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Ebersol’s Infinite Athlete Striving to be ‘Google Maps’ for Sports Innovation

Ebersol’s Infinite Athlete Striving to be ‘Google Maps’ for Sports Innovation

Infinite Athlete has consistently made headlines over the last few months.

The venture-backed startup announced a partnership with TGL in mid-August, and its deal to become ‘principal partner’ of the Chelsea Football Club for the 2023/2024 season made headlines in mid-September. The National Football League Players Association disclosed its investment stake in the company a week later (Andreesen Horowitz, General Catalyst, Silver Lake, and Founders Fund are among the other prominent investors on its IA’s cap table).

More recently, Infinite Athlete began revealing the names of partner network members (i.e., those approved to build products on the platform). Its tie-up with The 33rd Team was announced in mid-October.

So, what is Infinite Athlete?

“Infinite Athlete is an infrastructure business that creates new and dynamic revenue opportunities for leagues and teams by empowering developers to build never before possible products without disrupting existing [rights] deals,” Charlie Ebersol (founder and CEO, Infinite Athlete) said.

While that description may sound vague, Ebersol wasn’t being coy. He genuinely does not know what developers will construct on top of the company’s FusionFeed infrastructure.

He is, however, convinced that democratizing access to proprietary sports-centric data in a controlled and structured environment will result in the development of ‘interesting’ new products, and ultimately the creation of an extremely valuable asset.

“Google Maps is a very good business for Google,” Ebersol said.

Of course, the Google Maps API powers Uber, AirBNB, and many other third-party applications that could not otherwise exist.


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Infinite Athlete is a holding company. It was formed following a merger of Tempus Ex Machina and Biocore, LLC.

“Then we bought other [data science] companies that added a lot of value to the API [making it more valuable to developers],” Ebersol said.

The API Ebersol is referring to, IA’s core product, is called FusionFeed. It exists to normalize and structure data across sports properties, and to serve as the foundation for future sports tech and media innovation.

“If you buy data from one of the major data [resellers], even if they have all the official rights, you’re plugging into a different API for every league and the data sets are wildly different,” Ebersol said. “It’s why you [haven’t] seen a lot of meaningful innovation around [AI-driven] technology [in sports]. The existing infrastructure doesn’t scale.”

FusionFeed was in essence born out of the now defunct Alliance of American Football (AAF). Ebersol was the spring football league’s CEO.

The AAF built an interactive app that fans watching games could interact with. Users were able to click on near real-time animations of the on-field product and see the likelihood of, and/or predict the outcome of, specific events tied to the next play.

The product was a relative success.

“It [became] the number one sports app in both the Apple and Google Play stores,” Ebersol said.

But it was ultimately the underlying infrastructure that caught the NFL’s attention.

“We were taking a couple elements of different vendors in the stadium [and] putting them together so [that] people could build stuff, [including the app, on top of the data collected],” Ebersol said.

Following the collapse of the AAF, the NFL expressed interest in building its own structured API.

So, “we started a new company [which ultimately became Tempus Ex] because we had to build new technology from scratch [for it] to work somewhere other than [inside the AAF],” Ebersol said. The hardware-software solution constructed “takes back every single piece of available data generated inside the stadium [during a live sporting event] –player tracking, chips in the ball, every broadcast camera, stats– and synchronizes it all together at sub-second latency into a single API.”

Infinite Athlete then makes that API available to league-approved developers who can build commercial products on top of it.

Uber founders “Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp couldn’t afford to map Palo Alto, let around the world. But they can afford to pay Google incrementally for the uses,” Ebersol said.

Google gets paid every time Uber pings its mapping API.

As a result, the Alphabet subsidiary “has made hundreds of billions [of dollars] in revenue over the last 19 years on [the technology],” Ebersol said.

Infinite Athlete is working to similarly democratize access to sports-specific insights.

“Imagine all sports data on one structured platform, [and it] is done agnostically so you can see across [leagues],” Ebersol said. “People are going to [be able to] build interesting businesses [on top of the API, including GPTs and LLMs].”

They have already started to. Roughly a dozen products have been built on FusionFeed to date, some of which are starting to gain traction.

Infinite Athlete's artificial intelligence (AI) Match View X™ (MVX) technology via the Chelsea Football Club’s official app

“A couple of the companies are already doing millions of dollars in revenue,” Ebersol said.

Of course, once a product is built for one league on the FusionFeed platform, creators can use the IA marketplace to scale it across properties without having to alter any of the foundational inputs as the technology is ‘transferrable’.

With ~40 more partners coming onto the platform in the weeks ahead the number of products created on the platform, and subsequent media announcements, will grow quickly. Some partners will be household names (including major data resellers, broadcasters, and stat platforms), others will be early-stage startups.

The more data the FusionFeed API gathers, the more powerful it will be for those building on top of it. Right now, Infinite Athlete counts the NFL, Pac-12, TGL, University of Colorado, and Chelsea FC among its team/league partners. The company hopes to eventually have every team and league plugged in.

There doesn’t appear to be an obvious reason for a rights owner to pass on the opportunity. It shouldn’t interfere with any of their existing licensing deals (teams/leagues retain all their intellectual property and rights) and pursuing it could open the door to two incremental high-margin revenue streams.

Companies building on the FusionFeed API pay rights owners a pre-negotiated licensing fee for the use of marks, logos, etc., and teams or leagues share in the dynamic revenues partner products generate each time an API query is submitted. That latter has the potential to grow to become a large number should a product (or products) find market fit.

“A single Chelsea match will [already] do more than 10 million API calls,” Ebersol said.

How much passive revenue can a rights owner realistically expect to generate from a structured data API partnership?

“Hundreds of millions of dollars a year,” Ebersol said.

Naturally, IA is only entitled to a portion of the revenues generated.

It works on a rev-share basis with some rights holders. Other deals are partnership based, and in some cases, it will fund a JV with the property.

The company does not buy rights.

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