Matías Rivera knows the score — and his team at Fz Sports is bringing a global jersey to the expanding world of streaming sports.
Debuted in 2021, Miami-based Fz Sports, of which Rivera is CEO and co-founder, represents a coalescence of three unique sports tech entities. Previously best known for launching Fanatiz, the leading soccer streaming app that forms one of the subsidiaries, the new venture operates a single umbrella with the collective aim is to optimize the connection between fans, brands and rights holders, with both ends of the field enjoying enhanced engagement.
The company evolved from being a sports-streaming platform into expanding to become a fully vertically integrated sports company. “Our group of businesses not only brings value to sports fans, but also to rights holders, sports organizations, leagues and clubs,” Rivera says. “This separates us from other players in the space, in that we offer a full suite of solutions.”
With clients in over 100 countries and a diverse team of 90 professionals working globally, the recent formation of Fz Sports marks a lineup of innovative endeavors: Fanatiz, Nunchee and 1190 Sports.
“It’s a reflection of our landscape that there are many pain points across the sports-value chain, not only with the fans – which is where we started – but also with the rights holders. By providing this fully-integrated proposition to the sports-value chain, we’re using our technology to connect the dots and we’ve created more value than the sum of their parts. And the fan is still at the heart of everything we do.” — Matías Rivera , CEO, Fz Sports
Known as “The World’s Largest Stadium,” Fanatiz launched in 2016. The popular sports streaming platform is available on all devices worldwide, with a particular “pitch” to soccer fans. Evidencing Fz Sports’ commitment to affordable content, Fanatiz is available via a paid subscription model ($7.99/month), along with a premium version.
“Our technology helps aggregate numerous channel sports properties on a single platform, making it easy for the fans to find everything in the same place,” Rivera says.
Used by content creators from entire sporting leagues to independent contracts, Nunchee has been in business since 2011. The direct-to-consumer streaming service sports a client lineup ranging from the self-employed to individual sports clubs to entire leagues, including the British Basketball League and ATA Football.
“Nunchee makes our technology available in a white-label manner to empower and enable content creators and rights holders around the world who want to launch their own streaming services, with an emphasis on sports,” Rivera says.
1190 develops the long-term, “win-win partnerships” with rights holders and sports organizations. For example, the Brazilian Soccer League and the Argentine Soccer League use 1190 Sports as their partner for the global distribution and monetization of their rights.
The palpable trio of endeavors represents, in Rivera’s view, more than just a scorecard of creator/content/user connections; additionally, the CEO sees enhanced sports’ streaming content as a natural progression of fandom.
Tracking viewer consumption changes and habits from music to movies to media, the digital engagement of sports brings with it a unique crossover from screen to community.
“The way we’ve consumed sports, traditionally, it’s very similar to the way we’ve watched TV content. However, sports is so different in the sense of the emotions, the passion, the triggers of engagement,” he says. “And, along with everything around the live event — from the statistics to the highlights to the commentary – we can really drive that user consumption experience. Sports, compared to watching other programming, has a relationship with much more live engagement and interaction.”fz
Operating along the pandemic timeline throughout 2020 and into ’21 has found Fz Sports well-positioned for the world’s growing appetite for digital content, especially at a time when fandom is often experienced from a remote vantage.
“The pandemic has certainly accelerated many trends that were already in motion, and has furthered adopting of digital media solutions, including sports streaming,” Rivera says.
As one example, in international markets, outside of the U.S., there had been a reluctance to spend money on consuming digital services and even the payment methods for these services had been a big challenge. However, the pandemic has accelerated new payment methods as well as consumer habits of online content.
“The bottlenecks previously in place have now become opened floodgates,” Rivera says.
The floodgates aren’t limited to viewer and fan habits, as Fz Sports is continually endeavoring to keep the digital turnstiles churning and turning. Expanding its own roster, the company’s recent launch of a new partnership with FOX Sports Mexico, furthering a Latin American expansion and increasing access to rights such as the NFL, Major League Baseball and Formula 1.
A self-described “problem-solver,” Rivera’s penchant for solutions seeks to lead Fz Sports from the content of today, to the fields of tomorrow. “We believe,” he concludes, “that in the five years’ ahead, there is much more excitement and innovation to come.”
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