Spalk, a company that allows viewers to choose their preferred language, style, or even team bias for commentary, has announced a $1.5 million seed round. Former professional golfer Greg Norman and his business, the Greg Norman Company, led the investment. Stadia Ventures, Ice Angels, and Sparkbox ventures also contributed to the fundraising round according to a press release.
Commentators can call games remotely from a laptop anywhere in the world and Spalk’s proprietary Live Sync technology ensures lip-sync synchronization between their alternate audio and the livestream. Users can access the service using a plug-in.
A New York City-based company with New Zealand origins, Spalk was named the winner of “Greg Norman’s Search for the Next Sports Entrepreneur” held at the University of Miami in March 2017. Since launching last year, Spalk has covered over 5,000 live events with over 100 partners, spanning broadcasters, sports leagues, and OTT providers.
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“As the world becomes increasingly more global, a one-size fits all approach to sports broadcasting is no longer relevant,” Norman said in a Spalk press release. “Demographically targeted commentary is a win-win for both fans and broadcasters and Spalk is leading the way.”
Spalk’s broadcast commentary technology has been used by FIBA, World Rugby, and several Division I conferences in the NCAA. The press release states that the Greg Norman Company’s investment will help grow the company in North America and expand it into golf and other sports.
“By leveraging Spalk’s patented Virtual Commentary Studio, sports leagues and broadcasters no longer have to fly commentators to the stadium or studio to call games—they can do it from a laptop anywhere in the world,” said Ben Reynolds, CEO of Spalk, in the press release. “We place high value on the right strategic partners and are thrilled to announce the support from Greg Norman and our other investors.”
Norman’s previous business ventures have indicated that the former player has an interest in technology that can disrupt the sports broadcasting experience for fans. Earlier this year, Norman partnered with the PGA Tour to equip his Shark Experience golf cars with PGA Tour Live streaming capability.
Last year, Spalk told SportTechie that it charges broadcasters $0.02 to $0.10 per viewer hour, based on the total number of viewers. FIBA used Spalk at the 2017 U19 World Basketball Championships. During that tournament, more than 90 commentators in five different languages covered games for six million basketball fans all around the world.