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16 May 2018

FIVB teams up with Microsoft on digital platform

Microsoft, the multinational technology company, has signed an agreement with the FIVB that the international federation vows will “change the way the sport of volleyball is consumed while heightening the fan experience during match days as well as in the digital space.”

Under the tie-up, the ‘Microsoft Sports Digital Platform’ has been created to create new digital services and deliver personalised content on demand in order to boost the FIVB’s global audience and improve fan engagement.

The FIVB said that the long-term goals of the platform are to:

• Offer new digital products, services and experiences for fans all over the planet, built on Microsoft Azure. This solution will be strengthened by content from the FIVB and amplified through the organisation’s digital consumer channels.
• Understand fans and get insights on their needs and likes, through segmentation and profiling, which will attract new digital sponsors and fans to register and become subscribers to consume premium content through membership programs.
• Maximise the potential fan engagement on match days at the venue or on social media through video content and live-streaming.

The use of the platform will be launched to coincide with the new Volleyball Nations League.

Ary Graça, the FIVB president, said: “Innovation has been a key priority for us since I was first elected president in 2012. We believe that the FIVB and Microsoft have the same vision of leading the process of innovation and digital transformation in the world of sport.

“This is a great opportunity for us to work together for the benefit of everyone, especially the global volleyball family, as we open an exciting new chapter in this digital age. While Microsoft can provide technological expertise, we want to show our vision to engage and expand our loyal volleyball fan base. 

“By providing highly engaging digital content, which speaks directly to the specific interests of our fans, we believe we can significantly enhance fan experience all-season round.”

Sebastián Lancestremere, sports business, general manager at Microsoft, claimed that technology will help the FIVB to “adopt a new digital business model, leveraging digital fan engagement and their sponsorship strategy as well as new monetisation models.”

He added: “Thanks to the Microsoft experience in similar sport organizations, such as LaLiga and Real Madrid, we will work with FIVB also to explore new innovation opportunities that will make volleyball more relevant to the global fan base.”

Meanwhile, FloSports, the USA-based live streaming subscription sports service, has signed a long-term streaming rights deal with the FIVB.

Under the deal, struck with the FIVB and IMG, the federation’s commercial partner, the platform’s channel is show coverage of the inaugural Volleyball Nations League (VNL) and this year’s World Championships.

The long-term agreement covers the new Nations League from 2018-2020, the men’s and women’s World Championships in 2018, the 2019 men’s and women’s World Cup and the men’s and women’s Club World Championships from 2018 to 2020.

The deal comes as the FIVB and IMG unveiled the launch of Volleyball TV, an over-the-top streaming service for the new competition and other major events, this week.

The VNL, which replaces the existing men's World League and women's World Grand Prix series, has been developed in partnership with IMG and a group of 21 national federations.

Volleyball TV will show live coverage of all 260 men’s and women’s matches from the VNL, as well as 10-minute highlights from every game.