On Building A Business Transforming Sports Fans Experiences
I’m Giampiero Rinaudo, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Deltatre.
The aim of Deltatre is to transform the fan experience for viewers by bringing sports and entertainment to life.
Deltatre is the global leader in providing solutions to sports federations, leagues and media companies including OTT (over-the-top) services, digital and social media applications, content production and data and broadcast services. Our client portfolio includes ATP World Tour, European Tour, MLB, Swiss Football Federation, IAAF, BBC Sport, DFL, DAZN and WWE, and many others.
Our products and services run end-to-end - from putting cameras into stadiums to track match data, to producing cutting-edge broadcast graphics, to building some of the world’s most visited web, app and video streaming properties (and everything in between!) Throughout our history we’ve adapted our service offering to meet the changing needs of how audiences like to watch content. If the content is hitting a screen, we’ve usually had a hand in it!
Some specific products of note include ‘AXIS’ which enables the creation, management and targeting of video user experiences across apps, in real-time - all without writing a line of code; ‘DIVA’, our advanced OTT player that synchronises real-time data with rich interactivity; ‘FORGE’, the world’s first sport-focussed CMS that provides all the tools to tell unforgettable stories around live content; and our advanced suite of live broadcast solutions that encompass data tracking and enhancement, broadcast graphics creation, and enhanced content production.
In 2018, Deltatre – which is owned by Bruin Sports Capital – acquired streaming specialist Massive Interactive for $127m, cementing us the leader in online video experiences and fan engagement.
What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?
I decided to study computing at university in Turin, and at the age of 22 was one of several students recruited by a small company to assist with Olivetti’s sponsorship of Alpine skiing and Formula 1. For someone with a love of sport and computers, this was the perfect way to start my career.
Recognise where we have gone wrong, learn from it and do better next time.
I founded Deltatre alongside two colleagues, and at the beginning of our (pre-internet) journey, we worked on the timings for Formula 1 events. As time progressed, we began to move into other areas, dealing with graphics and live results, website and app design, streaming and so on.
Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?
Our years of expansion were built on developing solid relationships with rights holders and sports property owners – as well as an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to embrace innovation.
Deltatre has not stood still. Over time, we have worked on some of the most-watched sporting events - in fact, we have worked on the top five! - providing a range of products and services to get content from the field to the fan in the most engaging way possible. Whether this has been providing broadcast graphics and results, capturing and distributing data, building websites and apps, or streaming live games to households around the world, we have remained at the center of the action.
We have also always been a company of ‘firsts’. For example, we were the first to include the centralized result system for the brand-new UEFA Champions League (1994) and the first to produce results, TV graphics and infotainment systems for the FIFA Football World Cup (2002). Along our way, we have fundamentally changed the way fans can view their favorite events.
Of course, in recent years we have had to embrace mobile – and how this has changed the way fans consumer sporting content. Now, fans expect to be able to watch their favorite teams on the move, no matter where they are. With the imminent emergence of 5G, this trend will only accelerate, with fans brought closer to the action than ever before. Added to this, we’re always looking at new ways of doing things. For example, AR studio graphics is a method of enhancing our storytelling capability, while staying ahead of the industry curve.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
The acquisition of Massive Interactive back in 2018 opened up new possibilities for the business. Deltatre has always been exceptionally well-regarded and trusted in the sporting space, but now we are able to apply our expertise to the entertainment industry as well.
The business is growing year-on-year, and we’re continuing to attract major clients from around the world. For example, we currently serve 50% of the major US sports federations after having only opened our LA office in 2017. We’re proud to also:
- Have reached over 750 million customers through owned and operated digital solutions.
- Have helped its customers increase minutes streamed by over 50% through strategic investment into the user experience.
- Have powered 3.2 billion minutes of streamed video content.
- Work with over 120 of the world’s largest sports and media operators.
We have eighteen offices across the globe including Sydney, London, Tokyo, and Turin, while our workforce has grown to around 1,000.
One major focus of ours is how to help clients implement a service that is attuned to the viewer’s behavior and preferences. There is so much talk of ‘big data’ and how to apply it, but in practical terms this means clever and sophisticated targeting and messaging, which means the viewer enjoys and engages with the service in a way they didn’t previously, thus aiding retention and monetization.
Over the next few years, there will be new entrants to the OTT space, and viewers will limit how many services they subscribe to. We’re able to help clients stand out and create a clear identity while addressing a key question: how can operators both in sports and entertainment leverage technology to provide the highest quality services to their audience?
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
While Deltatre has been successful over three decades, our business is almost unrecognizable from the day we first opened our doors. That’s because we understood that we could not stay the same and expect to succeed in a crowded and challenging industry and one that was evolving year-on-year with technological advances. The team at Deltatre has worked tirelessly to adapt our value proposition over the years to meet the changing needs of our clients.
We have also invested in our very own ‘Innovation Lab’ which is dedicated to working on non-client specific projects but instead instructed to explore new technologies that may help our clients and their fans in the future.
However, while the technical aspects of the business have changed, our dedication to our clients has not. Building trusting relationships and truly understanding your clients remains as vital as ever.
Surrounding yourself with talented people is key. I regard one of my greatest strengths to be delegation. Trusting your colleagues to do a specific task better than you can do it yourself is important.
Finally, I would highlight the importance of good negotiations. For all the talk of the necessity of being a ‘tough negotiator’, I have found that there’s much of a need to be respected, and to really understand the needs of the other side.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Hundreds! Depending on who you speak to, you’ll find a myriad of different tools and platforms that help us get the job done. For instance, our marketing team has just introduced ClickUp to manage their content production and distribution.
Intercom is built into a number of our products to facilitate customer service requests. We just use Jira for project management, and Netsuite as our CRM.
The list may not be endless, but it’s pretty long!
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I don’t generally tend to gravitate towards business or management specific books, but if I were to highlight one book I have read recently and reflected upon, I would go for Sapiens - a brief history of human-kind by Yuval Noah Harari.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Deltatre has always been the perfect intersection of two of my greatest interests; sports and technology. Perhaps that is why I’m still working here today after so many years, so many challenges, and so many changes. It may sound cliche, but I do think it is of fundamental importance for your business to be related to your personal passions.
Certainly, we have made mistakes along the way, but I think one of our strengths has been to recognize where we have gone wrong, learn from it and do better next time.
Where can we go to learn more?
Deltatre’s new website is here.
We have an active social media presence: Twitter - Instagram.
Our about Deltatre video is here, we hope it tells you a little about where we have come from, and what’s next for us.
And here is our blog, with insight from leading industry executives.
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