Comcast Buys Philly Tech Company to Capitalize on Sports Stat Craze
In today’s era of Netflix, on-demand programming, and recorded TV shows, nobody is really watching live television — unless it’s sports. In fact, 93 percent of the top 100 live TV programs were sports content, according to a 2015 Nielsen report. In 2005, sports only made up 14 percent of live viewership.
Nobody knows this better than Comcast, a company that’s investing big dollars to make sports viewing a better experience for the viewer. Today Comcast announced that it has purchased Philly tech company OneTwoSee — the business that provides the statistics behind its X1 Sports App. Financial terms of the deal were not released.
OneTwoSee launched six years ago and inked Comcast as its first client. At that time OneTwoSee provided detailed sports statistics for Comcast’s regional SportsNet websites. Rather than just seeing the same old Phillies box score, fans could now see charts depicting pitcher-batter match-ups and other detailed stats not typically presented as cleanly on other websites.
Fast forward to the present day and OneTwoSee is powering the X1 Sports App, which provides a plethora of visual sports information along the right side of the screen to help fans follow along with each game. Let’s take baseball for example. The app not only features the pitching match-ups and box scores casual fans are used to, but also strike-out percentages, hit zones and spray charts for the stat geeks.
It kind of feels like ESPN’s GameCast but on your TV — which is a big deal because so many people are watching TV while simultaneously having a “second-screen experience” using a phone or laptop. Integrating the experiences in one place gives Comcast a big advantage and could sway viewers from dropping their cable TV packages — something that’s becoming increasingly concerning for the company.
“I believe that five years from now Comcast will be cited as one of the leaders in the sports technology space,” said Preston Smalley, vice president of product, sports & X1 Apps for Comcast.
Bringing his technology to the primary screen is something OneTwoSee co-founder Chris Reynolds had been hoping for all along.
“The brass ring for us was always to bring the second or multi-screen experiences to the primary screen,” said Reynolds. “There’s no way to better understand this content and interact with it than if it’s available while you’re watching the game.”
OneTwoSee had been performing well on its own. It counts Fox Sports and Canada’s Rogers Cable as clients, and expanded the X1 Sports App to include baseball, football, hockey, basketball and even NASCAR. The company raised $1.2 million in a debt round in Oct 2015 and a $1.3 million equity round 18 months earlier. Comcast has bought out those investors and is now the sole owner.
Reynolds said that his company has gotten “a lot of in-bound interest from buyers” recently but sold to Comcast because the tech giant can help the business scale and develop new technologies. One idea they’re mulling over is using the X1 Sports App to provide detailed data about fantasy sports teams.
“We’re truly in the second or third mile of a marathon here and you’re just starting to see these sports experiences starting to bubble up across the industry and become productized,” said Reynolds. “That’s not going to stop. There’s a game on every night and fans are watching those games every night. They’re going to look for other ways to be engaged. We’re just scratching the surface now.”
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