Mike D’Auria, Chief Commercial Officer of Genius Sports’ Second Spectrum technology, recently sat down for a podcast interview with Analytics FC to discuss the origins of the company’s cutting-edge tracking technology and the future of sports fandom.
‘Tracking data solely on its own isn’t that valuable’
Tracking data has been enhancing the sports ecosystem for over a decade. Whether through computer vision or chip-powered systems, tracking technology is incredibly sophisticated that captures rich metrics on every player and the ball in real-time.
But on its own, this provides minimal value as “tracking data is only valuable because of what products and services it can power.” For well over a decade, Second Spectrum has married advanced technology with a genuine understanding of the end consumer to make sure tracking data provides unique insights and value to fans, coaches, broadcasters and more.
The Second Spectrum technology has been developed and refined by a potent mix of former athletes and top of their field engineers, ensuring that the end product is cutting-edge but also able to “turn that data into the semantics or language of the game in real-time”.
This ethos has been pivotal to building an incredibly diverse network of tracking partners including the NBA, EPL, ESPN, CBS Sports, LA Clippers, Benfica and many more.
‘Fans are now being given the tools to understand the game more deeply’
Before becoming part of Genius Sports, the Second Spectrum technology was initially built to help teams and coaches win more games. This began by working closely with several NBA teams to hear first-hand what could be extracted from tracking data to provide genuine insight as well as what would save coaches time, help their workflow, and gain a crucial edge in performance.
As the technology has been expanded across soccer and football, this strategy of starting with coaches has remained, tapping into the expertise of those who with the most detailed knowledge of their sport. This approach not only benefits coaches, their teams and players but also fans who can be provided with “tools to help understand the game more deeply”.
That demand from fans for more complex analysis has always been there with sport able to evoke unique levels of passion and a thirst for 24/7 content. But as tracking technology has evolved, fans can now feel closer to the action than ever before through a “technical understanding of the tactics and strategies that your manager is deploying.”
‘Every fan will be able to personalise their live experience’
Second Spectrum became part of Genius Sports in 2021, bringing together two industry heavyweights in sports data technology. But more than that it combined Second Spectrum’s deep knowledge of what happens during each moment of a live match with Genius’ unique understanding of the modern fan and the experiences they demand.
“I think marrying these two technologies is ultimately what’s going to unlock the future of sports fandom…we see a world in the future where every fan can personalise their live sporting experience”.
Fans could customise everything from the statistics they are presented with to the augmentations they watch, the fantasy sports and betting integrations and the configuration of their screen. The Emmy award-winning RomoVision with CBS is just the beginning of this trend, unlocking a new form of storytelling that combines Tony Romo’s unique gifts with rich tracking data.
Together, Genius Sports and its Second Spectrum technology are making this future a reality for the entire sports ecosystem.