Neonode Reports First Quarter Ended March 31, 2019 Financial Results

STOCKHOLM, May 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Link to Neonode-Q1-2019 Earnings Press Release. Neonode Inc. (NASDAQ: NEON), the optical …

STOCKHOLM, May 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Link to Neonode-Q1-2019 Earnings Press Release

Neonode Inc. (NASDAQ: NEON), the optical interactive sensing technology company, today reported financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2019.

We are executing on our business plan, and see a growing number of customer design activities for both licensing and module projects.I am happy with the progress we are making and I am confident that we are on the right track to achieve revenue growth and profitability,” said Håkan Persson, CEO of Neonode Inc.

FINANCIAL SUMMARY FIRST QUARTER 2019

  • Net sales totaled $2.0 million compared to $2.4 million for the same period last year.
  • Net loss totaled $0.6 million compared to a net loss of $0.7 million for the same period last year.
  • Loss per share totaled $0.07 compared to a loss per share of $0.12 for the same period last year.
  • Net cash used in operating activities totaled $0.5 million compared to $0.6 million for the same period last year.

BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS DURING THE QUARTER

  • Release of zForce CORE 1.5 with strong customer interest.
  • Signed agreement with Convergence to sell zForce sensor modules in North America.

BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS SINCE THE END OF THE QUARTER

  • Signed collaboration agreement with FineTek who will serve as a system integrator and future electronic manufacturing partner for Neonode zForce technology.
  • Assigned a portfolio of patents to Aequitas Technologies LLC as part of an agreement to share potential proceeds generated from a licensing and monetization program.
  • Received purchase order for sensor modules of approximately $0.6 million from industry leading medical device OEM who will use our sensor module in a retrofit touch display system for an X-Ray machine. Delivery expected to begin in June 2019.

THE CEO’S COMMENTS

We have reshaped our business, working methodology and processes to become more market and customer focused. Our business plan now targets specific markets and use cases providing a solid customer base and pathway to future growth and profitability. There are no shortcuts or easy fixes in the development of our embedded sensor business, but I am satisfied with the progress we are making.

Our strategy going forward is centered around the following initiatives:

  • Capitalize and build on our successful Touch Interaction business by increasing our market position and sales reach. We provide solutions for both high and low volume product implementations through an expanded use case offering. We have an established track record with our touch on display solutions and will use our strong presence to grow our market share.
  • Capture growth opportunities for our Mid-Air Interaction and Object Sensing solutions in automotive entry systems. The automotive market is one of the new technology frontiers and represents a significant market opportunity for us to leverage our existing relationships with Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs to gain additional market share.

Our targeted use cases for basic touch, high-image quality display touch, ruggedized display touch and entry systems for automotive systems allow us to capitalize on our competitive advantages in high value markets.

We have a growing number of design activities for both sensor modules and licensing applications with existing and new customers. The latest release of our touch on display license technology has been very well received and is generating opportunities for printers, e-readers and automotive in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems. We expect that two of our most important printer customers will increase and expand printer shipments with our technology. We are also in final license negotiations with a new Chinese printer customer for a solution targeting the Chinese market. We are performing an in-depth analysis of the automotive IVI market and are engaging with all relevant OEM and Tier 1 supplier partners for discussions and pre-design activities.

In our module business, we are beginning to receive initial orders for production volumes from our medical device, taximeter and aircraft instrumentation customers. We anticipate that order volumes will expand over time. Our tailgate solution for automotive entry systems has been well received and we expect to be entering into first evaluation projects soon. We are completing relevant testing to meet automotive ISO9001, ISO 16750 and GMW 3175 certification requirements.

Increasing our reach and effectiveness of marketing and sales is a continuous activity. In order to improve our sales presence in the U.S. market we have signed a marketing and sales agreement with Convergence Promotions LLC to coordinate our expanding network of sales representatives in the U.S. We have increased our marketing and trade show activities to support this new sales relationship and to increase awareness of our selected use case offerings. After the quarter ended we entered into a system integrator and manufacturing partner cooperation agreement with Finetek Co. Ltd of Korea supporting both our licensing and module business in Asia and globally. We plan to further grow our presence in Asia by replicating our model with Convergence and are evaluating and negotiating with qualified sales and marketing partners in the region.

In summary, we are executing on our plan and see positive customer response with numerous discussions ongoing and actual shipments happening. This makes me confident that we are on the right track to achieve revenue growth and profitability.

FINANCIAL OVERVIEW FOR THE QUARTER

Revenues for the first quarter of 2019 decreased by 15% year over year, mainly due to a $0.3 million decrease in license fees from one printer customer, as a result of their decision to move to an alternative technology platform. Operating expenses continued on a run rate below plan, down by 20%, and net loss decreased by 24% compared to the first quarter 2018. Cash used by operations decreased by 18% year over year, and cash and accounts receivables totaling $7.6 million allows us to continue to execute according to our plan. Our first quarter Form 10Q is available for download from the Investors section of our website at neonode.com.

Financial Overview

2019

2018

2017

2018

2017

Amounts in USD thousand unless otherwise stated

Q1

Q1

Q1

Full year

Full year

Net sales

$ 2,012

$ 2,375

$ 2,332

$ 8,538

$ 10,241

Net sales growth %

(15.3)%

1.8%

(25.5)%

(16.6)%

0.3%

Gross margin %

95.0%

98.1%

95.5%

89.2%

77.1%

Operating profit/loss

$ (668)

$ (879)

$ (878)

$(3,877)

$(5,476)

Operating margin %

(33.2)%

(37.0)%

(37.7)%

(45.4)%

(53.5)%

Net cash used in operating activities

$ (454)

$ (561)

$ (104)

$(2,859)

$(5,581)

Cash and cash equivalents

$ 5,822

$ 4,907

$ 5,796

$ 6,555

$ 5,796

Total Assets

$12,947

$12,963

$13,127

$13,242

$13,127

Equity ratio

469.0%

65.3%

59.9%

74.0%

59.9%

Revenue Distribution by Business Model

2019

2018

2017

2018

2017

Revenue Distribution By Business Model .

Q1

Q1

Q1

Full year

Full year

License fees

$ 1,942

$ 2,323

$ 2,121

$ 7,954

$ 8,684

Sensor modules

50

52

210

227

814

Non-recurring engineering

20

0

1

357

743

License Fee Revenue Distribution per Market

2019

2018

2017

2018

2017

License Fee Revenue Distribution Per Market

Q1

Q1

Q1

Full year

Full year

Printers

$1,283

$ 1,570

$1,124

$5,490

$5,330

E-Readers and Tablets

163

234

400

837

1 206

Automotive

496

519

597

1,627

2,148

PATENTS

On May 6, 2019, Neonode assigned a portfolio of patents to Aequitas Technologies LLC. The portfolio contains two patent families comprising nine US patents, five non-U.S. patents and three pending U.S. patent applications. The assignment provides Neonode the right to share potential proceeds generated from a licensing and monetization program.

ORGANIZATION AND STAFF

Neonode Inc., a Delaware Incorporated Company, with its executive head office in Stockholm, Sweden are organized in four wholly owned subsidiaries located in Sweden, Japan, Korea and Taiwan and with a majority owned subsidiary in Kungsbacka, Sweden. At the end of the first quarter, our company had a workforce of 55 people, including ten consultants compared to a workforce of 53 people at the same date last year. Our workforce primarily is located in Sweden.

FUTURE REPORTING DATES

Q2 Interim Report 2019 August 14, 2019

Q3 Interim Report 2019 November 6, 2019

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

CONTACT:

Investor Relations

David Brunton

Email: david.brunton@neonode.com

CFO

Lars Lindqvist

E-mail: lars.lindqvist@neonode.com

This information was brought to you by Cision http://news.cision.com

https://news.cision.com/neonode/r/neonode-reports-first-quarter-ended-march-31–2019-financial-results,c2806640

The following files are available for download:

SOURCE Neonode

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Sentons names Jess Lee as CEO to develop new kind of touch sensor

In addition to Lee, Forest Baskett, a general partner at global venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA), will join Sentons’ board. Baskett …

Sentons, a startup that is trying to create a new way to deliver touch and force sensing, has hired Silicon Valley veteran Jess Lee as its president and CEO.

Lee was formerly the CEO of InVisage, a camera technology company that was acquired by Apple in the summer of 2017. With 25 years of industry experience, Lee has also served as an executive at OmniVision and Silicon Graphics.

“I couldn’t stay away from the startup world,” Lee said in an interview with VentureBeat. “I spent about 18 months at Apple, working on undisclosed projects. It was a long ride. [At InVisage], we weren’t a typical chip or software company. We engaged in materials science and built a fundamental technology.”

In addition to Lee, Forest Baskett, a general partner at global venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA), will join Sentons’ board. Baskett brings over 35 years of leadership and experience in the computing and semiconductor markets.

“We’re excited to welcome both Jess and Forest to the team,” said Sam Sheng, cofounder and chief technology officer of Sentons, in a statement. “Jess brings invaluable direct knowledge and operational experience in the advanced sensing and semiconductor industries.”

Sheng added, “This, along with Forest’s incredible depth from his successful investment portfolio and background in the computing world he helped establish, puts us in a strong position to capture the market. Having both Forest (former CTO of SGI) and Greg Papadopoulos (venture partner at NEA and former CTO of Sun) represented on the board is huge for us. We are thrilled to have them all on the team.”

Above: Sentons

Image Credit: Sentons

“Sentons’ expansive user interface technology is truly a remarkable achievement — a huge technological leap forward that I am sure will have a lasting impact on how users interact with intelligent devices for decades to come,” Baskett said in a statement.

As CEO of InVisage Technologies, Lee built a company that created a new category of high-performance cameras using quantum dot film technology. This resulted in high-quality cameras and image sensors, and Lee raised more than $100 million for the company.

After Apple bought InVisage, Lee spent time working on various projects until he left Apple earlier this year. He said he chose Sentons because it has a cool new sensor, which sends an ultrasonic impulse through a medium and senses back what it sees in that medium. On a laptop, the sensor could detect finger placement and force, down to sub-5 grams of force, Lee said.

“For us, the human-machine interface has been evolving,” Lee said. “We have something that can sense very light and very strong forces. We look at phones as interesting devices. But only half of it, the touchscreen, is interactive. But to us, the edges and bezels are opportunities to interact with a phone.”

Lee said the company is shipping its sensors to two different phone makers, including one that has “software definable” buttons for a game device. Sentons is also working with a company that is developing a new camera technology.

Founded in 2011, Sentons uses a combination of ultrasound and direct force sensors to enable new ways for users to interact with their personal devices. The result is better and intuitive user experiences that extend interactivity to all physical surfaces of a device, beyond the touchscreen.

New Enterprise Associates and Northern Light Venture Capital have invested in Sentons, which is based in San Jose, California.

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Head-To-Head Comparison: 2U (TWOU) & TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE (TTWO)

2U (NASDAQ:TWOU) and TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE (NASDAQ:TTWO) are both computer and technology companies, but which is the …

2U (NASDAQ:TWOU) and TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE (NASDAQ:TTWO) are both computer and technology companies, but which is the better stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, earnings, dividends, profitability, analyst recommendations, valuation and risk.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares 2U and TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
2U $411.77 million 8.87 -$38.33 million ($0.63) -99.16
TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE $1.79 billion 6.41 $173.53 million $1.75 58.07
TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE has higher revenue and earnings than 2U. 2U is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

96.0% of TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE shares are owned by institutional investors. 5.0% of 2U shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.1% of TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current recommendations for 2U and TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
2U 0 4 7 0 2.64
TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE 1 1 18 0 2.85

2U presently has a consensus target price of $87.00, suggesting a potential upside of 39.27%. TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE has a consensus target price of $132.47, suggesting a potential upside of 30.36%. Given 2U’s higher possible upside, research analysts plainly believe 2U is more favorable than TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE.

Profitability

This table compares 2U and TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
2U -9.31% -5.77% -4.85%
TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE 14.26% 28.92% 13.88%

Volatility & Risk

2U has a beta of 0.64, indicating that its share price is 36% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE has a beta of 0.99, indicating that its share price is 1% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE beats 2U on 11 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

2U Company Profile

2U logo2U, Inc. operates as an education technology company in the United States, Hong Kong, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The company operates through two segments, Graduate Program Segment and Short Course Segment. It offers front-end technology and services, including online learning platform, student and faculty and immersion support, accessibility, admissions application advising, in-program student field placements, and faculty recruiting. The company provides back-end technology and services comprising graduate program launch and operations applications, university systems integration applications, content management system, admission application processing portal, customer relationship management, content development, student acquisition, and state authorization services. The company was formerly known as 2Tor Inc. and changed its name to 2U, Inc. in October 2012. 2U, Inc. was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Lanham, Maryland.

TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE Company Profile

TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE SOFTWARE logoTake-Two Interactive Software, Inc. develops, publishes, and markets interactive entertainment solutions for consumers worldwide. The company offers its products under the Rockstar Games and 2K labels, as well as under Private Division and Social Point labels. It develops and publishes action/adventure products under the Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, Midnight Club, and Red Dead names through developing sequels; and offers downloadable episodes, content and virtual currency, and releasing titles for smartphones and tablets. The company also develops brands in other genres, including the L.A. Noire, Bully, and Manhunt franchises. In addition, the company publishes various entertainment properties across platforms and a range of genres, including shooter, action, role-playing, strategy, sports, and family/casual entertainment under the BioShock, Mafia, Sid Meier’s Civilization, XCOM series, Borderlands, and Evolve. Further, it publishes sports simulation titles, including NBA 2K series, a basketball video game; and the WWE 2K professional wrestling series. Additionally, the company offers free-to-play mobile games, such as Dragon City and Monster Legends. Its products are designed for console gaming systems, such as Sony’s PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One; and personal computers comprising smartphones and tablets. The company provides its products through physical retail, digital download, online platforms, and cloud streaming services. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

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Taking the game away from reality

The key to its success is the constant drive to win against other humans in a bid to earn EA’s virtual currency, FIFA coins, which can be used to buy …

Alittle more than a decade ago, the rivalry between EA Sports’ video-game series FIFA and Konami’s Pro-Evolution Soccer (PES) used to be a riveting affair—sales numbers were neck-and-neck and gameplay differences were debated passionately. And despite EA’s franchise having the upper hand, owing to its licence to use player and team likenesses, Konami’s PES built a cult status among gamers, so much so that in 2007, FIFA outsold PES by only a fraction: 6.55 to 6.37 million units.

Today, the story is quite different. Various sources indicate that FIFA’s sales in 2018 were nearly 20 times that of PES—safe to say, then, that EA enjoys an unprecedented monopoly in the field of football simulators.

The key to this upturn in fortunes happened 10 years ago, when EA launched online game mode FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) as part of FIFA 09. The first year saw one million players using the FUT game mode—where users were randomly pitted against others: Suddenly, FIFA went from playing against the computer and your neighbour to playing against the world. By the time FIFA 15 was launched, more than 20 million users were playing FUT.

Real-life players appear as cards in ‘FUT'
Real-life players appear as cards in ‘FUT’

The key to its success is the constant drive to win against other humans in a bid to earn EA’s virtual currency, FIFA coins, which can be used to buy virtual players to build the “ultimate team”. Players—popularly known as “cards” because of the way FIFA presents them—can be sold and bought on the FUT market, a real-time online transfer market where prices are dictated by user demand and supply.

FUT game modes also reward victories with certain “packs”. Unless overtly specified, a user doesn’t know which players he will get in a particular pack. The more a user wins on FUT, the better the packs he scores, and the higher the chances of getting a top player. The sheer thrill of opening a pack—the mystery of whether you will get Cristiano Ronaldo or Mohamed Salah, Lionel Messi or Kylian Mbappé—keeps the FUT hype going.

It was a brilliant move to have FIFA users around the world compete against each other. But even as EA welcomed the FIFA world in one large group hug, it opened doors to immense scrutiny of the game. FUT is a complicated behemoth and those who grasped it made careers out of the FIFA franchise—either as YouTubers, pro gamers, or both. While the excitement of what EA will do next to please the insatiable FIFA fan keeps the avalanche rolling, loopholes have been dissected ruthlessly on social media.

As FUT celebrated its 10th birthday in late March, #ItsInTheScript was trending on Twitter as a taunt to EA’s “It’s in the game” tag line, part of an uproar against gameplay inconsistencies where Artificial Intelligence controlled match events (in a 1vs1 matchup, a human can only control one particular player on the field at a time—the other players are all controlled by AI) would apparently start favouring a particular side in a 1vs1 online match on FUT. This led to ridiculous anomalies garnering traction on EA forums and Reddit. One of these posts has a video of Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois scoring a very unlikely 94th-minute winner against a player. It reads: “Not only is Courtois the best goalkeeper on the game, he can also finish like Ronaldo apparently.”

“The core of the game is not satisfying this year. The mechanics are getting exploited, like centre-backs scoring bicycle kicks from near post corners, and is probably taking the game away from reality,” says Mumbai-based Siddhant Srinandan. The 18-year-old has more than 75,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, prompting EA to make him part of its “game-changer” group of users.

EA has released game updates to fix these issues, but the moment it plugs a hole, another one opens up. The game, released in late September, has already gone through seven title updates.

Gamers playing ‘FIFA 19’ in Cannes, France.
Gamers playing ‘FIFA 19’ in Cannes, France.

“The skill gap shouldn’t be on how quickly you tap a button. If that’s what you want, you should play Street Fighter. A football game should also reward build-up play and passing and tactics. The skill moves need to be nursed. On FIFA 19, you can literally take the ball from half line and score by using just the new Andrés Iniesta-based La Croqueta skill move. It doesn’t make any sense,” Srinandan adds.

Kartikeya Behl, the only Indian to have won an international FIFA tournament and sign up for an international FIFA eSports team, talks about the “luck factor” and “randomness” in the game.

“An example would be users complaining that if a team gets a red card, the game starts favouring it. The 10-man team’s passes will suddenly connect better and everything will start going in. FIFA has stepped into e-sports in a big way, and, as a pro, results should not be affected by the game’s randomness. I started to believe very recently that in some matches, you simply can’t do anything to win. But as a professional, you can’t complain. Just try and eradicate your mistakes in tournaments,” says Behl, who plays for former Premier League champion and Leicester City player Christian Fuchs’ e-sports team “No Fuchs Given”.

While pros complain about the “randomness” factor making it annoyingly okay for anyone to beat anyone, the casual FIFA player is finding it difficult to adjust to continuous tweaks to the game—EA launched its latest update in late March—it was the 12th version of the title. While this shows it cares about eliminating mistakes, it is also an admission of how flawed the game was at launch.

Ayush Sewani is the only other Indian in the FIFA game-changer community. He was contacted by EA after a detailed post on their forum suggesting some tweaks and new features for the FUT mode. He says EA has made communicating with top gamers easier and has corrected many gameplay issues, but will continue to get bashed because it’s difficult to please every gamer.

“After all, it’s a video game and works on coding, so there will always be some things that work better than the other. It just gets noticed more with millions of players playing the game. A few YouTubers find these gaps and make videos which thousands of people view and from there, it just rages on and every other gamer is suddenly exploiting the mechanics,” Sewani says.

One of the big FUT pulls is the online transfer market. EA plans promos on FUT all year long, releasing new packs and player cards to keep the gameplay fresh. An example would be its latest FUT birthday promo, when it released packs which had a striker version of Liverpool centre- back Virgil van Dijk. These packs can also be bought by spending real money by using FIFA points. Currently, the price of 100 FIFA points in India is 76.

These unique ideas have made FUT a cash cow. In March 2017, EA said FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode itself was generating $800 million (around 5,570 crore) annually. A Forbes 2016 report said that by 2021, FIFA is expected to sell more than 20 million copies and earn more than $3 billion annually for EA.

“There was a theory that the online transfer market had crashed early on FIFA 19 because players had stopped playing the game, but when EA released their pack promos, people would spend thousands on FIFA points. That’s a marker that FIFA is still incredibly popular and continues to mint money via sales and selling FIFA points. They ideally don’t have to listen to us, but they are, and by the time they release FIFA 20, they need to make sure the title does not have game-breaking glitches,” says Sewani.

The internet is full of stories of users raging over FIFA, smashing their controller to bits out of frustration and promising to quit the game forever—before returning barely a day later.

As Sewani says, it’s just one of those games with which players will always have the ultimate love-hate relationship.

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Big data, deep insights and on-stage revelations…SportsPro Live 2019 in review

Top properties from the world of sports business and technology joined company at London’s O2 Arena this week, as the latest innovation to drive a …

Top properties from the world of sports business and technology joined company at London’s O2 Arena this week, as the latest innovation to drive a digital transformation within the industry took centre stage at SportsPro Live 2019.

Over two blockbuster days, conversation moved from the future of the changing media landscape and the influence of upcoming technologies including artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, to the growth of esports and its impact on a diversifying sports rights market.

Today is the day #SPLIVE19

(And tomorrow…) pic.twitter.com/cWLCZT3Kjv

— Paul Guest (@prguest) April 30, 2019

On day one, Formula One managing director Sean Bratches kicked started the event, navigating a sell-out crowd through the motorsport’s vision for a more immersive viewer experience across its championship.

He said: “The prior leadership, from a broadcast standpoint, [focused] on these wide country scenes that got the sponsor into the screen for as many seconds [as possible]. Our sponsors are critical to the company and its future and we’ve renewed most of them that have come up.

“But, at the same time, we wanted to tighten the aperture to focus on racing and one of the things that we did when we first got here was this global brand study, and in one of the top categories that fans focused on was racing.

“Speed is inherent in the sport but it’s really racing – livery to livery, wheel to wheel – so our broadcast has changed dramatically to what it was.”

Sound on ! ‘In ten years esports will be on a level with all of the other great sports’: Andreas Gall, chief Innovation officer at Red Bull Media House #SPLive19#esportspic.twitter.com/VAwwkfptXR— SportsPro (@SportsPro) April 30, 2019

Among the biggest stories revealed during the event, Christian Fuchs, the Premier League soccer star making waves in the world of gaming, revealed plans to build New York’s first dedicated esports arena.

He said: “One of my big goals right now is that I will build an esports arena in New York. We are in talks with partners right now. It’s a very exciting project.

“It’s definitely the future to have those dedicated esports arenas around. In America where esports is probably still a little bit bigger than it is here, there are a lot of areas to exploit.”

Sound on ��! ‘I’m building an esports arena in New York’: @FuchsOfficial on his future plans in the space #esports#SPLive19pic.twitter.com/E4CSnT6hBG— SportsPro (@SportsPro) April 30, 2019

McLaren’s digital director Rob Bloom explained how the manufacturer has changed its own digital positioning around its brand partners.

He said: “This is the most exciting time ever to be in sports marketing.”

“We have such a powerful platform to tell stories. But, we need to unlock and leverage those narratives to tell a relevant story to our audience.”

“This is the most exciting time ever to be in sports marketing.”

“We have such a powerful platform to tell stories. BUT, we need to unlock and leverage those narratives to tell a relevent story to our audience.”

Rob Bloom @McLarenGroup#SPLIVE19#sportsbiz#sponsorshippic.twitter.com/08ZFnYgTU0

— Paul Guest (@prguest) April 30, 2019

Shane Warden, ATP Media’s chief technology officer, was also on hand to discuss the potential to personalise user content, though fired a warning to sections of the industry seeking to tap into new data streams.

He said: “There is a fundamental problem in everything that we are trying to do here, in terms of personalisation, and that is ultimately we can only personalise things if we know who that person is.

“There are massive fundamental roadblocks. If you look at the quality of data that we get as APIs from the social media platforms out there, it doesn’t tell us enough.

“Of course, data is currency for all of those platforms, and they are not willing to share. Then, over the garden wall for the broadcasters, it is also similarly very difficult to pin-point users.”

Back at @TheO2 with @SportsPro hosting day 2 of sports business and technology conference @SportsProLive 2019

Packed schedule ahead. #SPLIVE19pic.twitter.com/qyYX6c25Ul

— Adam Leventhal (@AdamLeventhal) May 1, 2019

On day two, the European Tour’s chief executive Keith Pelley gave a passionate speech during the morning session to encourage his peers within golf and other sports to avoid alienating the older generations in their pursuit for younger audiences.

He said: “Having been in the media industry for 25 to 30 years, all we went after was that 18 to 34 [demographic]. Anything above 45 or 50, people say that is too old.

“If you actually look at it, we own that C-suite demographic between 45 to 60, and is one thing that isn’t celebrated. People say that golf is too old. They are one of the key demographics in sport.

“When you back in 1990, there were more than 500 million people in the world over 60 – now there is a billion. These are people with disposable income.

“I am not saying we’re not going to target [the younger generations], but we can’t forget our core, and it was really interesting, for the first time I had two partners in last two months talk about how they are targeting that demo.”

�� “5G will change how production is done.” That’s what MX1’s Dana Dar reckons as the technology’s release edges closer #SPLive19pic.twitter.com/YHZzElgyyz— SportsPro (@SportsPro) May 1, 2019

The Football Association’s (FA) head of marketing, Georgina Lewis, told the SportsPro Live audience that England’s Lionesses have received a greater level of interest from brands and sponsors for this summer’s Fifa Women’s World Cup than the men’s team received for the male equivalent in Russia last year.

Sports drink giant Lucozade, beer brand Budweiser and health and beauty store Boots UK have all partnered with the team recently and Lewis says there is even more to come.

“As far as incoming calls in terms of wanting to work with us this summer, honestly it’s probably higher than it was last year for the men’s World Cup, the number of publishers, media outlets [and] brands.”

Really interesting panel from Georgina Lewis and Marzena Bogdanowicz on @FA ‘s digital transformation. Great answer on how Social Media dominates fan engagement and driving their audiences to them direct. Thoughts? #digitalsport#fanengagement@sotic@SportsProEvents#SPLive19pic.twitter.com/mYoycQsAZX— Sam White (@smw1590) May 1, 2019

Meanwhile, World Rugby’s chief operating officer Alan Gilpin gave guests an overview of the governing body’s plans to leverage new audiences during this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, where the tournament will take its bow in the Asian market.

He added: “The opening match between Japan and Russia is probably going to attract a live audience of somewhere in the region of 40 million, and that gives you an idea of the scope that we can achieve if we get things right.

“Then, of course, there is the much wider audience, which is the digital social piece that we know is going to be the younger audience. For us, it’s really thinking about all those different [demographic] areas and creating the right strategy for each area.”

Inspiring finale @sportsilab keynote looking into the ‘New Age of Sport’ with @AngelaRuggiero & @JoshuaWalker_ ������ #SPLive19pic.twitter.com/cAnlg98SZY— William Tubbs (@SportsProWill) May 1, 2019

Posted in: SmartSeries, ESports & Digital Sport, Multiple sports, Global

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