Sportian looking at sports tech bigger picture


LaLiga Tech rebrands as Sportian Image: Globant

Spanish soccer’s top-tier LaLiga (Spain) has unveiled a rebrand of its LaLiga Tech subsidiary following a joint venture agreement with the digital technology firm Globant.

‘Sportcal’ stated that the new Sportian brand name was revealed at an event held at the Civitas Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid (Spain) recently.

Madrid (Spain)-based the Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División, commonly known as the Primera División, or LaLiga, and officially LALIGA EA SPORTS since 2023 for sponsorship reasons, is the top men’s professional football division of the Spanish football league system.

San Francisco (US)-based Globant are a digitally native company that helps organizations reinvent themselves to create a way forward and unleash their potential. Globant is the place where innovation, design and engineering meet scale.

The 70,460-capacity Metropolitano Stadium, also referred to as the Cívitas Metropolitano for sponsorship reasons, is a stadium in Madrid, Spain. It has been the home stadium of the LaLiga club Atlético de Madrid since the 2017-2018 seasons. It is located in the Rosas neighborhood in the San Blas-Canillejas district.

‘Sportcal’ further stated that the LaLiga launched and separated its digital services into the LaLiga Tech Company in late 2021 and subsequently became a joint venture in 2022 when Globant acquired a 51 percent majority stake in the company.

Explaining the rebrand, Alejandro Scannapieco, the Chief Executive of Sportian, said, “We want to become a global leader in terms of sports reinvention. We want to be more aligned with a technology company, the name LaLiga Tech still had the flavor of LaLiga and soccer and we want to be much more than that. We want to create a brand that inspires people and is connected to sports and technology with the snap of a finger. The new brand is going to have some attributes that are relevant for us.”
In addition to its focus on bringing new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) to the world of sports, Sportian is consolidating three new product lines:

  • Ignite Your Fan Experience – Digital products to increase audiences and enhance the digital fan experience;
  • Empower Your Sports Teams – Platforms like Mediacoach that enhance team performance with realtime data; and
  • Supercharge Your Organization – Solutions for end-to-end transformation of sports properties.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence of machines or software, as opposed to the intelligence of humans or animals. It is also the field of study in computer science that develops and studies intelligent machines. ‘AI’ may also refer to the machines themselves.

The Mediacoach is a proprietary video motion analysis tool developed by the Spanish media company Mediapro for the 42 football clubs of the Liga de Fútbol Profesional. The stadium-based software uses 16 cameras placed all around the stadium to carry out post-match analysis of player movement.

Added Scannapieco, “The transition to Sportian signifies a strong commitment to innovation, where the most disruptive technology meets the passion for sports and entertainment. With Sportian, we aim to redefine fan experiences, enhance data utilization and transform the very essence of the industry.”

The tie-up with Globant expanded LaLiga Tech’s offering and was aimed at creating a solution for organizations seeking to engage a new generation of supporters in different parts of the world.

The goal of the joint venture is to expand and accelerate the product range presently available through Sportian.

Scannapieco, who has been part of Globant for 15 years, stated, “The partnership was natural because on the Globant side, we started helping LaLiga with many different projects and we got to know each other and knew that they had a tech company that was manufacturing and developing products and solutions. If we want to become a reference in the sector as far as leaders, we realized this could be a shortcut and beneficial for LaLiga also. It was natural to see that there was a joint opportunity.”

Globant last year also agreed to a wide-ranging commercial deal with the soccer’s governing body FIFA to become the global platform supporter of the FIFA+ streaming platform, a regional supporter of the 2022 World Cup and a sponsor of the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The firm has made a strategic entry into the sports and entertainment sector and launched a sports vertical in June.

Through its new strategy, Sportian is seeking to reinvent the sports and entertainment industry through specialized technology.

It is already the main technology provider for the top two divisions of Spanish soccer and will execute LaLiga’s strategy for clubs to modernize their stadiums using innovative technology.

Explained Scannapieco, “The sports industry is still at the very early stage in terms of digital transformation. Sports properties and organizations understand the challenge of how to keep up with the pace of fans that need more enlightening and enriching experiences. They connect with sports in a very different way. There are several challenges that are prevailing in the industry where technology can make a shift. Our technology can help these traditional organizations. Traditionally, properties are used to dealing with sponsorships, audiovisual rights and building infrastructure but there’s much more than that. The way to reinvent these experiences is through our technology and how we can help engage fans with sports properties and help competitions incorporate technology developments is going to shape a brand-new game for sports and entertainment and that’s the vision behind the reinvention.”

Through the subsidiary, LaLiga has packaged its existing technologies into a commercial offering for the sports industry, from matchday stats and analytics to “the next generation” of OTT streaming services, advanced content protection services and venue access management systems.

The league’s tech arm already has a portfolio of clients across the sports and entertainment industry such as the MotoGP (Grand Prix motorcycle racing) promoter Dorna Sports, Sky Mexico, Belgian soccer’s Pro League, Portuguese soccer’s top-tier Liga Portugal, and the Royal Belgian Football Association.
It also works with North America’s Major League Rugby, National Basketball Association (NBA) teams and the World Padel Tour (a sports club that conducts tennis leagues and tournaments).

In total, it has more than 60 clients and a presence across North and Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Scannapieco believes the rebrand can help the entity secure even more partnerships across sports and entertainment – “The change and the evolution of the brand is going to give us more power, more freedom and a very good understanding of the marketplace. The core of our solutions is meant for sports organizations, the competitions and the fans. However, there are many organizations that are connected to entertainment. For instance, we are providing content and brand protection services, we have a very strong product there to protect from piracy. This is not purely related to sports, it’s related to entertainment and content. Our focus is still on the sports industry but there are solutions that can go beyond this and more into the entertainment side. Our value proposition transcends the sports industry.”

Sportian currently covers 80 percent of the technology used in Spanish soccer and is seeking to position itself as a major player in the sports technology market which is estimated to have a global value of almost €30 billion ($31.4 billion), with a projected annual growth of 19 percent until 2027.

The rebranded tech entity believes it has unique services that can place it at the forefront of the sector.

Concluded Scannapieco, “We want to position ourselves as a worldwide leader in terms of the reinvention of the industry, and at the same time, be the sole provider of an ecosystem of solutions that can be fit for any type of organization and that’s a big evolution from what was inherited from LaLiga at the beginning. A big part of our evolution is connected to creating modular solutions with flexible architecture fit for different tiers of clients so they can select models and solutions based on their needs, budget and business priorities. There are many niche players in this industry, but it’s hard to find the players that can provide a whole ecosystem of solutions, all of them connected throughout different layers that can be adaptable and become nimble. There are several things that we want to accommodate to be perceived and actually deliver on that as the worldwide leader in terms of providing this core ecosystem of solutions.”

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