One of the big stats and information providers out there is now even bigger. As per Will Strauss of Sports Video Group Europe, STATS LLC’s owner Vista has bought the Perform division from DAZN, which includes Opta, RunningBall and Watch&Bet. Earlier this month, the sides were reportedly “close to a deal,” and that deal has now been agreed upon. Here’s more from Strauss’ piece:
DAZN has sold its Perform division, including Opta, to a US investment firm, a deal that will see it merged with Stats, the sports technology, data and content company.
…In a statement, the two companies said that “pairing the deepest, most granular data with leading AI solutions will accelerate innovation by generating machine learning predictions to improve team performance and player evaluation, automating natural language insights to enrich storytelling for broadcasters and sports technology.”
…Stats chief executive Carl Mergele, discussing the merger, said: “Bringing Perform into the fold will create the most advanced artificial intelligence company in sports, providing deeper, more robust data and insights, which is essential to our global partners.
“Not only will we be able to improve our offerings to existing customers, we now have the opportunity to expand our presence in global markets where Perform has paved inroads for years as a leader in digital sports content.”
DAZN Group chief executive Simon Denyer said that his company will “continue as an active minority shareholder” in the new business but acknowledged that the deal would also allow the group to focus on DAZN, the live and on demand streaming service.
This gives STATS access to quite a bit of important data. Opta, for example, is the official data partner for the Premier League, the English Football League, and Spain’s La Liga. And combining Perform’s data and betting information with STATS’ focus on AI should present them with a lot of opportunities to provide research information to everyone from sports books to media outlets.
Meanwhile, for DAZN, this appears to be about providing some cash that can be used in rights bids (something they’ve been vocal about lately) , and about narrowing their focus to their video efforts. It’s unclear what this means for their content efforts like The Sporting News and Goal.com; those had been under Perform at one time, but they haven’t been specifically mentioned in the pieces on this sale, so they may still be in the DAZN Group (and there’s some possible value for DAZN in keeping them, as there’s been some past usage of those properties to promote DAZN’s content). But it’s clear that DAZN has moved on from these particular data operations (at least as a majority stakeholder), and that they’ve gained some cash for doing so. We’ll see what they do with it.