Sporting events have been around for thousands of years, but the way fans experience them has changed dramatically over time. For most of history, fans had to be present to get in on the action. Then came radio broadcasts, enabling the emotionally-invested to huddle around and listen in. Finally, the advent of television offered a virtual simulation of being physically present, and technology has improved upon it ever since. ActionStreamer in Cincinnati, Ohio, develops technology to introduce new possibilities in sports viewership and push it forward even further.
“We’re really passionate about improving the fan experience with technology. The way people consume sports is more diverse than ever with the capabilities of phones, tablets, watches, smart TVs—you name it,” said Max Eisenberg, CEO of ActionStreamer. “We’re developing technology to offer more dynamic viewing options for fans. It’s an end-to-end solution for generating live point-of-view content for leagues, networks and media companies to improve the game experience by bringing fans closer to the action than ever before.”
ActionStreamer components are small and lightweight, implanted into a wearable outfit, such as a referee’s hat or a player’s helmet, and designed to be unnoticeable to both the viewing audience and players alike. The software uses a proprietary radio frequency approach and bandwidth management to livestream a double-digit number of perspectives simultaneously, which customers can tap into and mix in with standard camera views. In a packed stadium where data transmission is especially challenging, this is crucial for uninterrupted broadcasting.
The company says the standard broadcasting of sports isn’t going anywhere, and they’re not aiming to replace the current system. Instead, they’re offering a technology solution that can augment the viewing experience for fans with new, up-close angles and footage. It’ll be up to networks how they deploy ActionStreamer technology, but Eisenberg says it can improve everything from live and instant replay footage in the TV broadcast, to post-game highlights and more. The company tested their wearables on AFL coaches’ and referees’ hats in the summer of 2017 and are prepared to introduce their solution to new sports leagues in 2018.
ActionStreamer was formed after Eisenberg and his business partner, CTO Chris McLennan, were approached by Dhani Jones, a former Cincinnati Bengals player and ten-year pro in the NFL. Armed with a unique blend of startup experience, technical skills and industry expertise, the trio went to work designing their hardware-software combination solution with support from community partners in Cincinnati and around the country.
Beyond the Bengals connection, Jones operates QEY Capital, an investment firm in Cincinnati. McLennan and Eisenberg came to the table with success in the startup community. They built Ilesfay with seed capital from CincyTech, a southwest Ohio regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier, and sold it to Autodesk in 2014. ActionStreamer is also a member of Cintrifuse, another southwest Ohio regional partner, where they have access to a huge network of entrepreneurs, investors and startup industry experts.
“We’re extremely proud to be building ActionStreamer in Ohio. Our strong relationship with CincyTech dates back to 2011 when they helped connect Chris and me,” said Eisenberg. “They showed confidence in us again with their investment. It’s been amazing to see the growth in resources here just over the last few years. The success we’re seeing in Cincinnati and Ohio as a whole shows other entrepreneurs that they can achieve success here too.”