Operating in a unique position at the intersection of the sports, media and betting industries, EQT has helped Sportradar become a global leader in collecting, understanding and using sports data.
Now, Sportradar is building upon its success in Europe by seeking further expansion in the biggest market for sports in the world – the U.S. Since first coming to the U.S. in 2013, the company has established itself as North America’s fastest-growing sports data provider and has secured exclusive partnerships with the NFL, NASCAR and the NHL.
“The US market is at the forefront of using technology in sports as well as data-driven real-time interaction with fans,” says Ulrich Harmuth, Managing Director of Corporate Development and M&A at Sportradar. “The NFL has put chips in the shoulder pads of all of their players. This technology allows fans to get real-time information on a new segment of player stats like x-y-z coordinates, top speeds and acceleration that enables broadcasters, sponsors and digital outlets to interact with their customers in a completely new and engaging way.”
Michael Jordan on board
Sportradar has now secured a strategic partnership in the U.S. with Revolution Growth, an investment firm specializing in U.S. media and tech investments, who will work alongside EQT. The partnership will see Ted Leonsis, owner of numerous American sports teams; Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks; and Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets join Sportradar’s newly formed U.S. Advisory Board.
“Teaming up with Revolution Growth, Ted, Mark and Michael opens up exciting new opportunities for Sportradar in the U.S.,” says Dominik Stein, Partner at EQT Partners, Investment Advisor to EQT VI. “It will help the company reach its full potential in one of the most exciting sports and media markets.”
EQT’s support for Sportradar’s expansion in the U.S. market is only the latest step in what has been a very successful partnership – EQT Expansion Capital II first invested in Sportradar in 2012, which was followed by an investment from EQT VI two years later.
“Sportradar is an attractive company with a great team and has grown extremely fast. As a result, EQT has made two separate investments to support the business through the different stages of its rapid development,” says Dominik Stein.
EQT’s initial focus was on applying its corporate governance experience, providing Sportradar with more structure to help sustain the company’s culture of innovation as it grew. As part of this, an advisory board was appointed to be a sparring partner for its highly successful and dynamic founder.
Pioneering with new products
The latest investment from EQT VI was made in 2014 to accelerate Sportradar’s transformation from a data provider into a comprehensive product supplier and to support its international expansion. Today, Sportradar has a variety of pioneering new products serving a wide range of different customers and while previously 100% of its business was based in the EU, now more than 24% of its revenues are generated elsewhere.
“EQT is our key partner and has been very flexible in how it has applied its international organization, networks, and deep expertise in B2B data in order to help build Sportradar into a better business,” says Ulrich Harmuth.
Sportradar currently has over 1,300 employees and 5,000 freelance data journalists worldwide. In 2015 the company had exclusive agreements to gather and disseminate data for 65 worldwide leagues and federations and generated revenues of €130 million.