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Volume 7 No. 149
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SpoBiS: Microsoft Pushes Into Sports But Not Interested In Traditional Sponsorships

Microsoft wants to change the way sports entities conduct their business, according to a company exec. Peter Jaeger, senior director DX and a board member of Microsoft Germany, said many clubs, leagues and federations have recognized the possibilities of digital and social media but are not using it appropriately. "Digital and social media is only at the beginning," he said. Speaking at the SpoBiS conference in Dusseldorf, Germany, Jaeger said "data is gold." He added those entities that know how to collect and use data are the ones with the advantage on and off the field. As a result, Microsoft is not interested in a traditional sponsorship deal. "We won’t buy a football club and we won’t invest millions into a sponsorship deal," Jaeger said. "We are a technological service provider. We can help generate more money for the sponsors and for the clubs. We support them in fan engagement and merchandising." Most of the Seattle-based company's sports deals are with U.S. entities such as the NFL, Seattle Sounders or NASCAR. Microsoft's biggest deal outside the U.S. is its deal with La Liga side Real Madrid. Jaeger said that the company's deal with the Spanish football club is a perfect example of its approach. Real topped Deloitte's Football Money League for the 11th year in a row with a revenue figure of €577M. But more important than the revenue figure, Jaeger said, are the areas in which Madrid saw the biggest increases, on the commercial side and matchday revenue. Both areas have been a focus of the partnership that Real Madrid and Microsoft signed in Nov. '14.
Peter Jaeger
"It's about enhancing the fan experience, in-stadium experience and the team's performance," Jaeger said. He also mentioned that Madrid sells more jerseys in Indonesia than in any other market, which provides a huge growth opportunity. Based on its experience with Real Madrid, Microsoft is looking to team up with more sports entities. "We started in the U.S.," Jaeger said. "But we are trying to get into the German market with our own team." The company is already a partner of Bundesliga side Hamburg SV and is interested in adding other clubs and federations to its portfolio, he added. Microsoft also established a global sports innovation center in Madrid, which coordinates some of the company's int'l sports involvements, including its deal with the Renault F1 team -- formerly Lotus F1. Jaeger: "We want to change the business."