Sportvision, Ignite to roll out merger

Dec 16, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Sportvision and Ignite Sports will announce Monday that they have merged, creating a marketing-driven interactive television company with a focus on interactive sports broadcasting.
The new company, which will retain the Sportvision name, will be better positioned to market its popular sports technologies such as the well-known 1st & Ten for football games and its Racef/x technology for NASCAR races, said Hank Adams, CEO of the new company and the former CEO of Ignite Sports.
The company plans to offer branding opportunities for marketers within the technologies themselves, such as sponsorship of 1st & Ten. “[An advertiser] is branding themselves within the action of the sport as opposed to halftime or when you are cutting away,” Mr. Adams said. “These [technologies] are enhancements that are much more woven into the fabric of the sport itself and part of the storytelling. If we can build sponsorship packages to get sponsors in TV interactively, that’s a powerful position to be in.” About 100 million people saw Sportvision’s technological enhancements last year.
With the growth of PVRs and on-demand viewing, this and other types of product placement are becoming more prevalent and attractive as a means of delivering a marketing message, Mr. Adams said. Five-year-old Sportvision has primarily operated as a technology shop and hasn’t delivered on its full marketing potential, he added. That coupled with the growing trend in marketing towards product placement, made the time right for the union.
Jim Stroud, media analyst with Blackbird Communications, believes such a vehicle will be attractive to traditional sports advertisers. “There are absolutely some marketing opportunities,” he said.
The new company’s headquarters will be in Chicago, where Ignite was based. Sportvision will maintain offices in New York and Mountain View, Calif. Each company employed about 45 people, and a few duplicated positions will be eliminated. In addition, the new company received a $10 million infusion of cash raised largely from existing investors.