AriSports has been named the winner of Innovate 21, BT Sport’s search for the next big idea in sports broadcasting.
The company has developed a digital prediction platform, which allows football fans to predict on-pitch events, earning points in the process and competing against friends.
As the winner of Innovate 21, AriSports will now have the opportunity to work with BT Sport to develop its technology for future use.
The platform is the brainchild of AriSports co-founders Rassim and Djewed Hariz. They decided to enter Innovate 21 as they’re both customers and fans of BT Sport. “I knew a lot about the Matchday Experience app and the amazing innovation around the Manager Mode and the new Hype Mode, etc.,” Rassim Hariz tells TVBEurope. “We know BT Sport as being one of the premium broadcasters globally when it comes to innovations and bringing to life some unprecedented world first technologies. I think their track record is really amazing. We felt there was a fit between our vision for for the game, but also their capabilities in co-developing the technology with ourselves. That was a no brainer for us to just establish the application.
“We never thought that we might be shortlisted out of the 70 applications nationwide,” adds Hariz. “Just to be in the shortlisted four companies was already a great achievement, but then being appointed as the ultimate winners was a dream come true.”
Their idea is to turn live content into a what they describe as a proper video game. “It’s basically Fantasy Football at warp speed. It’s all done during the game,” adds Hariz.
“We started developing the solution initially as a second screen experience. So basically, everything is happening on the TV, and then you’ve got your mobile as your controller. But now with BT Sport, because mobile gaming is absolutely booming in the UK, our plan is to get it integrated into the mobile.
“Everything is embedded as an overlay on the live content. There is absolutely no latency apart from the current latency you might have with your 5G, Wi Fi or Ethernet cable etc. It’s fully synchronised, if you make a decision at 37 minutes, 26 seconds, pretty much the same thing will be happening on the pitch.”
The team at AriSports will now work with BT Sport to develop the technology – possibly as an extension of the broadcaster’s Matchday Experience offering. “The Matchday Experience app fits perfectly with our vision for the implementation of the gaming. We are very, very confident that BT Sport has the capabilities and the mindset to bring in products never seen before, like the Watch Together experience, and this is just enhancing that track record,” says Hariz. “We’ve met with their teams, they’re all excited about it, as we are. We think that this will really a game changer. Working with BT Sport we’re also very confident that we can attract one of the best investors in this space to help us grow the business. It’s very very much appreciated that BT Sport is giving us this once in a lifetime opportunity.”
For Jamie Hindhaugh, BT Sport’s chief operating officer, the way that the AirSport team presented their idea to the judges was important. “The team at AriSports did something really, really brave. Every finalist had a half hour pitch but, 15 minutes in they got out three mobile devices and did a live demo of the concept they’d built. It really came across that they understood what we’ve been doing with Matchday Experience and how they could help enhance that to the next level. They’re very, very clearly sports fans and very clearly BT Sport fans as well, which is always nice.
“It’s about that experiential offering really complementing things like Manager Mode and where we want to go around people having experiences and engaging with BT Sport. We were all really impressed with what they’d come up with,” he adds.