SVG Sit-Down: Stats Perform’s Michael Leon Details Enhancements to PressBox

Improved data access, automated/manual insights, mobile content creation are integrated on the platform

Stats Perform has expanded the capabilities of its PressBox platform, giving media a streamlined set of tools powered by AI to deliver high-quality content to fans. Enhancements to PressBox Graphics, PressBox Live, and PressBox Video provide access to data, historical context, and mobile content creation on an integrated platform to meet the demands of modern-day sports fans.

The PressBox platform enables broadcasters, social-media teams, producers, and content creators to access live match data, source ready-to-use video, and create social graphics before, during, and after the game. The AI-powered platform unifies PressBox Graphics, PressBox Live, and PressBox Video with Stats Perform’s Opta data and AI-driven applications, supplying the tools that broadcast and media teams need to boost productivity, create large-scale content, and break unique stories faster. It houses these essential tools under a single sign-on.

SVG sat down with Michael Leon, director, U.S. Media, Products and Strategy, Stats Perform, to discuss how the newly enhanced PressBox suite builds on the company’s existing Stats Pass product, key new features in all three applications, the platform’s sports-betting–data capabilities, and the new PressBox Graphics Mobile feature that allows users to create right from mobile devices.

Stats Perform’s Michael Leon: “[PressBox Live] has probably garnered the most excitement. It combines automated and manually curated insights and information in addition to play-by-play info.”

What is the background of the PressBox platform? How do you envision the new enhancements boosting users’ capabilities?
PressBox has been [deployed] on global football for the past couple years, and lots of broadcasters and teams already use it across the pond. Think of it as a truly consolidated tool that can be used by pretty much anyone in this business.

[Previously], I was a Stats Perform customer and leveraged many of their product offerings, including Stats Pass [sports-research tool], during my time at ESPN, MLB, and MSG. The PressBox tool goes beyond the Stats Pass realm in that it has powerful visualizations. It can streamline things for anybody who touches the game — from a digital publisher to a linear broadcaster to a social-media team and beyond. And, if you’re an organization that is light on resources and looking for an automation tool, this is perfect.

What do you see as the target market for PressBox?
We’ve put everything into this one tool, and we’ve already rolled it out to a bunch of pro- and college-sports clients to demo, but it can be used by anyone who creates sports content. We’re excited about what the tool can do in terms of in-stadium experience, how it can help radio and television broadcast teams, and how it can help the digital teams integrate more stats, insights, and visualizations. With PressBox Live, these insights and content can go right into whatever CRM tool is used for marketing, which is a huge advantage for those digital teams. And all of this lives in an API, so a digital team can put that right into their app and provide all of those insights and information. Anybody with the CRM tool that wants to push out some of the insights can grab that right from the API and push that out.

Within PressBox, we also sell everything à la carte. If you want to buy one feature in PressBox Live for your social and digital, you can buy just that. Or you can buy the visualizations part or just the betting information. If you want to holistically build out your [operation] around PressBox, you can do that as well.

What are some of the key enhancements that have been introduced for PressBox Graphics?
Within the [PressBox Graphics] tool, there are tabs that have visualizations around everything happening with the game. For the Bengals-Rams Super Bowl, for example, you would have passing-grid information on Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford and full rushing-grid information.

All of these are downloadable and exportable as PNG or SVG [files], so it’s easy for any team in your organization to use. If the social-media team or app team wants to grab that graphic and push it out, they can take those [elements] right from the tool and leverage that content. There are also graphics around betting, [such as] a team summary against the spread over the course of the season and a win-probability chart that fluctuates throughout the game. We also have visualizations showing things like drive-chart summaries and rush-pass balance. In terms of UI, it’s all tab functionality: you can click on that tab, click on the visualization you want, download it, push it to whatever platform you want.

And what about the new features in PressBox Live?
[PressBox Live] has probably garnered the most excitement from people who have seen it. It combines automated and manually curated insights and information in addition to play-by-play info.

For in-game [coverage], you get all of the insights and information that is manually curated from our in-house team. We also have the Stream [feature] that provides the play-by-play summary. On top of that, you’ll also get our deeper insights for each play: it might say [Rams wide receiver] Cooper Kupp has 10 or more catches in 10 straight games on the season and is the first player from Eastern Washington University to do that.

From a pregame perspective, PressBox Live also has a bunch of automated insights for [our customers] to leverage. It can provide all the betting information you need. As a producer, I always had 10 tabs open at any time looking for stats and information. This is a true central tool that is a tab saver; you have everything living in one ecosystem right there that you can access.

And how about the new features in PressBox Video?
PBV is something that I definitely would’ve leveraged if I were still a producer because it’s truly a tool that allows people to go in and grab any content they want whenever they want. It covers all the North American sports as well as soccer, and multi-language is available as well.

For example, if you lack an editorial team or a video-editing team to create content for your pregame or postgame windows, this will allow you to go in there on a credit or subscription basis and grab the video you need. The cool thing about PBV is that our news team also creates original data-driven content. For example, let’s say Chris Paul breaks an assist record during a Suns playoff game. We have short clips of that moment that you can buy in three [forms]: raw, clean, or ready. With the “ready” clip, you can have graphics, music, and highlight information, as well as the data-driven information that comes from our insights and editorial team, ready to go.

To a former producer, the cool thing about PBV is the ability to try it out with credits or do a full subscription. Sometimes, I don’t want a full subscription; I just want to buy it on a credit-based system and plug in videos.

How do gambling and sports-betting factor into the PressBox Live platform?
We’ve seen a convergence of media and betting here in the U.S., and almost all teams, leagues, broadcasters, etc. have partnerships with sportsbooks in some capacity. In addition, media operators also have some type of shoulder programming that is focused on gambling. This is where Stats Perform comes in because we feel, with PressBox Live, we can help teams, leagues, broadcasters, content providers, etc. get their customers the relevant betting information and insights around the game before they place that bet.

What will the new PressBox Graphics Mobile feature allow users to do that they couldn’t before?
Previously, you could [use these tools] only on desktop. Now we have given people the ability to log in with PressBox graphics and leverage the same tools and templates on a mobile device. From a functionality perspective, everything that they have within PressBox Graphics translates over to the mobile application. The UI is very easy to use, and it’s mobile-web responsive so you don’t have to worry about its being clunky. Everything transfers over: you can go right from your desktop to your mobile application, which is why we feel it’s a real game-changer.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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