Welcome to Sportico’s Transactions wire, a weekly rundown of personnel, partnerships and purchases across the sports business industry
Monterosa Raises $4.5M for Tech Development and Global Expansion
Fan engagement operation Monterosa has raised $4.5 million to accelerate development of its real-time engagement platform and drive the company’s expansion into new global markets. The funding was led by 24Haymarket and included existing investor ACF Investors, plus a trio of new investors including Richard Scudamore, former CEO of The Premier League who also joined the Monterosa board in 2021, Chris Rodman, previously managing director of Topps, and Jeremy Darroch, former CEO and executive chair at Sky. Monterosa’s growth is fueled by worldwide demand for interactive fan engagement that generates attention and first party data within owned and operated environments. In 2021, Monterosa’s Interaction Cloud generated 2 billion interactions, serving more than 100 million users globally.
FuboTV Adds to C-Suite and Board
Streaming platform FuboTV, has appointed Henry Ahn to the newly created position of chief business officer and named Julie Haddon to its board of directors effective immediately. Haddon will also join the board’s audit committee. Ahn will transition from his current role on fuboTV’s board of directors, which he joined in July 2020, and oversee content strategy and licensing as well as business development. Haddon, an owner of the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League, has been a senior vice president, global brand and consumer marketing for the National Football League, where she led a bi-coastal organization that delivered innovative and impactful strategic marketing, player and fan engagement brand programs from the Super Bowl to the NFL Draft to the Inspire Change Social Justice initiatives.
Rocket Mortgage Teams With the Detroit Tigers
Rocket Mortgage and the Detroit Tigers agreed on a multiyear partnership, making the nation’s largest home lender the exclusive mortgage partner of the Tigers. As part of the collaboration, Rocket Mortgage will also be the presenting sponsor of Detroit Tigers Opening Day at Comerica Park on April 8. This partnership, Rocket Mortgage’s first with a Major League Baseball team, includes signage throughout Comerica Park, including one-of-a-kind branding on both foul poles. Gate B, located at the corner of Witherell Street and East Adams Avenue, will be rebranded the “Rocket Mortgage Entry.” As part of additional promotion, Rocket Mortgage will contribute $5,000 for every home run hit off the foul poles to the Connect 313 Fund, which aims to bring digital connectivity everyone in Detroit. If the home run is a grand slam, the company will contribute $20,000.
SportsTech Melbourne Names Its 10 Techstars for 2022
After receiving hundreds of applications representing startups from over 40 countries, SportsTech Melbourne has chosen 10 to invest in. The common elements among the group are founders with big visions, proven track records with early traction and the ability to attract top talent to solve significant issues in the sports, health and entertainment industries. All are building software-led businesses that can rapidly scale. The companies span from the wave of Web3 in sport, sports fintech and fan engagement to fitness and health to AI. The companies—Simbull, Played, GetDuck, Xpand, Stready, Herd, InStryde, Hormonious, MyArc, RookMotion—represent the U.S., UK, Australia, Mexico and Norway and will spend 13 weeks in the Techstars accelerator program.
Xbox Becomes Official Gaming Partner of French Football Federation
Xbox has signed on as the official gaming partner of the French men’s and women’s national soccer teams. Part of the partnership will include a program to strengthen the FFF’s support for amateur football by providing selected amateur clubs with new training facilities, equipment and renovated locker rooms with dedicated gaming areas. The organizations will also collaborate to create Xbox Day on May 21, which will include a tour of Clairefontaine, the home of French football, a unisex football tournament, the final of the eCup, presentations on Cécifoot (a football game designed for people who are visually impaired), and workshops on inclusivity.
Go City Touring Company Adds MLB Stadium Tours
Go City sightseeing passes now allow fans to save money on tours of stadiums such as Fenway Park in Boston and Petco Park in San Diego, with special access to dugouts, press boxes and locker rooms. Outside of baseball, fans can even visit SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, home to two NFL teams, and the venue of the iconic 2022 Super Bowl. Rather than paying full price for a standalone tour, fans can make the most of their time in the city by using Go City’s Explorer Pass or All Inclusive pass.
Players Health Raises $28 million in Latest Funding Round
Players Health closed a $28 million funding round to further its mission of creating safer and more accessible environments for kids to play the sports that they love. The youth sports technology platform’s lead investors for this round include three-time NBA champion Andre Iguodala’s firm Mastry Ventures, and global specialty insurer and reinsurer SiriusPoint. In addition to Mastry and SiriusPoint, current investors, RPM Ventures, EOS Venture Partners, and Will Ventures also contributed. Players Health uses technology, data insights,and risk management, along with a comprehensive suite of insurance products, to help protect young athletes.
UFC Adds Mobile Gaming Competition to Skillz Platform
In its drive to merge esports with premium sports and entertainment, the mobile games platform Skillz signed a multiyear partnership with UFC. The licensing deal, which will enable Skillz’ developers to create UFC-branded competitive mobile games co-marketed by UFC and Skillz, was revealed at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. It allows selected game creators from Skillz’ developer community to utilize certain UFC and UFC athlete intellectual property for mobile game creation and marketing. The new UFC-branded mobile games are slated to launch in 2023.
BettorEdge Selects Quarter4 as Data Supplier
BettorEdge, an online no-fee sports betting exchange and social platform connecting sports fans, has partnered with Quarter4, an AI-driven predictive sports data and analytics provider, as its data supplier. The analytics provided will give BettorEdge users pre-bet analysis. Quarter4’s predictions are automatically generated by a validated deep learning neural network. It combines historical statistics with current data to generate a predictive data point for every player and team in select college or professional sports. With up to 2 million predictions produced daily, and updated no less than every 15 minutes, the insights deliver a viewpoint for the bettor or fan.
U.S. Soccer Foundation Names Telemundo First Spanish-Language Media Partner
The U.S. Soccer Foundation named NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises as the organization’s first official and exclusive Spanish-language media partner. Through this partnership, Telemundo joins the foundation in its efforts to advance soccer as a means for helping children in underserved communities reach their full potential, including supporting the foundation’s signature Soccer for Success youth program, which provides free or low-cost soccer programs during and after school at more than 250 sites nationally. In anticipation of the 2022 World Cup, Telemundo will also team with the foundation to host a series of Soccer for Success jamboree celebrations in cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Houston, Chicago, Boston, and Orlando. The family-friendly events will be run with local community partners and feature Telemundo talent and employees.
Premier Lacrosse League Teams Up With Q30 Innovations
The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) powered by Ticketmaster will partner with Q30 Innovations to raise awareness and promote adoption of the Q-Collar, an FDA-authorized device that provides athletes with an added layer of brain protection. As part of the partnership, Q30 will equip athletes across all eight PLL teams with the Q-Collar. In February 2021, the FDA authorized marketing the Q-Collar to help protect athletes’ brains during head impacts. The FDA clearance was based on a thorough review of 10 years of research conducted independently by leading medical and research institutions across North America. As reported by the FDA, advanced imaging showed no significant changes in deeper tissues of the brain (white matter regions) in 77% of the group of athletes who wore the Q-Collar, while significant changes in these regions were found in 73% of participants in the non-collar group. The Q-Collar provides an added layer of protection for athletes aged 13 years and older.
Wasabi Technologies the Official Cloud Storage Partner of Boston Bruins, TD Garden
Wasabi Technologies, the cloud storage company, has signed a multiyear deal to become the official cloud storage partner of the Boston Bruins and TD Garden. Wasabi aims to increase its global brand awareness while addressing the need for data storage solutions across sports, media and entertainment. Wasabi branding will appear throughout TD Garden events, including in-arena signage and high-visibility positioning during NESN player and coach interviews broadcast on television and via TD Garden’s Hub Vision scoreboard. Wasabi will also support a number of the Bruins’ community initiatives, including a presenting sponsorship of the upcoming Girls’ Hockey Day, promoting the advancement of girls hockey in New England through on-ice clinics and Q&A sessions, and a monetary donation to local girls hockey programs.