[Startup Interview] Rich Cheary, CEO, PT SportSuite, South Africa
PT SportSuite is a South African company whose mission is to digitally disrupt the sporting industry’s media landscape by allowing sporting organisations to operate like commercially-minded modern media houses, while building sustainable digital communities around their brand. The CEO Rich Cheary elaborates.
Tell us about PT SportSuite and your role in it.
PT SportSuite is a start-up “spin-off” from parent company Publisher’s Toolbox. As Publisher’s Toolbox CEO, the opportunity to enter the sports fray and apply the experiences we’d picked up from working with traditional media groups for 10 years, was one we couldn’t pass up.
In January 2019, we collectively decided to invest in tailoring our digital suite of products towards sports modules, such as ticketing, match statistics, brand and fan engagement within professional sports organisations.
PT SportSuite comprises a number of digital transformation modules that cater for internal media IP and related operations as much as the external-facing brand, fan and partner digital properties.
Our unique value proposition is in mobile brand and fan engagement utilities, which follow current trends in augmented reality and user generated content – combining both modules in a unique influencer marketing “Fan Zone” module.
Why was the company formed and to what extent is it achieving its purpose?
These days sport is not just about what happens on the field – sport communities exist in the digital world too. We wanted to answer the question: how do sports organisations bring their digital communities together in a way that benefits the club, player and fan?
We’ve always wanted to play a digital role in the sports industry, but wanted to wait until we could provide a compelling, disruptive and unique value proposition. Our mission is to digitally disrupt the sporting industry’s media landscape by allowing sporting organisations to operate like commercially-minded modern media houses, while building sustainable digital communities around their brand.
Who are your clients and how has the market responded to your services?
We’ve been fortunate enough to establish a digital partnership with Bristol Sport in the UK, an organisation with football, rugby and basketball brands under their umbrella. We have spent nine months analysing and amending our media platforms to meet the needs of their organisation, providing us with an excellent case study to take to market.
I believe sports organisations are beginning to understand they cannot conduct campaigns without a media foundation and asset accessibility, along with communication strategy, integrated tracking and level of personalisation for users.
By leveraging our internal AR capabilities, advanced AI image and video analysis, along with fan generated content, we aim to provide a more personalised and tailored brand loyalty service that is measurable and repeatable, allowing sports brands to be confident and satisfied with their investments.
What gives your company the competitive edge?
Powered by the most advanced digital ecosystem on the market, PT SportSuite has a go-to-market advantage in that it is built upon an established, world-class suite of digital products, meaning we’ve been able to make an immediate impact in the sports vertical.
The sequence of our digital transformation rollout can be customised and undertaken
in relation to the organisation’s prioritisation and immediate needs. Each phase follows a standard and proven model of delivery, yet has the ability to be customised in accordance with their existing digital landscape.
What kind of collaboration do you expect and need for PT SportSuite to succeed?
Our aim is to partner with sports organisations, be they clubs, leagues or federations, to grow the business and digital service offering over the next few years. We want to collaborate as a collective to radically disrupt the sporting digital landscape of the future.
What is the latest news from PT SportSuite?
We’re delighted to be partnering with Hout Bay United FC, a community-based football club in Cape Town whose mission it is to nurture and empower the local youth across Hout Bay through football. As their official digital partner, we will be sponsoring not only their kit but also a digital platform that has the potential to become a source of sustainable revenue generation for the club.
In December, we finished onboarding another of Bristol Sport’s brands – Bristol Flyers basketball – onto the PT SportSuite platform, to achieve similar success in the brand fan engagement arena. In the next few months our digital journey with Bristol Sport extends its reach into the communities alongside Bristol SportFoundation.
We can also reveal that we’re currently engaging with a number of globally recognised professional sports organisations to become PT SportSuite digital partners and can’t wait to officially announce these exciting developments. Watch this space.
Who should contact you and why?
PT SportSuite’s unique scalability means we are well placed to assist any sports organisation – from university sports departments to professional and national sports organisations – that wants to compete on a level media playing field by increasing fan engagement, media IP production and efficient, reliable cloud media asset management, while delivering a unique digital experience to their communities across mobile, web, social, augmented reality and video streaming.
We are confident and flexible enough to define a tailored partnership agreement with universities, community and professional clubs, national federations and leagues, as well as tournament organisers.
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