Sports Analytics Platform
PlaySight is connecting the next generation of athletes through immersive video and technology.
Essentially, it’s created an analytics platform that can be used by professional and amateur sports teams. Powered by Artificial Intelligence, this platform turns courts and fields into “smart” playing surfaces. Athletes can then view detailed analysis of every shot, swing, or throw, while production-quality video enables teams to broadcast games and matches to viewers.
PlaySight is backed by top tier professional investors. These include SoftBank Ventures Asia and Verizon Ventures. Other notable investors include tennis pro Novak Djokovic and golfer Greg Norman.
The company’s current customers include nine NBA franchises, multiple professional soccer clubs, 82 NCAA teams, and the United States Tennis Association.
According to PlaySight’s projections, an estimated 1 million playing surfaces will be converted into smart courts over the next three years, and each surface represents $10,000 in potential annual revenue. All told, this is a $10 billion opportunity.
(Please note: This particular startup is raising funds from accredited investors only. An accredited investor is someone with a net worth of at least $1 million, or annual income of at least $200,000, or $300,000 with their spouse.)
Analytics have become a critical tool for improving the performance of teams and individual athletes.
According to Research and Markets, the sports analytics market is projected to surpass $15 billion by 2023, up from just $764 million in 2016.
Despite this rapid growth, not all teams can afford dedicated analytics departments or professional analytics platforms. Hawk-Eye, for example, is an analytics solution for tennis players that’s featured at most major professional tournaments. This platform can cost $80,000 for just three weeks of service.
For smaller programs like Division I and Division II colleges, as well as high schools, youth teams, and individual amateur athletes, a solution is needed that provides a professional-level platform at a lower price point.
PlaySight has created a solution for these athletes. At just $5,000 annually, PlaySight’s platform is an affordable way to provide players with real-time analytics to improve performance.
As mentioned, PlaySight’s solution turns tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball fields, and other playing surfaces into “smart” courts.
To do this, the company installs stationary cameras around a playing surface — a tennis court, for example.
Then, it records players’ every movement throughout the match, and provides instant feedback and analysis regarding their performance.
Specifically, PlaySight’s platform offers four benefits to its customers:
• Athlete Development Tools: Players and coaches can assess critical statistics like shot speed and shooting percentage. They can also watch multi-angle replays of themselves at on-court kiosks.
• Video Recordings: Production-quality video of each event is recorded so fans at home can watch in the same format as a professional broadcast.
• Video Assistant Replay: This provides officials with real-time reviews of close calls.
• Content Distribution: This allows players and teams to share and monetize games played on PlaySight courts.
PlaySight customers can choose between leasing the camera system for an annual fee, or purchasing the system up front. Additional revenue comes from revenue-share opportunities on fees issued to end users (for example, a team’s game is broadcast to customers for a fee).
Given the size of this opportunity, it's not surprising that other analytics companies have already received significant funding from professional investors. For example:
Hudl, a platform providing video analysis and coaching tools for sports teams, has raised more than $100 million from investors including Accel, a VC firm that’s invested in Facebook, Flipkart, and Spotify.
Pixellot, another company offering analysis for amateur and semi-professional athletes, has raised $38 million from Shamrock Capital Advisors, Firstime Venture Capital, and Baidu.
And Keemotion, which offers coaching tools for basketball teams, has raised $5.5 million from Elysian Park Ventures and former NBA commissioner David Stern.
The main difference between PlaySight and these companies is that PlaySight is geared more toward the individual athlete, whereas the others are focused more on teams as a whole.
PlaySight expects to book $10 million in total contract value in 2019, and $20 million in 2020. The company projects to be at break even by late 2020 or early 2021.
Down the road, PlaySight believes an acquisition could come from:
• Telecommunications companies interested in broadcasting amateur sports.
• Betting companies looking for automatic data collection.
• Media companies looking to stream amateur sports.
• Or sporting goods companies that want to use analytics to better market products to customers.
Chen has more than 15 years of experience in developing and managing state-of-the-art training applications.
Before starting PlaySight, he was Chief Technical Officer at Rontal Applications, a startup in the homeland security market.
Prior to that, he was Head of Training and Simulation at Ness, an engineering company focused on “smart” machines and “smart” mobility. He also served as R&D Manager at Simtech Advanced Training and Simulation.
Chen earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Systems Engineering from the Israel Institute of Technology, and is a retired Major from the Israeli Armed Forces.
Evgeni is an expert in high-end real-time 3D visualization.
He previously worked with Chen at Rontal Applications, serving as Head of Research for the company’s Advanced Technology group.
He also worked with Chen at Ness, serving as Lead Visual Programmer, and worked at Simtech Advanced Training and Simulation.
Evgeni earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer and Statistical Science from Bar Ilan University and an MBA from the Open University of Israel.
Asaf has a journalism background, with 15 years of experience editing and leading media firms.
He was the Chief Editor of Mako.co.il, the third-most popular website in Israel. He developed and marketed the social media website.
Throughout his career, he has led academic courses at Tel Aviv University, teaching classes on video and internet research.
Asaf earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Management Studies from Tel Aviv’s Management College.
Yuval brings a background in project management and sales to PlaySight.
He was Head of Product Management for Siemens’ Solar Thermal Energy business unit, and worked with Chen and Evgeni at Rontal Applications.
In addition, Yuval was a Marketing and Sales manager for Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Herzelia Interdisciplinary Center and is a retired fighter pilot from the Israeli Air Force.
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