Stats-Perform deal to create AI powerhouse

16 Apr 2019

By: Sport Industry Group

Stats CEO Carl Mergele believes the US data giant’s takeover of digital sports media and content provider Perform will create a combined entity that will offer unprecedented opportunities in artificial intelligence.

Perform – which operates the Opta, RunningBall and Watch&Bet data services from numerous offices across Europe – has been spun off by parent company DAZN Group.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but DAZN Group will receive a combination of cash, which it plans to plough into its expanding online-streaming operation in various territories worldwide, as well as a minority shareholding in the combined business.

Perform Group changed its name to DAZN Group in October and separated its online-streaming and B2B units with the creation of Perform Content, paving the way for the division to be sold.

However, although the combination of Chicago-headquartered Stats and Perform will create a data powerhouse, Mergele explained that it was the prospect of leveraging the two companies’ assets to innovate in the AI space that will be of particular interest.

“Bringing Perform into the fold will create the most advanced artificial intelligence company in sports, providing deeper, more robust data and insights, which is essential to our global partners,” he said.

“Not only will we be able to improve our offerings to existing customers, we now have the opportunity to expand our presence in global markets where Perform has paved inroads for years as a leader in digital sports content.”

DAZN Group Chief Executive Simon Denyer said that all net proceeds from the deal would be invested into DAZN, which currently operates streaming services in Japan, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Canada and the US.

Denyer added: “Over 12 years we created a leading global portfolio of content and clients, but the combination of Stats and Perform takes the service to a new level of potential for everyone.”

In January, DAZN announced plans to occupy a new purpose-built office in Leeds, its main UK hub, and in March, Perform Media was rebranded as DAZN Media, with sponsorship and advertising introduced on the streaming platform for the first time.

Last week, Perform sealed an agreement to become an authorised betting data distributor in the US for North America’s Major League Baseball.

Perform already collects and distributes data from various other major sports leagues via its RunningBall data service, including football’s Premier League (above) and LaLiga in Spain.

The takeover, which Vista Equity Partners has helped to fund, is set to close in the second half of this year.