SBJ/Feb. 14-20, 2011/Media

Perform compiles deep list for U.S. highlights service

United Kingdom-based digital sports outfit the Perform Group is readying a major American initiative with the release of its ePlayer online video streaming service in the U.S.

Perform has signed rights deals with MLB Advanced Media, the NHL, NBA, PGA Tour, MLS, UFC, ATP and WTA to syndicate online video highlights, creating a centralized source for U.S. sports video content. Perform will then distribute the video content through its local media clients, within initial partners including the New York Post, The Seattle Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Content will be free to users from those media outlet websites.

The company has been developing a similar video highlight syndication model in other parts of the world, particularly in England with English Premier League rights. But Perform, competing against domestic-based firms such as CineSport developing similar models, is eyeing major gains in the U.S. with its deep battery of rights. Perform’s deal with MLBAM, in particular, is an exclusive pact for third-party syndication rights.

“We still have a lot of ground to cover, but we definitely expect the U.S. to be one of our biggest markets worldwide,” said Juan Delgado, Perform’s North America managing director.

Financial terms for Perform’s rights deals with the sports properties were not disclosed, but generally involve a mix of up-front rights fee payments and revenue-sharing agreements. The leagues also in most instances retain some ad inventory to insert themselves. Perform does not have video rights to the NFL or NASCAR, but is pursuing both properties.

Ad sales will largely be handled by Silver Chalice New Media’s newly formed network, Season (SportsBusiness Journal, Feb. 7). The acquisition of the Perform inventory marks a major victory for the Chicago White Sox-owned Silver Chalice, as Perform bypassed many larger digital ad sales firms to align with Season.

“They’ve put together a great package of rights that already has been a big boost in what we’re trying to do putting together digital assets and marketers,” said Brooks Boyer, Silver Chalice chief executive and White Sox vice president and chief marketing officer.

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