Discovery, FremantleMedia invest in sports platforms

Discovery Communications has taken a minority stake in streaming platform RugbyPass, while FremantleMedia has acquired 35% of soccer data visualization company Squawka.
April 27, 2016

Two big players in the unscripted realm have made investments in the sports world.

Discovery Communications, which acquired pan-European sports net Eurosport last year, has taken a minority stake in two-month-old RugbyPass.

Launched by Coliseum Sports Media, the digital platform streams rugby matches in high definition, live or on-demand, via app-enabled devices in 23 Asian markets.

To bolster the service, Discovery is making content from its Asian sports channel Setanta Sports Asia available to RugbyPass subscribers.

Meanwhile, Got Talent and Deadliest Catch producer FremantleMedia has acquired a nearly 35% share of London-based digital company Squawka, with an option to increase in the future. The move makes it the largest single shareholder in the soccer platform.

Launched in 2012, Squawka uses proprietary technology to visualize soccer statistics and metrics for editorial and social media content. The company’s journalists, technologists and creatives produce more than 180 pieces of content daily for an audience across more than 200 territories.

The company will work with The Football Republic, a fan network run by FremantleMedia UK’s digital studio Shotglass Media, to create editorial strands using Squawka data and content.

To date, Squawka has raised ¬£5 million in funding from sports management firm Doyen Group, ad agency BBH’s ventures arm Zag Limited, Spark Ventures chairman Thomas Teichman, Forward Partners, BBH founder Sir John Hegarty and UK entrepreneurs, the company said in a statement.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.