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Volume 7 No. 149

People and Pop Culture

Ross MacEacharn
Photo: Perform

ROSS MACEACHARN is the CEO of Perform. His division of the company includes 1,400 full-time employees. That number is closer to 3,000 if you include freelancers, MacEacharn said. Of those 1,400, approximately 700 or 800 are in operations functions, handling the company's data collection and creating content. Perform provides "really deep Opta data" of soccer, rugby, cricket and the top American sports, which are among the 40-plus sports the company analyzes "to varying levels." MacEacharn spoke to SBD Global about Perform's future during a recent interview in N.Y.

On Perform's recent restructure ...
Ross MacEacharn: Perform Group has been rebranded DAZN Group, and we have two divisions now, rather than the four divisions that we used to have. You have DAZN and you have Perform. The reason we've done that is to enable us as a division to be entirely in control of our technical roadmap, all of our product development, all of our development resources and our development priorities.

On what to expect from Perform ...
MacEacharn: Obviously, we're going to be growing our business in North America in the betting space. It's an exciting opportunity for us. Our core content portfolio is going to be of interest to the North American betting operators, but we will also have conversations with the U.S. sports leagues about potentially becoming a data distributor for them. Those conversations are ongoing.

On Perform's goals ...
MacEacharn: We want to really grow aggressively. We've set ourselves some fairly ambitious goals as to what we want to achieve in terms of growing the business. We will need to invest in certain areas and we hope to do that. I can't really say to what degree or how that will look at the moment, because I don't want to tell everyone what our ambitions are, but we will make some significant investments in people and technology and potentially in rights to enable us to really drive and grow the business. That's the real focus moving forward.

On the company's current global footprint ...
MacEacharn: We've got sales people in every continent. ... We're already a global business. North America is probably a smaller component of the wider piece at the moment, but that will grow.

On Perform's partnership with MLS ...
MacEacharn: We're the official data partner of MLS, so we do a lot of work with MLS and we've been a partner of theirs for many years. If you watch the MLS broadcasts, that's all our data that's powering the on-screen graphics. We do a lot of innovative work with them to try and come up with new metrics to tell new stories. Something we've done with them quite recently is the expected goals metric.

On the biggest challenges his company faces ...
MacEacharn: The rights space within North America is interesting at the moment. Exactly what our role is in the data distribution world in North America is something that we're working on at the moment. It's an opportunity as much as a challenge, and the conversations are moving quickly.

Hangin' With runs every Friday in SBD Global.

Former Juventus Dir GIUSEPPE MAROTTA joined Inter Milan as CEO for sport. Inter Milan confirmed his appointment at a boad meeting on Thursday. Juventus terminated Marotta's contract as CEO and director general at the end of October (SKY SPORTS 12/13). ... British Olympic Association Head of Marketing LEAH DAVIS is joining Laureus, the group that promotes sport as a force for good, as director of marketing & communications. Davis, who will start in the role on Jan. 7, joined the BOA before the London 2012 Olympics. She will oversee the marketing and communications strategy for all elements of Laureus (PR WEEK, 12/13). ... Coca-Cola Great Britain appointed PAUL GRACE marketing director. Grace has spent 21 years with the company across European and U.K. roles, most recently as sales director at Coca-Cola Europe Partners (MARKETING WEEK, 12/13). ... Former England int'l TONY ADAMS will become the new president of the Rugby Football League next summer. Adams, who has worked with the RFL in developing rugby league's player welfare programs via his Sporting Chance charity, will succeed ANDY BURNHAM and become the 29th person to occupy the role (London GUARDIAN, 12/12).

ASHLEY GILES will be named ANDREW STRAUSS's successor as director of the England & Wales Cricket Board early next week at the end of a two-month recruitment process. The ECB interviewed nine candidates before hiring Giles (London TELEGRAPH, 12/13). ... League One side Peterborough United Dir of Football BARRY FRY was charged by the FA with misconduct in relation to betting. A statement from the FA said, "It is alleged that he placed bets on the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in, football matches or competitions during the 2017-18 season in breach of FA Rule E8.” Fry has until 6pm on Dec. 20 to respond to the charge (London GUARDIAN, 12/12). ... Former ManU Manager ALEX FERGUSON missed ManU's EPL match against Fulham "on the advice of his doctors." Ferguson, who is being "guided back to full health after suffering a brain hemorrhage in May," attended each of ManU's three previous matches in the space of nine days (London DAILY MAIL, 12/13). ... SEBASTIEN LOEB signed to drive for Hyundai in the 2019 World Rally Championship. The agreement is Loeb's first professional contract outside of the PSA Group (AUTOSPORT, 12/12). ... League Championship side Aston Villa suspended "long-serving" youth coach KEVIN MACDONALD from working with players, after a former graduate of the club, GARETH FARRELLY, came forward with claims of "relentless bullying from MacDonald" in the mid-'90s (GUARDIAN, 12/13).