Tempus Ex Machina Aims To Provide Teams, Leagues a Platform for Transforming Fan Engagement
Chelsea FC is the company’s most recent partnership
Tempus Ex Machina, the technology company co-founded by CEO Charlie Ebersol, continues to build new partnerships in its effort to give teams and leagues a technology platform designed not so much as an end in itself but as a bedrock for software and technology innovation. And more and more clubs see that vision and embrace it.
For its newest partner, Chelsea FC, Tempus Ex Machina’s FusionFeed technology is coupled with video captured from 8K AstroDesign cameras to enable full coverage of the pitch and allow isolated capture of any player on the field and even full skeletal 3D tracking for animation re-creations. More important, it allows video capture that, when coupled with data and other software, can create countless new experiences for fans anywhere and everywhere. It can also be done at a speed that Ebersol says is still unrivaled.
“Even after five years,” he notes, “the AAF [Alliance of American Football] app’s delivery of animated re-creations of the game in 75-150 ms, from when the action happened on the field to when it was displayed on an end user’s device, is unmatched by any of today’s systems.” (Ebersole was CEO of the AAF before co-founding Tempus Ex Machina.)
Chelsea FC will use Tempus Ex Machina technology across several club operational areas: the Chelsea app designed for fans around the globe; tech used by vendors of all sorts to deliver new experiences to fans onsite at London’s Stamford Bridge; and tech that will allow fans not in the stands to experience and connect to the stadium environment in new and exciting ways from anywhere. The AstroDesign 8K cameras will play a big part in all three offerings.
“We can create a piece of content that isn’t just taking what is on the broadcast and dropping it in,” says Ebersol. “It’s completely new content. That is one of the things that is so interesting about the AstroDesign cameras.”
The technical infrastructure at Chelsea will include a minimum of three AstroDesign cameras and the Tempus Ex Machina FusionFeed core server. That server powers not only Tempus Ex Machina software but also that of third-party developers and partners like Curastory (which is being used by Pac-12 football student-athletes to create bespoke highlights for distribution across their own social channels) developing their own services and applications.
“Right now, we are working with Chelsea to determine which partners will have access to our API,” explains Ebersol. “We call our company Tempus Ex Machina, which is Latin for ‘time from the machine,’ because we use a proprietary synthetic timecode to sync everything.”
A key value proposition of the company is to provide clients with the FusionFeed platform, allowing a team or league to create a customized digital experience for fans, sponsors, and partners without having to start from scratch. The technology was borne out of the AAF, which proved to be a perfect test bed for concepts like an app that has real-time animations of plays as well as betting. The platform ultimately brought together once disparate technologies in a way that has proved attractive to clubs, leagues, and investors.
“One of the challenges in professional sports,” he continues, “is that so many vendors are doing great things but next to nobody can take advantage of it [because those technologies and experiences aren’t connected]. At the AAF, we built a tech stack that allowed us to tinker with anything we wanted.”
The FusionFeed technology creates several digital-related pathways that can be synchronized and distributed over connected devices and second screens.
“[Chelsea co-owners] Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali see uncapped potential in the power of their fans and partners building new digital assets,” says Ebersol. “What we do is take the digital assets of these sports entities and turn them into something that other businesses can build on. In our conversations with Todd and Behdad, we looked at the MLB and what they did with MLB Advanced Media, which is to create a platform that was more valuable than the content on it. We want to do the same thing, and it’s exciting to work with owners who are willing to shake things up.”
Ebersol cites the Google Maps API as an example of a technology that ultimately became a foundational technology that developers at companies like Uber and Postmates take advantage of. Those companies used the Google Maps API technology and created completely new experiences and businesses.
“Our thesis,” says Ebersol, “is to build an infrastructure that anyone who is forward-thinking can use to build something. We built a single solution that can power infinite possibilities. We have already implemented our tech inside the NFL, the Pac-12, Chelsea, Colorado, and more. Within the marketplace, we want to democratize access and invite people to build the future who heretofore have not been given the opportunity.”