PwC’s Sports Business Advisory practice sat down with David Lampitt, Sportradar AG’s Managing Director for Group Operations, to talk about the company’s exponential growth, bright future, and all things sports technology.
What has been keeping you busy lately?
In one word: opportunity. Sportradar has huge ambition to realise the full impact of sports content, either by itself or in partnership with other leading businesses. This ambition is showing no sign of abating any time soon. I’m excited about what that opportunity means: new markets like eSports; new products like our work on Next Gen Stats with the NFL; new partners such as the EPFL; and new inspiring colleagues to work with and learn from. Of course, this opportunity also brings intricate challenges. Three years ago, we were 750 employees. Today, we’re closer to 1,850. Working with my colleagues to find the systems and initiatives to effectively handle that growth and keep everyone aligned is a daily challenge. Plenty to think about, and of course, plenty to celebrate.
Sportradar has been making headlines in recent times. How have you experienced the last six to nine months and how would you describe the atmosphere in your camp?
On a local level, around a year ago, we moved offices from leafy Richmond in outer London to a new location at the heart of London’s City. We gave ourselves what I thought was ample room for growth – 12 months on, we are already approaching full capacity! For me, this is an everyday reminder of what is happening across the company, from our new office in New York to our new premises in Manila. It allows me to maintain a keen sense of our pace of growth and integration. I think the exciting work we are doing, be it our integrity partnerships with FIFA, data partnerships with the likes of the NFL and NBA, providing statistical solutions to Google, Twitter and Facebook, is really energising our teams around the world. That said, we aren’t resting on our laurels here. Growth and recruitment may be driven by that kind of showreel; but long-term employee and partner retention comes from cultivating and maintaining the right culture and values.
What are the main services that you offer and where do you see growth opportunities?
This is a tougher question than it seems because we offer a huge range of products and services. Historically, we are best known as the leading solutions provider to the sports betting industry. We’re capable of providing a bookmaker with almost everything it needs to offer a top-quality service to sports bettors from data, to odds suggestions, to risk management, with some virtual games for good measure. On the back of that, in 2005, we launched our Integrity Services, which leveraged our betting expertise and data into what today is recognised as the best and most reliable betting fraud monitoring system. Through this powerful solution, we are able to monitor over 180,000 sporting events a year for match fixing. In more recent years, we have developed our Digital Sport offering, which provides sports data and data-related products to a whole range of business sectors: major media companies, digital publishers, app developers and fantasy sport providers, among others. And then there is our audiovisual business, where we supply streaming content to betting companies as well as having our own OTT platform.
Ultimately, wherever sports data and content is being put to work for the benefit of growing revenues, driving fan engagement, delivering insights or attracting eyeballs, we are there, providing the raw materials to power that process. Being at the confluence of these growth areas – sport, entertainment and betting – means that we are surrounded by growth opportunities. We just need to make sure we pick the right ones.
What do you perceive as your biggest challenges in achieving your potential?
I think that the pace of change in technology, and its uses in society, means that we are only scratching the surface of the many exciting opportunities to drive sports data and content-driven solutions. There are certain tech developments that we already see on the horizon: smart glasses, augmented reality, virtual reality and wearables, all of which are already pointing to new data collection and data display opportunities. As a tech-driven business, keeping up with this changing landscape to ensure that our products are not overtaken by the pace of change is a constant challenge. As a result, we’ve set ourselves up to remain agile, even as we increase in size, so that we can be as responsive as possible to these and other developments.
To wrap up, what would be the one sport industry development beyond Sportradar’s immediate areas of interest that you think consumers should look out for over the next 12 months and why?
Since most fans cannot attend actual games in person, how to replicate that experience has always been a consideration for the sports and media industries. Live venues have always worried about the impact of remote consumption, whether at the dawn of radio, or TV. But virtual reality could genuinely be a game changer. The conditions are aligning as competitions and clubs have created a huge amount of engagement from those who cannot be there but are increasingly demanding an authentic experience. Virtual reality could come to create a personalised experience that could end up being better than the real one. Want to get the “best view in the house”? Virtual reality could provide the solution. Want to share the experience with your dad in Australia and your mate in South Africa in a “virtual living room”? You got it. Personally, I am excited to see how this virtual experience unfolds – and I think it will principally unfold through the shared social experience because social interaction and communication has underwritten almost all the major tech advances in recent years, from mobile technology to social media. Having said all that, I do still hope the live stadium experience answers the challenge and makes sure that seeing live sport remains a uniquely attractive proposition.
Tel. +41 58 792 2406
Tel. +41 58 792 1578