NAB 2022 Perspectives: Genius Sports’ Michael Connell Offers Look at Award-Winning ScoreLink+
As the ecosystem of live sports data explodes, Genius Sports is one of the technology companies that has emerged as one of the leaders in the industry for supporting real-time statistical distribution to broadcasters, leagues, betting houses, and more.
At the 2022 NAB Show, the company showed off its latest solutions that support seamlessly integrating tracking data and graphical augmentations into the live environment, as well as real-time scoreboard data tools. That included the new, portable ScoreLink+, which landed the company a Broadcasting & Cable Best of Show Award.
In Las Vegas, SVG caught up with Michael Connell, president of Sportzcast – which was acquired by Genius Sports at the end of 2020 – to chat about ScoreLink+ and how Genius Sports is taking data typically reserved for the largest of sports entities and bringing it to the masses.
Sportzcast was a manufacturer of sports scoreboard data distribution systems. How has the adjustment been since Genius Sports acquired the company?
Genius is a major sports technology company. They acquired [Sportzcast] so that they can get real time scoreboard data into their infrastructure. Genius already has LiveStats, which is in all NCAA [institutions]. So those statistics products are now integrated with Sportzcast. The products are tied together.
Stat operators have the scores on the stat panel as they’re entering it. Imagine you’re “stat-ing” a basketball game and you’ve got to keep track of the clock. The composite of all of that data is now available within the Genius products, and its also available to all of the broadcast vendors. And is compatible with Ross, Chyron, all the traditional graphic systems are out there.
Tell us more about ScoreLink+. How does this advance Genius Sports’ impact on this side of the industry?
Sportzcast has always put together a device that we called a “Scorebot.” So, new to NAB this year, is what we call ScoreLink+. It’s truly the Swiss Army Knife of scoreboard data, scoreboard graphics, TV graphics, in-venue graphics, real-time webpages, digital signage, media, sports bar feeds. It’s all comes from here.
What’s unique about it is any scoreboard plugs in and gets the data. On the back side, we connect to anybody’s WIFI network and everything beams right out. In the past, we’ve used either the cloud or some local PC to process it. Now all the processing is done right in the box. All of the scoreboard normalization is internal so it doesn’t matter what you plug in on the front side, on the back you get standard data models.
In addition to that, there’s a graphics system – which is web-based – where a designer in real time, can create a custom scorebug graphic integrated with stat data. It’s a fast, easy way via a webpage to create those live graphics. You don’t need a purpose-built graphics system and you don’t need an artist to design it. You design one anywhere, save it, and its available for your graphics engine.
Genius Sports is working with some of the biggest sports brands in the world. This solution seems to make live data far more accessible to content creators of any size.
Absolutely, totally accessible. Genius has agreements with the NCAA, and currently in a 10-year partnership as their stat provider. The schools are going to be getting this device and the stat system. If they want to enhance it and get digital signage and graphics and overlays, they can,. but all of the stats and the data they need and expect is all a part of what we do.