Supponor, the UK-based sports media and technology company, today announced the completion of a management buy-in, which involves €9.3 million ($10.55 million) in new money and debt conversions.
The buy-in is being led by the company’s new chief executive James B. Gambrell, with backing from its major investors.
Supponor’s DBRLive technology features in European soccer, enabling dedicated billboard advertising to be shown to television audiences in different countries, generating extra revenues for the home club.
Events at which the technology has been deployed include the away matches of Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, and it has also been tested in other soccer leagues and sports including American football, motor racing, field hockey, tennis and cricket.
Supponor said today that the buy-in would enable it to invest in and expand in European soccer and in other sports broadcast widely around the world.
Last October, Supponor announced the ‘breakthrough’ launch of digiBoard DBR, a combination of existing technologies, with ADI Group, the LED screen and signage experts, for the 2016-17 season.
Supponor’s DBRLive has been in use in Spain and Italy for the past few seasons, but take-up of the technology has been held up in Germany and England as it could only be superimposed on static advertising boards and not on LED boards, which are used widely in the Bundesliga and Premier League.
However, during last year’s Telekom Cup, a pre-season exhibition soccer tournament, Lagardère Sports Germany [then Sportfive Germany] worked with Supponor and telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom to introduce virtual pitchside advertising at a sports event in Germany for the first time, as five additional broadcast signals were provided in different markets around the world.
Gambrell, the former chief executive of e-commerce technology company Fits.me and executive chairman of software company Atego, where he led MBIs prior to both companies being sold, argued that Supponor is best-placed to take advantage of the growing demand for virtual advertising in sport, saying: “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.
“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.”
He added: “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. 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.”