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Aser moves into sports data market with SDL investment

Aser Group, parent company of international sports broadcaster Eleven Sports and English Championship football club Leeds United, has announced a strategic investment in Sports Data Labs (SDL), a technology provider for in-game capture, analysis and distribution of real-time human data.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Aser said it will become the single biggest investor in the company and will take an active role in its global commercial strategy.

Launched in early 2015, Sports Data Labs has been pioneering the use and commercialisation of in-game physiological sensing technologies. In the last 12 months, SDL has provided over 300 hours of real-time human data content available for live broadcast in 350 million households and 150 countries worldwide.

Aser has been actively investing in technology and media companies, leading the $28m (€24.8m) Series D round for Whistle Sports in 2018. Aser also invested in leading Italian content platform Hellodi, and has established full-service production company, easyprod.

“SDL has been relentless in putting the pillars in place to create an entirely new data stream available for commercialisation in sports,” Aser chief executive, Massimo Marinelli, said. “While commercialisation of human data is still in its infancy, we believe the longer-term monetisation opportunities are significant. Our evaluation has concluded that SDL has the right proprietary technology, vision and team to be the leader in this space.”

As part of the announcement, promotion-chasing Leeds and SDL have agreed to a partnership that will mark the company’s first move into team sports. The partnership will focus on developing commercial and performance-related opportunities within football for real-time sensor technologies found traditionally outside of sport.

SDL plans to utilise its new funds to continue the buildout of its core technology team, which will focus on the development of the company’s proprietary artificial intelligence/machine learning platform along with continued research and innovation around human data and related use cases.

“We are thrilled to partner with Aser Group and leverage their global expertise in media rights distribution to support our growth into new markets and sports,” Mark Gorski, co-founder and chief executive of Sports Data Labs, said.

“We are solving foundational issues that are at the heart of what is required to move the human data ecosystem forward. Aser’s commitment will enable us to continue our growth within the sports vertical and focus our efforts on areas that we believe have significant revenue potential for all stakeholders.”