Sportvision Ignites Its Business

Merging with Ignite, a company whose roots are in interactive and marketing, has given Sportvision a new way to grow its presence among broadcasters, advertisers and interactive media.

"We built up a good sports-marketing team," says Ignite founder Hank Adams, now CEO of Sportvision, "and, when Sportvision realized they need to move the needle on the marketing side, as opposed to just selling their enhancements to broadcasters, we were the fit."

Sportvision is best-known for its 1st and Ten technology, which overlays a yellow line where the first-down mark is on a football field. Traditionally, the company has relied on the broadcaster to foot the bill. Problem is, the technology is expensive, limiting growth opportunities and pricing itself out of the reach of most broadcasters. One solution is to find a sponsor for the technology and create new marketing opportunities that tie in 30-second spots and other marketing devices. That's where Ignite's expertise comes in.

The key, says Tom Worcester, Sportvision executive vice president of sales and marketing, is to develop features that seamlessly fit into the telecast and make sense for a brand. "We need to convince the marketers that there is something in the telecast that is unique to their brand and can be extended to interactive or Web content."

One example is a deal being negotiated with NASCAR. A fast-food chain could sponsor the on-air pit clock and tie in with the restaurant's drive-through windows, timing the speed it takes to place and receive an order. Marketing can also be extended to take-out bags, tray liners or other items.

Sportvision is working with Equibase on a system that would apply its NASCAR technology to horseracing. Those at the track and watching on TV would have a better sense of speeds being run, distance from the lead and other information currently unavailable.