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Red Sox using new tech to maximize TV ratings via variable start times

The Red Sox this season are "exploring ways to maximize their local television ratings through start time variation" by leaning on Recentive, a Boston-based analytics company, according to Erik Bacharach of SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Properties such as CBS, the NFL and the USTA "have used Recentive’s technology for schedule optimization," but this represents the firm’s first relationship with an MLB team after the two sides "reached agreement on a multiyear deal" earlier this month. Through Recentive, the Red Sox "have access to an on-demand, real-time web app that processes about 1,200 different data sources," all of which concern any factors that "might affect a fan’s ability to watch a game or their interest in doing so." The team can use the app to "evaluate the viability of different start times." The Red Sox would "have control only over start times for games" on NESN, which, like the team, is a subsidiary of Fenway Sports Group. Recentive CEO Andy Tabrizi said, "If you start a game at 6:30 or 7 or 7:30, what does that difference mean for ratings. We’re able to help them understand that one start might be two times better or three times worse when compared to another.” Tabrizi added that the "biggest opportunity is likely on weekends," where the start time "can be significant for ratings" (SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/24 issue).

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