Sydney, 1st September 2021 – Australian sports technology startup LIGR has raised 2.1M in a Pre-Series A funding round from a range of prominent overseas and Australian investors. This investment comes as the company looks to build on the October 2020 launch of its self-serve all-in-one broadcast platform for sports, LIGR Live.
A four-year-old startup, LIGR is breaking down the barriers to entry for sports organizations and broadcasters, helping them to create highly professional sports broadcasts with cloud-based live sports graphics templates and in-game sponsorship tools. Until now, TV-quality live sports graphics such as animated team lineups, on-screen scoreboards, or in-game statistics have been beyond the budget of grassroots sports organizations. LIGR significantly reduces broadcast costs and makes it simple for even the smallest sports club to generate sponsorship revenue.
Unskilled users can easily upload and manage sponsor campaigns, then automate and track ad displays across their live broadcasts. This has opened up new commercial opportunities for sports clubs and broadcast rights holders. Before LIGR, in-game sponsorship meant ugly static logos in the corners of the screen for the entire match. With LIGR, digital banner ads in a range of sizes are displayed at key moments throughout the game when there are breaks in play. This dramatically raises production levels and helps to attract big brand advertisers such as Nike and McDonald’s to grassroots sports.
The investment round, led by the early-stage VC firm, Investible, has been joined by former Australian NBA star Andrew Bogut and global sports tech investment firm MindSpring Capital. Craig Thompson, Mindspring’s founder, was part of the management team that created the commercial concept for the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s premier soccer tournament. Startmate, Australia’s leading startup accelerator of which LIGR was part of the 2019 Sydney cohort, has also followed on.
“I am excited to invest and be involved with LIGR. LIGR is doing exciting things in the world of sport on all levels and will be the future for any sports organization or broadcaster wanting to get their product out seamlessly” comments Andrew Bogut, who will also serve as a LIGR brand ambassador
After being impressed with LIGR’s growth and launch of its SaaS platform LIGR Live – especially during the Covid-19 pandemic – Investible backed the business during the previous round of funding and is now leading this Pre-Series A round.
“Since our investment in LIGR in December 2019, our confidence in both the founders and the business model has only increased. Luke, Adam and the talented LIGR team have executed incredibly on their product roadmap” said Investible Investment Director Daniel Veytsblit.
“We look forward to the next phase of growth for LIGR which includes building towards an innovative sponsorship ecosystem that allows brands to connect through grassroot sports.”
This is LIGR’s third investment round, following a $1M seed round in January 2020, led by AE Live, the world’s leading sports broadcast graphics company. AE Live provides services for the FIFA, Rugby and Cricket World cups.
LIGR was founded by longtime friends Luke McCoy and Adam Burke.
“While the last 18 months have been difficult for the world of sports, since launching LIGR Live we have seen tremendous interest from over 80 countries across a multitude of different sports and broadcasting organizations,” said Mr McCoy.
“From high schools and colleges in the US to Japanese and French Football and Rugby, we truly believe sports broadcasting and streaming is on the rise – even more so with the pandemic fuelling high consumer demand for live competitive sports.”
While talking to customers and evaluating the live sports landscape, LIGR’s founders quickly realized that there wasn’t a single dedicated platform designed to help all the different organizations that collaborate on broadcasting live sports work together.
“From sports organization administrators and the clubs playing in their competitions to production companies, camera operators, commentators, live scorers, sponsorship and digital teams – there are many jobs across multiple organizations to execute a professional broadcast,” explained Mr McCoy.
“There are many competition management and player registration platforms, but nothing that brings together the organization, production and commercialization of live sports in a single platform. We see LIGR Live as a combination of Canva and Hubspot for live sports broadcasting – an “operating system for live sports” that brands can tap into to access targeted sports audiences - which is a completely unique offering.”
The startup has recently announced partnerships with global automated camera technologies Pixellot and Playsight. Currently, the LIGR platform supports 13 sports, including soccer, rugby union, ice hockey, netball and cricket, while major US sports such as American football, baseball and volleyball will soon be rolled out.