MLS push tech envelope to boost fan experience



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MLS partners with Sportec and Deltatre Image: MLS

The Major League Soccer (MLS) (US) announced an agreement with sports technology leaders Sportec Solutions and Deltatre to create next generation enhanced data feeds from all MLS matches to power Apple’s MLS Season Pass, and fuel League growth on and off the field.

‘MLS’ stated that Sportec Solutions will provide and integrate advanced gathering, storage, analysis, distribution and analytics of live event and tracking match data which will be used by the MLS and its clubs, creating an unprecedented dataset from every MLS, Leagues Cup and MLS NEXTPRO match. This cutting-edge data will provide fans watching on MLS Season Pass, the new global streaming service available on the Apple TV app that launched recently, with more engaging information for fans than ever before.

The Major League Soccer (MLS) is a men’s professional soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation, which represents the sport’s highest level in the United States. The league comprises 29 teams – 26 in the United States and 3 in Canada – since the 2023 season. The league is headquartered in Midtown Manhattan.

The MLS is celebrating its 28th season in 2023. All MLS, Leagues Cup and select MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT matches can be watched through MLS Season Pass, available on the Apple TV app on Apple devices, smart TVs, streaming devices, set-top boxes, and game consoles, and the Web at tv.apple.com. The MLS Season Pass will feature the most expansive and accessible lineup of programing ever for MLS fans.

The MLS Next Pro is a men’s professional soccer league in the United States and Canada that is affiliated with Major League Soccer. It launched in 2022 with 21 teams and will expand to 28 in 2023. The league comprises 27 reserve sides for MLS clubs and the independent Rochester New York FC.

The MLS Next is a youth soccer league in the United States and Canada, which is managed, organized and controlled by Major League Soccer. It was introduced by the league in 2020. It is a successor to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

The MLS Season Pass is the branding used for broadcasts of Major League Soccer matches distributed by Apple Inc. and was launched on February 1st, 2023. The MLS Season Pass features dedicated club pages, offering fans a single destination to find everything there is to watch on their club. Fans can choose to follow their favorite Major League Soccer clubs and get alerts before upcoming games, follow scores in real time and more.

Torino, Italy-based Deltatre is the global leader in fan-first video experiences. Named in Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2020’, Deltatre’s market-leading product and services portfolio has helped redefine the way the world consumes sport, media and entertainment by offering specialist innovations in over-the-top streaming, websites and apps, graphics, data, officiating systems, user experience, and product design. Over its 37-year history, the company has grown to employ more than 1,000 staff who is globally distributed across its hubs in 18 key Cities. Deltatre powers MLSSoccer.com and MLS Club websites in a partnership that started in 2021.

As a joint venture between Deltatre and the DFL Group, headquartered in Munich (Germany), Sportec Solutions develops next-gen solutions in the fields of match data and sports technology. It delivers products and solutions that enable international sports properties to truly maximize the potential of their owned data ecosystems. Sportec Solutions offers the most advanced gathering, storage, analysis, distribution, and analytics of live match data to clubs, licensees, partners, and clients. It also collaborates with renowned companies and scientific institutions to enhance its product development through expanded data processing.

‘MLS’ further stated that the initiative builds on the global data distribution partnership which MLS launched with the IMG Arena last year and will create a new system to capture and analyze data from MLS fields of play. The 2023 MLS season will have more data and statistics available than ever before. To generate this new data, the MLS will utilize 12 of Tracab’s next generation 4K cameras to capture realtime skeletal tracking data from every stadium. This information will be analyzed in the cloud and then provided to fans via MLS Broadcasts and to MLS coaches who will have an unmatched level of video and data to enhance their players and club’s capabilities on the field. The IMG Arena will distribute this data to media, technology and sports betting companies around the globe.

The Sportec Solutions and Deltatre partnership will enable the MLS to provide new stats and visualizations like attacking zones, expected goals, player speed, match momentum, entries into the attacking third, passing efficiency, and shot efficiency over the course of the season. Additional new stats will be continually developed throughout the season and presented to fans viewing matches on Apple’s MLS Season Pass. Deltatre, the sports technology company, will be responsible for bringing Sportec Solutions’ next-gen metrics to screen through advanced graphics and data visualizations.

This new data system furthers MLS’ position as the most innovative league in soccer. With a shared vision of producing cutting-edge technology solutions mixed with innovative applications, the MLS Sportec Solutions partnership forges a deeper connection with fans by providing unprecedented data capabilities. From comprehensive analysis of players and teams to coaches and technical staff, the ability to integrate state-of-the-art data visualization technology, optical player tracking and enhanced metrics into matches on streams and broadcasts is part of the enhanced viewing experience for fans.

The multiyear agreement with Sportec Solutions is the latest initiative of the MLS Emerging Ventures, which builds strategic partnerships and enables new capabilities with the goal of continuing to grow the league’s fan base and engage fans in new ways.

Said Chris Schlosser, MLS Senior Vice-President (SVP) of Emerging Ventures, “Major League Soccer continues to be at the forefront of utilizing data and technology to positively enhance the fan experience by providing unique insights that bring fans closer to the game. By partnering with Sportec Solutions and Deltatre, we will continue to push the envelope with what is possible when you combine groundbreaking technology with a progressive approach to data to provide our tech-savvy fans a reimagined next-generation experience.”

Stated Andrea Marini, head honcho at Deltatre and Sportec Solutions Board Member, “Having partnered with the MLS since 2021, we are thrilled to expand our remit and work in tandem with our subsidiary, Sportec Solutions, to deliver industry-leading data services for one of the world’s most forward-thinking soccer leagues, as they begin a new cycle with Apple TV. At Deltatre, we are dedicated to delivering innovative solutions that enhance the viewing experience, and this appointment highlights the power of our collective expertise, innovative approach and commitment to excellence.”

Added Christian Holzer, Managing Director at Sportec Solutions, “We are delighted to partner with MLS as the official data creation provider. It is testament to the quality of our data and analysis capabilities that MLS has chosen us to provide these services, and we are excited to align with them and provide the League with complete control of their own data and technology roadmap.”

The announcement of the partnership between MLS and Sportec Solutions arrives during a period of tremendous momentum behind the sport of soccer in North America, as Major League Soccer enters its 28th season this month and the excitement continues to build on the path to the 2026 World Cup to be hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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