further.
How technology is changing sports broadcasting
Technology is changing sports broadcasting. We discuss how with two leaders who are shaping innovation in that area. World Rugby's Ronan Donagher, who has overseen the implementation of video refereeing and the growth of rugby broadcast to new nations. He is joined by Ben Reynolds, CEO of Spalk, a technology that powers remote commentary and production of sports events globally.
They discuss how remote production has enabled rugby and other sports to reach new markets, how technology can help engage fans and reach new audiences.
Ronan tells us what's next for World Rugby, looking ahead to the Olympics the women's world cup and the next men's, France 2023.
Ben outlines his ambitions to be the technology powering broadcasts across global events.
Athletes as content creators
How are athletes becoming such great content creators? How are leagues and rights holders helping them to do this? We talk to social content tool Greenfly's CEO Daniel Kirschner and SailGP's CMO Tim Godfrey about how they're doing this. Our founder Charlie Greenwood outlines why he’s excited to work with Greenfly, part of the Sports Loft family.
Daniel recalls how he founded the company with his cousin, ex-Mets player Shawn Green, to connect players, leagues and fans through content. We chat to SailGP’s Tim Godfrey about how he’s helped launch a new sport in 2019, that’s now broadcast to millions. The annual competition has attempted to “redefine sailing” and has attracted a younger audience on social media through “personality led” content.
Giving athletes access to immediate content at their fingertips has ensured authenticity and enabled SailGP to work with their sponsors to create campaigns that are relevant to both parties and fans. Daniel highlights how producing content frequently is important to maintain engagement and then explains how rights holders are monetizing content and using that to expand sponsorship contracts.
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Data & elite sports performance with Jesus Perez & Tal Brown of Zone7
Data plays an increasing role in elite sports performance management. We chatted to Jesus Perez, assistant manager to Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham Hotspur for five years, and Zone7’s Tal Brown about data informed decision making.
Both set out that context is king. Someone needs to analyse the data. Coaches, like Perez and Pochettino, are the point at which data sets merge and decisions are needed. If done well, clubs can save money because their players are not picking up wages while injured, estimated at £35m a year in the Premier League. They discuss how managers have to be held accountable for players getting injured if the data said they needed a rest.
Tal said: “when I'm asked by investors in Silicon Valley ‘why are you in sports, it's not a very big market? There are no sports teams in the Fortune 500.’ My answer is that if you want to create technology for human performance, you need data about it and going back 2, 3, 4 years, the only the only industry that had this kind of data at scale consistently is sports.”
Jesus discusses how he has used data to understand players and gives examples from his time at some of the biggest clubs in England and Spain.
Great insight into sport evolution !
Great insight into sport and tech
This is a great listen and gives insight into the ideas and tech that is changing sport. It’s really cool to hear about how sport is and will be changing.