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Sportfive signs three-year Supponor renewal, looks to roll out virtual cam carpets

The Sportfive agency has extended its agreement with Supponor, the virtual advertising technology company, for three more years.

The renewal announced this morning prolongs a tie-up between the two companies that began in 2017.

Sportfive and Supponor will continue to offer the only virtual advertising solution approved and licensed by the German Football League (DFL) for commercial operations in the Bundesliga.

The recently-rebranded Sportfive, which sells sponsorship and pitchside advertising rights on behalf of various German football clubs, plans to further its virtual advertising offering by introducing individualised static or animated virtual 3D cam carpets for international markets.

Philipp Hasenbein, Sportfive’s chief operating officer, said: “We are proud that together with our partners we have been able to pave the way for further innovations in the industry. This technology enables brands and rights-holders to create real, additional value.

“The novel use of the cam carpets underlines our role as an innovation driver in this field. We thus support our partners in further positioning themselves in the respective target markets and in reaching their target groups with country-specific advertising messages.”

Supponor first introduced its ‘Virtual 3D Carpet Replacement’ solution in October 2017 in a tie-up with LaLiga in Spain.

James Gambrell, Supponor’s chief executive, said that the announcement of the extended agreement with Sportfive “comes at a time where engaging with audiences is more important than ever and virtual advertising technology can be the key to this improved fan engagement and interaction with sponsors, leagues and clubs”.

Sportfive described the Supponor technology, which allows advertisers’ messages to be shown to different international TV markets by virtually overlaying existing pitchside LED boards within the live broadcast, as “of decisive importance”, especially for global and regional sponsors outside the German-speaking market.

The agency said: “For the past two seasons Supponor’s proprietary technology platform has been proven to reliably and authentically modify the regular transmission delivering virtual multiplication of the perimeter advertising space to multiple international markets. This gives advertising partners a wide range of options such as the individual approach to target groups in different regions and the possibility of acquiring different partners per region for the rights-holders.”

The markets in the US, China, Japan, Thailand and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) have been the focus for the individualised feeds.

There are currently five TV feeds being produced with individual advertising adapted to each feed and region. These include individual feeds in the Americas, EMEA, South Asia and Southeast Asia with each offering digital overlay of the pitchside LED boards. These are in addition to the feed in Germany, Austria and Switzerland without digital overlay.

Sportfive said that Supponor’s virtual advertising will also again be offered during the broadcast production of Borussia Dortmund’s home Bundesliga matches, as well as at selected home matches of other clubs with whom the agency works, such as Hertha Berlin, Augsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach.

The agency added: “In the last two seasons, the virtual perimeter advertising was implemented at 60 matches in 10 different stadiums. More than 50 brands have then taken the opportunity for targeted communication in international markets and sponsoring revenues have been generated in the 8-digit range. In the medium term, the aim is to implement the technology in additional markets, such as France or England.”

In March, Supponor signed a long-term extension of its licensing agreement with Mediapro, the Spain-based rights agency and production group. The deal included continued use of Supponor’s ‘DBRLive’ (digital billboard replacement) virtual LED perimeter replacement product and the ‘NSA’ (natural scene augmentation) virtual carpets product.

That extension followed a direct deal signed between Supponor and Barcelona.