Greg Sayer: Pointstreak Sports Technologies Inc.
First, can you tell readers about Pointstreak – how you got started and what the applications are?
In 2000, our founder, Aaron Bishop, was frustrated that he could not get his rec league hockey stats online and when they were posted online, they were painfully out of date. He drafted some friends to help him create a solution – which was labelled an “electronic gamesheet system” – and then approached their local league to act as a test pilot. From these humble roots we have grown to a company that services over 4000 leagues and associations around the world.
Officially speaking, Pointstreak Sports Technologies Inc. is a privately-held sports software company that provides fully integrated online registration software, statistics solutions, sports websites and video solutions for the sports of hockey, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, soccer and others. Our founding principle was to use a touch-screen computer to replace paper score sheets used by hockey leagues, but we have since expanded into multiple sports and applications beyond just statistics.
What professional sports organizations use Pointstreak (any in Pittsburgh) – and how?
Pointstreak formed its first “White Knight” partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins in November 2010 which saw the Penguins underwrite the costs of Pointstreak’s technologies for grassroots hockey leagues in the greater Pittsburgh area, particularly the Pittsburgh Amateur Hockey League (PAHL) and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League (PIHL). This type of partnership is a triple-win: the Pens get a great platform to connect with their core community; grassroots hockey associations get cutting-edge services at no cost and Pointstreak gets the business. The idea is catching on with other pro teams. We recently entered into a similar arrangement with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Beyond these strategic partnerships, we have many professional sports organizations as clients that use our real-time statistics software , live video highlights software and video analysis coaching software. Here are some highlights of our pro / collegiate clients in the Pittsburgh and greater Pennsylvania region:
Video Analysis Software:
Hershey Bears (AHL)
Wheeling Nailers (ECHL )
Robert Morris University (NCAA D1 hockey & lacrosse)
Mercyhurst U (NCAA D1)
Baseball Statistics Software:
Washington Wild Things (Frontier League)
Butler BlueSox (The Prospect League)
Slippery Rock Sliders (The Prospect League)
PONY World Series
Little League World Series
Are any teams using the software to better analyze their own performance to improve – if so, any examples?
While we certainly cannot take all the credit for our clients’ successes, it is interesting to note that the Canadian men’s and women’s hockey team who won gold and the Finnish hockey teams who won bronze at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics were all clients of our video analysis coaching software (called STEVA).
Pointstreak’s STEVA product is completely centered around the idea of helping coaches and players improve on-ice success. The product slogan is “Visualize Success”, which is a perfect summary of the whole concept: tag up video, index it, and use it to find out what you are doing well and what you could be doing better. Furthermore, the same concept can be applied against your competitors to help identify weak points or to guide preparations such as match-ups, situational tactics, etc.
Can fan/fantasy leagues use the system as well – if so, how is it being used?
Yes, we do have a ‘fantasy league’ module that we can enable for our clients. For example, the Major League Lacrosse uses our fantasy league software to easily allow fans to run their own fantasy leagues. Because we have a streamlined system to capture and organize game and player statistics, the setup and maintenance of a fantasy league is completely automated for our clients.
We also have one Strat-O-Matic Hockey league using Pointstreak. Strat-O-Matic is a sports simulation board game that has somewhat of a cult following. Our baseball platform could easily be used by Strat-O-Matic baseball leagues.
Much of your focus in on baseball and hockey – is football in the future for Pointstreak? Why/why not?
Our vision is to have a robust stats solution for all the major, global sports, so yes, football is definitely our radar. We already have football clients like the Indoor Football League, Texas High School Football, and the Flag Football World Championships. We expect that the football market is going to become a much larger part of our business in the coming years.
We have also recently entered basketball with our acquisition of CREZ Basketball, a leading basketball stats application, so that is a market we are just beginning to make our presence felt in.
Some feel that there’s too much emphasis on statistics in sports today – what do you think of this and how does your software help enhance the sporting experience versus making the focus solely on statistics?
The reality is, for the youth and young adults of the world, an online experience is an integral part of anything they do. By creating a rich online experience for these athletes we strengthen their ties to their sport and make it more likely that they will continue to participate in their sport. Combine that with the fact that we offer parents the opportunity to stay connected to their child’s sporting activities in real-time even when they cannot make the game, and we feel we have a lot to offer sports organizations.
At the professional level, especially with the release of the recent movie Moneyball, there has been plenty of discussion on how much should statistics be used in the role of scouting and player evaluation. The general consensus is that the old school method of simply watching a player can be enhanced with the use of statistical analysis. The majority of MLB teams now employ a department that manipulate the statistics for their own scouting purposes. Pointstreak shares data with a few MLB teams as well as having an official partnership with NHL Central Scouting.
Are there plans to open this up to consumers so that anyone can use this to track their own individual players/sports of interest rather than this being a team/league centered offering?
We do offer a Pointstreak iPhone app / iPad app for $9.99 that allows consumers to score their own team’s games or for scorekeeping hobbyists who like to score along with MLB games (we even have built in MLB rosters that one can download). We also have something called Team Locker Room, a free online tool that helps amateur teams and coaches manage their team (schedule games, track attendance, enter basic stats). However, Pointstreak’s core business is on helping entire leagues streamline their stats collection and improve the player or fan experience.
Could this be applicable to non-sports applications. Say, helping businesses get statistical analysis on their operations, etc.?
Yes, the principles are the same: Streamlining data collection, crunchin numbers, posting to the Internet, etc. However, there are plenty of companies focused on that space, so our plan is to specialize in technology that meets the unique needs and challenges of sports organizations.
What’s next in terms of offerings/applications?
About a year ago we released a product called Pointstreak Live Publisher. This is a revolutionary idea that married our traditional hockey/baseball scoring software with our then recently acquired video indexing software (STEVA). The result is a seamless system that automatically captures a video clip from a baseball or hockey game, indexes it to the relevant statistical event (e.g. goal or home run), and then uploads it to the web in real-time.
We had good adoption of Live Publisher with leagues like the Central Hockey League (CHL), the North American Hockey League (NAHL), Central Canadian Hockey League (CCHL), but what we are extremely excited about is the R&D that is under way to bring this idea of automated video highlights down to the grassroots hockey and baseball leagues. Imagine as a parent of a young hockey player, for example, having a highlight clip of every one of your child’s goals from the start of their competitive hockey career. Imagine if we could have that sort of historical video archive for a great like Sidney Crosby?
Any other thoughts for readers?
If anyone reading this participates in a hockey/baseball league and you think or KNOW the league needs to catch up on technology, join our Facebook page and join the conversation about how Pointstreak can help.