Carsten Koerl, Sportradar: Adapting at speed to counter loss of ‘real’ sport

In the nearly 20 years since Sportradar was founded, I have never seen our landscape change so drastically in such a short period, writes the company’s CEO Carsten Koerl.

In just a few weeks, we have gone from celebrating and looking forward to a diverse range of global sporting events, to the widespread cancellation and postponement of almost all live sport affecting millions of people connected to this dynamic industry.

This unprecedented time in history continues to impact every value chain in sport, from teams and leagues to service providers and operators.

Crucially, it has made us all think and act differently. However, our business, sector and increasingly the world we live in is showing just how resilient, adaptable, and entrepreneurial it can be – and at a speed no one thought possible.

It is this entrepreneurial spirit within all our teams working remotely across the globe that has seen us pull together to not only maintain, but also significantly expand our product and service levels when our customers need it more than ever. 

We know ‘real’ sports will come back, and when they do, everyone will celebrate, but the absence of live action has seen an increased demand for innovative and non-traditional sports coverage.

At Sportradar, we listened carefully to our customers and pivoted our business strategy to continue to provide support for the wider industry. We have gone beyond the days of being just a traditional data specialist and have evolved into a cutting-edge technology player.

Innovation is the cornerstone of Sportradar and thanks to that, we have seen our sports content and coverage above 2019 levels. So far in the month of April, there has been an 11% increase (and growing) in its available sports content compared to April 2019. This also means that our Live Odds coverage is up by 30%, while Live Data is up 20% compared to this time last year.

We recently released our AI-driven Simulated Reality product which went from initial concept to live in just ten days. We also added to our Gaming Solutions portfolio with the release of Euro Cup 2020, allowing fans to engage in the popular football tournament as realistically as possible using our comprehensive real-life sports data and motion capture technology. 

We also continue to work incredibly closely with our sports partners to help create new and unique events, offering a mixture of live odds, data, AV and streaming. As part of this, we are providing official coverage, betting and streaming opportunities for several specially designed esports tournaments featuring some of the world’s top-tier players.

Crucially this new content has been sourced and delivered to the market with the same industry leading security and integrity processes and measures in place that Sportradar has always adhered to. Maintaining the integrity of the data and products we provide together with that of the sporting events themselves is a key building block of everything we do.

It has been a huge challenge to achieve this in such a short space of time, but it has been worth it. The innovative steps we have taken to deliver immersive technologies is not only enabling our industry to continue while live sports gradually return, but it is also allowing fans to experience and engage in new ways with the sports they passionately follow. 

None of us can predict the future. But, we are doing everything we can to help our customers and partners during this unsettling time. To say I am enormously proud of our response, our technological advancements, and the steps we have taken to ensure our customers continue to generate revenues would be an understatement. 

Carsten Koerl will deliver the opening keynote address at the inaugural SBC Digital Summit on Monday April 27th at 9.15am BST / 10.15 CEST.

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