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La Liga expands Microsoft partnership to develop new technology experiences

Personalised OTT streaming options and AR experiences among solutions in the works.

19 May 2021 Ed Dixon
  • Microsoft to also leverage 5G for in-stadium experiences and provide data-enhanced match coverage
  • Full range of existing technologies to be packaged into LaLiga Tech B2B service for new commercial offering

Spanish soccer’s La Liga has vowed to digitally transform the sports experience as part of an expanded partnership with technology giant Microsoft.

Under the deal, Microsoft, which initially partnered with La Liga in 2016, will work with the league to develop new and leverage existing solutions that drive innovation across the sports industry.

Areas of collaboration will include providing data-enhanced match coverage and personalised over-the-top (OTT) streaming options such as camera angle selection in matches. La Liga will also offer new experiences such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and 3D replays.

For rights holders, broadcasters and commercial partners, Microsoft's technology will enable an enhanced OTT streaming platform that can feature personalised recommendations and enhanced experiences with relevant content, games and services.

La Liga and Microsoft will also work together to streamline stadium operations through innovations in security as well as leveraging 5G for unified in-stadium experiences.

Furthermore, La Liga will utilise cloud computing service Microsoft Azure’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning software for its LaLigaSportsTV and Mediacoach platforms to ‘reinvent interactive audiovisual experiences and formats’.

La Liga said the collaboration with Microsoft will be key to the growth and development of LaLiga Tech, its B2B offering, through which it will package its full range of existing technologies into a commercial offering for the sports industry.

The offering will range from matchday stats and analytics to the next generation of OTT streaming services, as well as advanced content protection services and venue access management systems.

La Liga added that the project will both enhance the fan experience by creating new data-driven technology solutions powered by Microsoft, while also allowing it to provide a customised technology platform, services and solutions to third parties.

“We value Microsoft as our technology and innovation partner and appreciate how they collaborate deeply to build innovative solutions aimed at solving business challenges specific to our industry,” said Javier Tebas, president of La Liga. “We are moving into a new era in which technology will become the centre of the fan experience and data insights will power the next stage of global growth.”

Jean-Philippe Courtois, executive vice president and president of global sales, operations and marketing for Microsoft, added: “We are thrilled to expand our partnership with La Liga as it makes further bold moves to deepen engagement with its hundreds of millions of fans, while bringing new business models to market with Microsoft cloud and AI capabilities.

“Microsoft is proud to help accelerate La Liga’s digital innovation and empower exciting new business opportunities in the sports and entertainment industries through La Liga’s technology portfolio.”

Elsewhere in Spanish soccer, Real Madrid have extended their partnership with software solutions company Greenfly.

The pair already teamed up in 2020 for the launch of Real’s women’s team, Real Madrid Femenino, and have now deepened their relationship. Greenfly will use its platform across the club to power digital media sharing with athletes and transform player fan engagement.

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