As technology and advanced analytics become more involved in sports, Major League Baseball finds itself facing a lawsuit.
Per Deadspin's Emma Baccellieri, Sportvision's parent company, Sports Media Technology, is suing MLB Advanced Media. Under the terms of their contract, per the lawsuit, MLB Advanced Media was supposed to finance the Sportvision-created Pitchf/x system, and then Sportvision would share in the revenue MLB Advanced Media generated selling the service to MLB broadcasters and subscribers.
However, Sports Media Technology says that MLB Advanced Media has breached the contract by creating Statcast. That system could infringe on its patent.
The suit says that MLB Advanced Media used information from a former Sportvision employee, Ryan Zander, to build its own version of an advanced stats system.
As Baccellieri details, Pitchf/x uses cameras to provide in-depth details on pitches, from velocity to spin rate. On the other hand, Statcast has found a way to use both cameras and radar to track pitches.
The lawsuit says that the contract between the two sides runs through December 2019. In addition, it says that Sportvision and ESPN co-own the virtual-strike-zone patent through the year 2023. That gives them the exclusivity of being able to use a strike-zone graphic as well as show where pitches are thrown in relation to the zone.
Overall, MLB Advanced Media is being accused of infringing a patent, failing to fulfill its contract with Sportvision and misappropriating trade secrets.
Sports Media Technology spent more than $25 million to acquire Sportvision back in October 2016. If the patent is being infringed upon, the company is not getting as much value as expected when it made the deal.