Major League Soccer has spent the last decade handling almost all of its digital technology with an in-house group of developers. Now it’s partnering with Deltatre to help advance those efforts.
MLS has signed a multi-year agreement to make Deltatre its web technology provider. The two will work together on the MLS homepage, team websites and apps, the early stages of a wider tech partnership that both sides say will grow over the coming years.
“Right now, we’re focusing on a ton of consumer products,” Jeff Volk, head of business and revenue for Deltatre’s U.S. business, said in an interview. “But over time, we’re looking at data. We’re looking at broadcast solutions. We’re going to look at every element of Major League Soccer and try to figure out how we integrate technology tools better into the sport.”
The partnership is a vendor agreement, wherein the league pays Deltatre for services. Both companies declined to comment on the terms of the deal.
For MLS, the partnership will help both internally—with data capture and analysis at both the league and team levels—and for fan-facing things like engagement and interactivity, according to Chris Schlosser, the league’s senior vice president of media.
“If you think about how we leverage technology today, it’s to learn about our fans, to deliver experiences to our fans and then also to provide our clubs with significant tools to help them manage their operations, whether that’s ticket sales, operations or merchandise sales,” Schlosser said in an interview. “It’s an important component of both our national content business and our core local business.”
Owned by Bruin Sports Capital and headquartered in Italy, Deltatre has quietly grown its U.S. presence over the last few years into a comprehensive web of sports and platforms. In addition to MLS, the company powers the digital presence for MLB and the NFL, and it recently partnered with Sinclair Broadcast Group to handle the website and app for Sinclair’s stable of regional sports networks.
Internationally, the company’s partners include huge rights holders like FIFA and UEFA, and smaller sports bodies like the Confederation of African Football. Volk said the company believes 20% of the global sports fan universe touches a Deltatre website.
Like many U.S. leagues, the main MLS site and those of all its teams are run through one central system, which gives the league more control and presents a more uniform and consistent look. Those platforms were redesigned in 2015 as part of a wider MLS brand makeover surrounding the league’s 20th season. Back then, around 50% of MLS digital visits came on mobile; now it’s around 70%.
Bruin Sports Capital, run by former IMG and NASCAR executive George Pyne, bought Deltatre in 2016 for about $160 million. The firm raised $600 million in 2019 from CVC Capital Partners and the Jordan Co.