By Jonathan Rest
Supponor, the sports media and technology company, is in negotiations with the Bundesliga and agencies representing clubs from German soccer’s top flight regarding the possible roll-out of its targeted pitch-side digital advertising technology, which reaches a milestone in Spain this weekend.
Sportcal also understands that England’s Premier League is continuing to evaluate the technology for future roll-out following two successful trials late last year, while Uefa is contemplating running a live test in either the Champions League or Europa League, when the knock-out stages of Europe’s top clubs competitions begin next month.
London-based Supponor’s DBRLive (Digital Board Replacement) technology, which enables dedicated billboard advertising to be shown to television audiences in different countries, generating extra revenues for the home club, has been operating in Spain’s La Liga since the start of the 2012-13 season, and will tomorrow rack up its 50th airing as part of a special triple bill of matches.
In a deal struck with Mediapro, the Spanish rights agency, Supponor offers up to 20 minutes of guaranteed non-domestic television advertising in live coverage of the away matches of league giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, and in recent weeks it has added the home games of Atletico Madrid, the reigning La Liga champions, to its portfolio.
Tomorrow, the DBRLive technology will be used at Cordoba-Real Madrid, Elche-Barcelona and Atletico Madrid-Rayo Vallecano, with each game having seven feeds – UK, Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East – enabling viewers in each market to see perimeter board advertising particularly tailored to them, whether it be in the local language or promoting local brands.
It will be the first time that the technology has been used in three games in one day, and represents a record month for DBRLive with 10 matches alone in Spain in January.
By the end of this month, the technology would have been used in 100 matches, including Spain’s knockout Copa del Rey and Italy’s Serie A, which is in the first year of a three-season deal.
Tony Ragan, managing director of Supponor, told Sportcal today: “The Bundesliga is looking at how Spain is working. We are in discussions in Germany. We’re talking with the clubs directly, with the likes of Sportfive and Infront and with the Bundesliga who would of course have to coordinate this.”
Sportfive and Infront, the international sports marketing agencies, are the commercial partners of a number of Bundesliga teams, while the Infront Italy subsidiary worked with Supponor to integrate DBRLive in Serie A broadcasts.
At present, Supponor operates the technology at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, home of both Genoa and Sampdoria, when leading clubs such as Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan visit, and from March it will deploy DBRLive at the home games of Lazio.
Although only in the first year of the deal, the Serie A contract is expected to be expanded next year, with more games and more teams, potentially involving the Milan clubs, on the discussion table.
Two trials have been carried out in accordance with the Premier League this season, at Manchester City versus Swansea City on 22 November, and at an Under-21 Premier League clash between Stoke City and Newcastle United a week earlier, and while talks with the league continue, Sportcal understands that a live roll-out remains at least another season away.
Away from soccer, Supponor, through Sportcel Marketing, the sports sponsorship and events agency that has been brokering deals for the technology firm, is hoping to build on relationships with other top-tier rights-holders, such as the three trials it has run in Formula 1 motor racing and on a two-year test phase in North American ice hockey’s NHL.