Supponor, the in-broadcast virtual stadium signage replacement technology solutions provider, has completed a Management Buy-in (MBI), led by its newly appointed chief executive, James B. Gambrell, and backed by its major investors. The management buy-in comprises €9.3m of new money and debt conversions.

With over 25 years’ experience of delivering growth in innovative companies in the technology, media and communications sectors, Gambrell brings a wealth of experience in identifying and delivering the business priorities for customers of cutting edge technology solutions. Most recently, as CEO of Fits.me, where he led a successful MBI to reposition the e-commerce technology company before its sale to Rakuten, Japan’s largest internet company for over a 300% IRR.  Previously, as CEO, he led the MBI of Atego and transformed it into the global leader in mission- and safety-critical systems engineering application development tools before selling it to leading PLM vendor PTC delivering a 10x return to his early backers.

The MBI-round demonstrates the growing level of investor confidence in the virtual signage replacement & augmented reality sector for Tier-1 in-event broadcast sports. Supponor chief executive, James B. Gambrell, said: “We’re at an exciting inflection point for the industry. Several competing start-ups have now entered the market, but only Supponor has attracted brand-name, paying top tier clients in live, commercial real world deployments.” Gambrell continued, “Supponor’s Digital Billboard Replacement Live (DBRLive) solution has been proven under the most demanding of real world environments, and as the industry continues to expand and evolve, I believe only Supponor has the experienced team & quality solution able to protect and nourish the astronomical revenues being generated by Tier 1 live sport rights holders and their broadcast & sponsorship partners.”

With Supponor’s DBRLive technology continuing to drive the market for audience targeting of high-value, in-event advertising, the latest round of investment will be used for debt reduction and working capital for expansion to ensure that Supponor stays ahead of its competitors where it matters most – by continuing to deliver its hallmark of quality with further product enhancements and innovation as it expands with more clients, sports & markets.

Gambrell continued: “The Supponor team pioneered a new industry by identifying a huge opportunity for sports rights holders & sponsors to better communicate with sports fans and created an innovative, viable technology-driven solution that has been successfully delivering real value to sports rights holders and their sponsor and broadcast partners. But this is just the beginning; the team is now focused on globally scaling our operations to ensure we can support a rapidly growing market and increased demands from our clients, while continuing to differentiate against a growing cadre of competing solutions.”

“However, we will not lose sight of what has made Supponor the leading virtual replacement solutions provider in the first place: innovation and never compromising on quality – as we believe client success can only be delivered by first protecting the quality of the sport fans’ visual experience and never risking the enormous investments being made by the industry in broadcast and sponsorship rights. There are no short cuts to quality, and we simply will not risk our clients’ reputation nor our own.”

“Brands invest significant sums in Tier 1 sport to communicate with their consumers in an exciting, dynamic environment, which enhances relationships and confidence in their brands. Brands, broadcasters and fans alike deserve and demand a quality experience. Helping brands to better target and tailor their messaging to their consumers improves their relevance, impact and brand awareness attributes. In-sport brand communications is an extremely powerful medium to engage with consumers and Supponor is helping brands to deliver the most highly relevant, personalized messaging available.”

Supponor remains the only commercially deployed solution in top flight broadcast sport.  While DBRLive continues to be the solution of choice for European Football, including La Liga in Spain, where Supponor’s technology delivers targeted advertising at Barcelona & Real Madrid games throughout the footballing calendar, Supponor has also been deployed and tested with other global sports – including American Football, Motor Racing, Hockey, Tennis & Cricket. Supponor will be investing in and expanding both its core market of European Football as well as other leading broadcast sports around the globe.

“To sustain our position as the world’s leading supplier of in-sport virtual brand communications, Supponor is hyper-focused on continuing to provide technology and solutions which keep pace with the rapidly evolving technology of the broadcasters and rights holders,” commented Gambrell.  “Be that 4K broadcasting or compatibility with the very latest in in-venue LED perimeter signage, continuing to deliver a broadcast quality virtual solution remains Supponor’s primary objective. In Supponor’s ability to deliver this, we continue to remain unchallenged.”

Since its launch, the commercial value of the technology solutions developed by Supponor has been recognized by rights holders, brands and broadcasters throughout the world of sport. Supponor’s ability to deliver targeted brand messages, including different languages and focused on discrete audience-specific communications, continues to revolutionize the way brands are able to leverage the unique qualities of global mass communications scale of live broadcast sport but with higher value, targeted messaging impacts.

Rights holders, broadcasters and brands are now able to develop tailored, market-specific brand communication solutions, creating multiple revenue streams, confident in Supponor’s legacy of delivering a broadcast quality technology solution designed to meet the specific challenges of each individual rights holder, TV visible signage and broadcast platform.

The world of live sports broadcasting never stands still, with an increasing amount of technology sophistication coming to bear in driving incremental value from sponsors, advertisers and broadcasters. Keeping ahead of the relentless progress of broadcast technology remains Supponor’s primary function. “Whilst our end product is a live in-event advertising solution, first and foremost” says new CEO Gambrell, “we are a technology business whose commercial success is dependent on us leading the way in delivering ever more efficient and effective technology-based solutions for our clients and the industry. We remain confident in our view that Supponor will continue to be the number one technology solution in this space.”