For the past year, leagues and teams, looking for new revenue sources, have in many cases turned to additional advertising signage on and around the field of play. In its newest holding, Bruin Sports Capital believes it has found a way to further capitalize on existing digital boards.
Following a $100 million investment, according to sources with knowledge of the deal, Bruin has become co-owner, alongside Quadrant Private Equity, of media and marketing company TGI Sport, pending regulatory approval. The newly formed TGI will be led by former QMS Media Group CEO Barclay Nettlefold.
In an interview, Bruin CEO George Pyne highlighted TGI’s Parallel Ads broadcast technology (PADS), which can show viewers at-home electronic signage messages different from what’s displayed in-venue. The tech leverages the LED boards themselves, rather than relying on something like green screens. For example, audiences in India could be shown local ads even while watching a cricket match in England.
“It just doesn’t make sense that I’m viewing a game looking at ads that don’t mean anything to me,” Pyne said. “We believe it’s a disruptive technology that allows brands to engage consumers differently.”
Currently, TGI is able to program up to four different ads from a single display, and its tech is used in roughly 12 miles worth of boards around the world. TGI has relationships with UEFA, FIFA, MLS and others, with eyes on growing its footprint especially in North America, thanks in part to Bruin’s existing relationships. Some organizations license the PADS tech, while TGI sells ads for other bodies. “We’re excited about what George and his team will bring in terms of opportunities with sporting codes in the U.S.,” Nettlefold said. TGI Sport has more than 250 employees and also offers other hardware and software products for stadiums.
Nettlefold expressed his interest in working with other Bruin companies, especially data company Two Circles, in part to identify new clients. Two Circles has recently acquired sales company TRM and ticketing group Sports Ink, as Bruin continues to expand its investments, now spanning 15 countries, in the world of sports experiences. Bruin raised $600 million in 2019 and has been particularly active as the sports space heats up after a pandemic slowdown. “We look for companies to put into that network and accelerate growth,” Pyne said.
Quadrant has focused on investments in Australia and New Zealand since its founding in 1996. QMS, which was taken over by Quadrant in 2020, acquired TGI Systems Corporation and TGI Europe in 2018.