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Microsoft and LaLiga Team-Up for Global Digital Sports Experiences

CIO Insider Team | Thursday, 20 May, 2021

LaLiga, Spain's top football league, and Microsoft Corp. have announced an extension of their collaboration aimed at digitally enhancing sports experiences around the world.

Through LaLiga Tech, the companies will also work on creating technology solutions for the media and entertainment industry.

LaLiga will use Microsoft Azure, including AI and machine learning, to reinvent immersive audiovisual experiences and formats for its LaLigaSportsTV OTT platform and Mediacoach (match stats and visualization) platform as part of the partnership.

Microsoft will help build new and optimize existing technologies that will accelerate progress around the sports industry as LaLiga's global Tech and Innovation Partner, including:

•For sports fans: Azure Event Hubs, Azure Data Lake, Azure Databricks, and Azure Machine Learning will provide data-enhanced match coverage as well as customized OTT viewing options including camera angle selection during matches. New experiences such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3-D replays will be available in LaLiga.

•For rights holders, broadcasters and commercial partners: Azure Machine Learning, which is powered by Azure, Dynamics 365, Power BI, SQL Database, and Azure Cosmos DB, will allow an enhanced OTT streaming platform with personalized recommendations and enhanced experiences with related content, games, and services.

•For venue managers: Through security advancements and the use of 5G, Power BI and Azure will streamline stadium operations and have unified in-stadium experiences.

The partnership is crucial for the growth and advancement of LaLiga Software, which will bundle LaLiga's entire suite of existing technologies into a commercial offering for the sports industry. It will do so from match-day stats and analytics to the next generation of OTT streaming platforms, as well as the most innovative content security services and venue access management systems.

This will allow LaLiga to enter a new era in sports and beyond, enhancing the fan experience by developing new data-driven technology solutions, powered by Microsoft Azure, Power BI, Dynamics 365, and Microsoft 365, and providing customized technology platform, services, and solutions to third parties. It will also help in providing customized technology platforms, services and solutions to third parties.

“We trust Microsoft as a technology and innovation partner, and we value how they work closely with us to develop creative solutions that address market problems unique to our industry. We are entering a new era in which technology will be at the heart of the fan experience, and data analytics will drive the next phase of global expansion”, said Javier Tebas, President, LaLiga.

LaLiga has a long history of investing in and concentrating on the advancement of groundbreaking technologies aimed at improving the fan experience, including a robust app ecosystem built on top of Microsoft Azure services. LaLiga's official applications have been downloaded over 113 million times around the world. Over 1.5 million people have signed up for LaLigaSportsTV, which offers a free OTT video streaming site for a variety of sports other than football.

“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with LaLiga 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,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and President Global Sales, Marketing & Operations, Microsoft Corp.

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

The solutions make use of big data and AI to deliver customized content based on fan tastes, as well as games and videos that engage casual and die-hard fans on match day and beyond.

LaLiga also uses Microsoft Power BI dashboards to visualize data for TV audience, fan360, social media, brand favorability and engagement, web and app performance per country, allowing the league and its clubs to create more engaging and personalized experiences.

LaLiga and Microsoft will concentrate on co-innovation and cloud acceleration using Microsoft Azure and its AI technologies as part of their expanded collaboration announced today. By leveraging the best technologies emerging across the sports industry, entertainment companies, and other commercial companies around the world, the partnership will continue to provide LaLiga with new growth and business opportunities through LaLiga Tech assets.

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

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