Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sports as a content category

Infostrada Sports, the Dutch sports intelligence provider has sold its mobile service Sportsplaza to Sports1, the sports service of the cable operator UPC. Infostrada Sports will concentrate on the business market, but will keep serving Sportsplaza with data.

With the sale of the mobile service Sportsplaza and its integration in the Dutch consumer service Sports1 a consolidation in the Dutch language consumer sports market has come about. Sportsplaza started more than seven years ago, when KPN asked Infostrada to start a mobile sports portal for the iMode service. Since 2005 Sportsplaza has the rights to the Dutch premier league and is able to produce video clip of goals within a few minutes. The mobile service bought also the rights to sporting events like the Tour de France, Wimbledon, the Dakar Rally and Roland Garros.

Sportsplaza grew to a service with 50.000 subscribers in the Netherlands, who pay two euro every month, while in Belgium there are 40.000 subscribers. It has also special services for soccer clubs like PSV, Ajax and Feijenoord. The service has months that it counts more than 5 million pageviews.

The transfer of Sportsplaza to Sports1, a subsidiary of Chello Media, part of Liberty Global, the mother company of UPC, will bring together consumer sports services regardless of the medium, thus building out its multimedia strategy. Sports1 now serves the digital cable channel of UPC and third parties, internet and the mobile platform. Earlier in the year Sports1 acquired the web company SportOne.

Sport1 has also an interactive television portal for the digital television service of UPC, providing subscribers with score, statistics, play schedules, news and games; it also offers a way to select eight concurrent games from a mosaic and windows in a window. Recently Sports1 bought the rights to the British Football Association Premier League.

Infostrada Sports will concentrate again on sports intelligence as a business to business service for journalists and for companies. The company covers 60 games and deliver direct feeds in various formats during games but also off-line. The company has also Media Services which provide editorial assistance to sports journalists, but also to event organisers. The company with the HQ based in Nieuwegein (The Netherlands, has 100 employees, spread over offices in the United Kingdom, Australia, Austria and Denmark. The company is presently looking for offices in other countries. It is likely that Infostrada Sports will use the sales revenues for expansion in foreign countries and in content.

It is clear that the sports business is maturing and the consumer services become a commodity which is being served by a b2b service. Sports intelligence has become a business, having grown from a documentation department of a newspaper into a specialist content business. Sports have become a content category with a b2b track as well as a consumer track.

Blog Posting Number: 840

Tags: , ,

No comments: