NAB 2019 Reflections: SportZcast’s Mike Connell Envisions Vast Expansion Into New Sports Ventures

Sports gambling, college sports, increased venue deployment are targets

SportZcast specializes in live-scoreboard-data decoding and distribution for professional leagues and teams across all sports. With scorebots compatible with multiple graphics packages and scoreboard models, in-venue productions are simpler and smoother. Last week in Las Vegas, Mike Connell, president, SportZcast, discussed the latest innovations displayed at the company’s NAB 2019 booth and previewed the company’s next plan of action.

What are the hottest products on the market for SportZcast at NAB 2019?
We have two new products. One of them, ScoreLink, allows any [venue] scoreboard a data output that is suitable for tying directly into all of the graphics systems, such as Vizrt, Ross Xpression, or ChyronHego.

The second product we are showing is ScoreHub, which is kind of the same concept: with any data from any scoreboard or any custom graphic that we’re generating internally at the console, the [output] comes out as NDI or multiple NDI feeds. Doing a sporting event, [a producer] can have a lower-third bug, a statistics page, extended graphics since there are multiple feeds coming out of the [ScoreHub]. There’s also [the capability] of an HDMI feed, if you have a scorer’s table and want to run a video scoreboard below it.

[Also], we are offering a single-camera sports solution. It’s an off-the-shelf, IP camera that’s very inexpensive and looks like a typical security camera. We add our software to that camera to produce a scoreboard overlay. We also remote-control the camera from anywhere on the internet, so a [college] sports information director doesn’t have to go to the baseball game [to control it]. They log in, put the scorebug in wherever they want, and stream the event live to their providers.

How is SportZcast continuing to expand in other avenues in sports?
The score network [that we have] is in over 2,800 venues with live-score data that’s available for repurposing and resharing. One of the really big things coming up for us is the sports-gambling industry. No one [in the industry] can provide data faster from a video perspective than what we’re doing. We call it “time-zero data” because we’re giving [fans information] the millisecond the ball [is in play.] We’re looking for partners to do that, so it will soon be available for the gambling industry.

Another [aspect] that is important to us is the switchover to college sports. We’re working [on] an interface to make ScoreHub the hub between statistics, video, and scoreboard data in local and [widespread] distribution.

[Moving forward], we want to get a scorebot in every venue. We’re starting to push into more of the professional stadiums, and we’re providing data solutions for traditional production environments. Since the data is all cloud-based on remote-production feeds back to the studios, it’s already there. It’s just about getting the word out to companies like Fox, ESPN, and NBC.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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