After athletes using its wearable technology took home 24 medals at the recent Tokyo Olympics, Melbourne-based Catapult Group International (ASX: CAT) has struck a deal to take real-time statistics to a new level for British rugby league fans.
The company, which pivoted to a Software as a Service (SaaS) when the pandemic severely disrupted its business model, has teamed up with Super League (SLE) and Sky Sports to deepen fan engagement with further insights about player performance.
Metrics that viewers will be able to see in real-time include distance covered, top speeds and game intensity - the latter measured by metres run per minute.
This is made possible by the fact players at all 12 Super League clubs in the UK and France already wear Catapult's Vector devices, which are used to provide insights to coaches and trainers.
It is a deal that represents international growth for a vertical Catapult has already tapped here in Australia, where its technology powers the Telstra Tracker used in AFL and NRL broadcasts.
Catapult's Vector wearable technology is also used by all teams in the National Football League (NFL) in the USA, and as at 20 August, the product was used by 3,254 professional sports teams worldwide.
Following the latest announcement, Catapult's CEO Will Lopes said the Super League was exciting with a track record of innovation.
"We’re excited to show fans a glimpse of the performance analytics that empower their athletes and coaches with actionable insights regarding player performance, health, and wellness with our data," Lopes said.
Super League chief commercial officer Rhodri Jones said it had been a massive effort by all parties to make this deal happen.
“It will give everyone watching a greater understanding of what it takes to play rugby league at the top level," Jones said.
"Sky Sports aims to take fans as close to the heart of the action on the pitch as possible, so we’re thrilled that we will be able to share this detailed statistical information with Super League fans tuning in to the Dacia Magic Weekend," added Sky Sports director of multi-sports, Helen Falkus.
Catapult recently reported an EBITDA of $6.5 million for FY21, which Lopes explained was down by $3.9 million due to the switch from capital sales to higher-quality SaaS deals and the impact of COVID.
"In line with the growth momentum of Catapult’s SaaS metrics, subscription revenue growth accelerated to 12.5 per cent in Q4 versus 3.3 per cent for FY21," Lopes said in an annual general meeting presentation on 20 August.
"High-quality subscription revenue comprised 79 per cent of total revenue in FY21, up from 71 per cent a year ago.
"At the end of my first full fiscal year, I am pleased we met these goals and did it during the most difficult period for world sport since World War II. The fact we delivered such strong results during such a unique year, only enhanced our leadership position and the future potential of Catapult."
At the AGM executive chairman Dr Adir Shiffman also highlighted how Catapult had leveraged its technology leadership to introduce new solutions to customers dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, including the ability to train athletes remotely, create proximity reports for contact tracing, and provide high-definition video to coaches for remote analysis.
"The athletes using Catapult data and insights to unleash their potential are dominating competition around the world," Dr Shiffman said.
"Following an unprecedented year of delayed and disrupted training, athletes using Catapult technology continued to compete at the highest level and perform at their best - including at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
"Catapult athletes earned eight gold medals, nine silver medals, and seven bronze medals overall. Most notable was the high-profile Women’s Football Final between Sweden and Canada, where Canada won gold for the first time ever."
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