SVG Sit-Down: Sportradar’s Brian Josephs Examines Data-Focused Deal With Marquee Sports Network

The company provides Radar360 analytics, insights to the RSN

Last month, Sportradar inked a deal to provide the recently launched Marquee Sports Network with a range of broadcast services, including game notes, research support, the Radar360 analytics platform, and graphics.

Jointly owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group and the Chicago Cubs, Marquee Sports Network is the new television home of the Chicago Cubs and is looking to introduce a unique experience for Cubs games. Working with Sportradar as its data and insights partner, Marquee uses official MLB data to deeply engage fans and bring them closer to the action.

SVG sat down with Sportradar VP, Digital Sport, Brian Josephs to discuss the deal with Marquee, how Sportradar is working with the RSN on data-driven storytelling, the role of its Radar360 analytics platform, how he sees the RSN and sports-betting sectors evolving, and where he sees the industry headed in the coming years.

Sportradar’s Brian Josephs: “As [sports-]betting becomes more mainstream, expect to see more of this engaging betting data and content seamlessly woven into a typical broadcast.”

What are some details on what Sportradar is providing Marquee as part of the new deal?
Through our innovative data-delivery mechanisms, Marquee is able to fully explore and utilize our industry-leading sports database in their daily production workflows. This data can be accessed in a variety of ways, including our research platform (Radar360), our on-air graphics application (SR On-Air), or by utilizing the research desk for instant answers. Our data can also be accessed through game notes, which are distributed before games to help broadcasters prepare for key milestones and storylines.

How do these services add to Marquee’s ability to engage fans?
With our services, Marquee now possesses everything they need to create an engaging broadcast for fans. With game notes, for example, broadcasters will know if a certain player on the Cubs has hit a double in seven straight games and is about to tie Derek Lee’s franchise record of eight in his next game, giving them an interesting storyline to touch on when that batter is up.

With research support, if a player is a single away from hitting for the cycle and the broadcasters want to know the last time a Cubs player did that, they can ask our team, who will supply them with the answer right away.

With graphics, not only does our application support the live in-game needs, such as 0-fors and game box scores, but it also provides live updating splits, such as career stats, career vs. opponent, leaderboards. [We’re] always making sure that the data is up-to-date and relevant for visual storytelling.

Our Radar360 platform is all about providing Marquee with unique content and insights for premium storytelling during games at the depth and speed that the modern broadcaster requires.

When we talk about depth — and this applies to all of our products and services — we’re talking about advanced data sets, such as MLB Statcast, which allows fans to get another layer of context around the action on the field. Outside of Marquee, we also work with the NBA’s Advanced Stats and the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, which provide an unmatched level of data and information to our various broadcast partners.

How is the Sportradar team integrating with the Marquee Sports Network team?
Beyond the technology and services themselves, our research crew is a true extension of the Marquee team and always on call. We’re with them on a day-to-day basis, like an additional crew member, in the truck/control room assisting the in-house crew with researching storylines, answering questions, and verifying statistics.

Can you go a bit deeper in terms of what the Radar360 analytics platform offers customers? How will Marquee be using Radar360?
Radar360 is our cutting-edge data-intelligence platform that provides real-time access to in-depth insights and comprehensive historical data sets. In addition to the data and insights we’re providing through other methods, the Radar360 platform gives Marquee the ability to uncover and create new and compelling storylines on the fly, which they can weave through the course of a game. This is extremely valuable, especially for a sport like baseball, where there’s a lot of time between pitches. How you approach storytelling in a baseball broadcast can make or break the experience for the viewer. Radar360 also integrates into our on-air graphics application, SR OnAir, which streamlines the process of researching a story and visualizing it on the screen.

What opportunities does Sportradar see in the RSN market specifically? What opportunity does this market present for data-driven storytelling?
RSNs are ripe for deeper data-driven storytelling: they are closest to the fanbase and the teams in their markets, which is a very fortuitous position. Not only is there an advantage to going a mile deep on a certain team or group of players consistently, but RSNs also offer the ideal canvas to see which insights are resonating with their audience. They can then use their loyal audience feedback to produce better insights. With more options at their fingertips than ever before, now is the perfect time for RSNs to explore new types of content and insights for storytelling, such as player-tracking data and betting data, to engage audiences.

It’s also a great time to introduce new technologies to help production teams do their jobs more easily and more effectively. The sooner RSNs start experimenting with the latest content, insights, and tech advances, the bigger advantages they will have in personalizing the fan experience and growing their audiences compared with their competition.

Do you expect RSNs to lead the way in betting-specific programming/content? And, if so, how can Sportradar services help in these efforts?
Yes, RSNs are in prime position to lead the charge in betting-specific programming and content. RSNs in states with legalized betting have a golden opportunity to fully leverage betting data for storytelling. This also opens up significant sponsorship opportunities with operators looking for user acquisition.

In terms of Sportradar’s role, we have the industry’s most robust database of betting insights and probabilities that RSNs and other media companies can use to power their betting-related storylines and content. As betting becomes more mainstream, you can expect to see more of this engaging betting data and content seamlessly woven into the fabric of a typical broadcast, just like you would with other statistics, like slugging percentage or OPS.

Where do you see the sports-media and sports-betting sectors headed in the coming months? How is Sportradar looking to lead the way in terms of data-driven storytelling?
For a company that’s creating and shaping the future of the sports-entertainment and sports-betting spaces, it’s important to always be a few steps ahead. The pandemic has certainly reaffirmed that point for us.

Looking at the future of sports media, through the lens of a data provider, the winners will be the companies that can best deliver a layer of intelligence on top of their data to engage audiences in a personalized manner. Basic stats and information like box scores are ubiquitous. To truly stand out, you need to go deeper on the things your audiences care about most, you need to do it in real time, and you need to do it at scale. This is easier said than done, but it’s where fan demands are headed and what all media companies should be striving for.


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