The DataPOWA view on the most important talking points in the worlds of sport sponsorship and digital.

BARCA SEEK NOU STADIUM NAME

Barcelona will rename the Nou Camp stadium in a massive sponsorship deal thought to be worth around £355 million.

The iconic ground will be renovated across a four-year period starting in 2019. As part of the work, the stadium’s capacity will be expanded to fit 105,000 people.

The Sun has reported that Spanish pharmaceutical company Grifols is in the running for sponsorship, while Spanish newspaper Marca has brought Dutch holding company Scranton Enterprise into the equation.

However, SportsPro Media notes that the report says “the venue will not feature the name of either [Scranton Enterprise or Grifols], but that Scranton would look to manage the process of securing a brand that wished to give its name to the ground.”

The sponsorship deal is a critical part of the club’s overall renovation project, which also involves a new arena for the Barcelona basketball team.

Earlier in the year Spanish broadcaster Mediaspro expressed their interest in the naming rights but a €300 million bid fell through.

For more on this story please visit SportsPro Media

CLUBS USE DATA TO INFORM TRANSFERS

Data and enhanced analytics are being used by football teams to unearth new players and land better deals, a new report from Forbes has revealed.

The publication tells the story of Red Star Belgrade, who were in the market for a new attacking midfielder. UK-based football consultancy 21st Club got involved in the process and steered them in the direction of the unknown Cypriot player Lorenzo Ebecilio.

Scouts for the Serbian side liked the look of Ebecilio and signed him up. Since then he’s been a regular in the team and played against the likes of Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

“We’re very much about trying to open the market up for clubs and discover undervalued talent,” Omar Chaudhuri, 21st Club’s Head of Football Intelligence explains.

“Red Star approached us with a shortlist of names given to them by agents. We evaluated their shortlist and found a cheaper player who the data suggested would be better.

“Ebecilio has been a good signing for them and it’s a good example of being able to widen the net using data that you just can’t do with traditional scouting or just using agents.

“There’s not much data on players in Cyprus, but based on the information we do have we’re able to create real intelligence on players like that and try to understand the way they can translate across to a league like Serbia’s.”

The use of data has the power to change football in the way that Billy Beane’s sabermetric, ‘Moneyball’ approach to managing Oakland Athletics changed baseball, and 21st Club’s Blake Wooster confirms that Beane’s methodology was an inspiration.

“The main thing a lot of people took from Moneyball is that there is a different way to measuring baseball than people knew about,” said Wooster. “The inspiration we took was that there are teams who can overachieve relative to their resources by thinking differently and having a differentiated approach,” Wooster says.

“Much like many industries are being disrupted by technology, analytics and new ways of thinking, that’s what we’re doing in football.”

For more on this story please visit Forbes

ESPORTS GOES MOBILE

Mobile esports has truly taken off thanks to the Clash Royale World Finals, which took place at the end of November.

The event brought together the real-time strategy game’s best players for a $1million finale in Tokyo. China’s Nova Esports emerged as the victors.

Esports has achieved its huge and very quick success mainly due to console-based games such as Street Fighter, Rocket League and the FIFA series.

Mobile games haven’t had much of a look in so far, but Tim Ebner, head of esports at Supercell, who make Clash Royale, notes that people are now starting to tune in.

“The primary metric is viewership,” he told CNBC. “The number of people watching and the average watch time per viewer [are up] quite a bit from last year.”

And this success is only likely to continue thanks to mobile esports having a wider potential reach than traditional esports.

As Noah Whinston, CEO of esports side Immortals, notes: “It’s supposed to unlock populations that don’t have access to [personal computers] or high fiber internet, and that might not have an ingrained PC gaming culture.

“It’s been able to activate audiences [that are] non-traditional from an esports perspective.”

For more on this story, please visit CNBC

TURNER SUFFERS AFTER TIGER GLITCH BITES

Millions of people tuned in to watch Turner Sports’ broadcast of November’s clash between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, but a technical error may mean the company loses millions.

In the build-up to The Match, Turner lost the ability to process payment and made the decision to make it free-to-view for anyone trying to make a purchase.

Angered, many who had already paid complained and were issued full refunds, adding further cost to the reported $10 million Turner had bid to win the broadcast rights.

Despite these problems, Turner president David Levy has remained bullish.

“We are in this for the long haul,” Levy said. “We don’t have all the facts and figures, but based on early indications, total audience for the match surpassed expectations across all of our platforms.”

Coverage was sponsored by major brands including Audi, Rolex and Capital One, and Levy added that they’re all likely to return for further coverage.

“All the sponsors want to come back. They all were extremely happy with the event and the coverage.”

For more on this story, please visit Golfworld

GOOD SHOUT

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