IN CONVERSATION WITH: Angelina Lawton, Founder & CEO, Sportsdigita
In this latest interview, we hear from Angelina Lawton, Founder & CEO at Sportsdigita, who we caught up with at the ALSD International event in London last week.
Angelina, firstly, welcome to London and ALSD International. Could you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself, your career journey thus far and your most memorable career highlights to date?
Starting in finance before transitioning into sports, my career has always been in traditionally male-dominated industries. While that might seem like a challenge to some, I viewed my position in these industries as an opportunity to invoke change. I have always tried to push standards, ask hard questions, and break through barriers with my job responsibilities.
I started working for the Tampa Bay Lightning as the Senior VP of Corporate Communications in 2008 where I was responsible for the branding and voice of all public-facing marketing content. Anything with a Lightning logo on it was fair game. It was during my time with the Lightning that we created the first ever in-house creative agency for a professional sports team. After witnessing the success we had with that decision, I really gained the confidence needed to start my own sports business.
Taking a huge risk, I founded Sportsdigita in 2011 and it has been the most rewarding decision for me to-date. We work with over 350 professional and collegiate teams and are growing every year.
Being named to the Forbes 2018 List of the Most Powerful Women in Sports was one of the best highlights of my career so far! To even be mentioned among the likes of Serena Williams and Billie Jean King is truly indescribable. It has been an incredible recognition for Sportsdigita and our work.
Sportsdigita has disrupted the sports industry by partnering with more than 350 clients across professional sports and collegiate athletics with its ground-breaking interactive presentation platform the Digideck. Can you tell us the story behind the company?
During my time with the Tampa Bay Lightning, whenever we were presenting prospective six and seven figure deals, we were often stuck within the limitations of PowerPoint. We were constantly dealing with inconsistent presentations that were off brand, felt flat, and took a lot of time to create … I remember thinking to myself: “there has to be a better way to do this.” I wanted to be able to “create a movie trailer for our franchise” that stood out as a cut above the rest.
Professional sports teams live in such a interactive, real-time world and I wanted our messaging to match that excitement. After I made the decision to start an in-house creative agency that handled all aspects of marketing for the Lightning and witnessed its success, I knew what I did for their franchise could be applied to virtually any professional team.
Sportsdigita works with teams at an organisation-wide level, helping them with sponsorship, ticketing, premium hospitality, and activation through tailor-made products and offerings that fit their needs. Can you tell us more about the solution?
The Digideck has many features that help teams succeed across their entire organisation. When it comes to premium spaces, our 360 degree suite and hospitality panoramas provide an immersive experience bringing the spaces to life in the eyes of prospective premium and season ticket holders. The platform arms teams with an interactive way to sell backed by analytics to allow for more targeted follow up.
In regards to partnership sales and activation, there are a number of ways to truly tailor your presentations to your prospects’ needs. Let them know you listened, you understand their objectives and you have a custom presentation to walk them through the unique ways they can activate with your brand to achieve their objectives.
The Digideck makes it easy for representatives to customise presentations using imagery or branding in “hot spots”, which provide a way to instantaneously populate numerous predetermined locations with prospects’ logos and branding at the click of a button. Sellers can spend more time offering customised, dynamic solutions and telling the right story because they are spending less time building proposals. The Digideck brings the power of showcasing premium spaces and partnership assets to a whole new level.
What are the main benefits and ROI’s of the product?
There are three primary ways in which Sportsdigita and the Digideck help clients. First, we ensure clients are always putting forth cutting-edge interactive designs that paint their brand in the best possible light. Our partners never have to worry about a salesperson going rogue with the brand and messaging. Our Master-decks lock down images, fonts, colours, logos, and styles so that every presentation looks pixel perfect on every device.
These Master-decks, pre-loaded into the Digideck platform, enable sales teams to be more efficient than ever in how they create and deploy custom presentations. With CRM integrations, the Digideck allows a salesperson to create a customised, on-brand, fully interactive presentation in just minutes.
And finally, our platform enhances a sales team’s effectiveness by providing powerful analytics on how end clients are interacting with the content. Sales and Marketing team members can see exactly what content resonates most with clients, enabling them to iterate future messaging for maximum effectiveness.
If you want to put specific numbers to it…if you close ONE deal with our platform, your Digideck is already paid back for in full. From an efficiency standpoint, sales reps can save hours of work traditionally spent on content creation and, in return, spend that time having important conversations with prospects and securing revenue for their organisation. Giving sales reps hours of time back into their day is huge!
From a labour cost perspective, a sales team with 10 representatives who average about 4 hours of time spent on creating content per week can see $30,000 of savings annually when implementing the Digideck…and that is a conservative amount of time to estimate.
You’re working with over 350 teams including the New York Yankees and the Indianapolis Colts. What’s their feedback on the Digideck been like?
The New York Yankees and Indianapolis Colts together illustrate powerful and unique Digideck use-cases.
The New York Yankees are one of the most iconic teams in all of sports. They have a massive worldwide following and a full inventory of opportunities within Yankee Stadium available to prospective partners and season ticket holders. The Yankees use the Digideck to bring these opportunities to life and illustrate their stadium experience. In fact, the Yankees were kind enough to share their insights with us in this recent case study that covers the full story!
The Indianapolis Colts and their prestigious home, Lucas Oil Stadium, offer a wide variety of unique, world-class premium experiences to fans and partners. From decadent dining to exclusive suite seating the Colts turned to the Digideck to showcase these offerings. As one of our newest NFL partners it has been fun and rewarding to see their journey with Sportsdigita benefit them in such a powerful way.
How do you see the sector evolving over the next 5-10 years?
The sports-technology industry has limitless potential especially given the growing emphasis teams are putting on their Digital Footprint. The sports industry is now at the forefront of digital innovation and franchises are beginning to embrace this trend on an organisation-wide level. Sportsdigita is positioned to help catalyst the Digital Footprint of our partners, which will be imperative to the next 5-10 years and beyond!
Sportsdigita attended both the annual ALSD event in Atlanta back in June and also Europe’s first Premium Seat event, ALSD International, in London last week. How important is it to attend these types of industry conferences and trade shows?
Events like ALSD and now ALSD International, that gather forward-thinking minds for networking, collaboration, and roundtable discussions focused on the premium space are of tremendous value to our team. We are able to communicate with prospective and current clients about the latest trends we are seeing in the space all while determining innovative ways to make their vision come to life with our digital platform.
Face-to-face conversations with peers about premium best-practices and the future roadmap of our product is critical to our business. Speakers and panels at events like ALSD and ALSD International also provide key opportunities to learn more about hot topics of discussion for the evolution of premium experiences.
With this milestone and ALSD going ‘international’, it is a true testament to the value these events provide. The sports industry is a worldwide business and it continues to grow with amazing momentum. It is an exciting time for both ALSD and Sportsdigita alike!
Finally, now that the ALSD International is over and you’ve had a chance to reflect, what were your thoughts on Europe’s first Premium Seat event?
It was a great decision to attend ALSD International in London. It afforded great exposure for attendees to understand and learn more on what’s relevant on a global level in the venue/premium space.
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