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IT service provider expands into new segment – digitalisation of the sport business: adesso enters sport business

adesso is expanding its range of industry solutions and entering the sport market. adesso has enjoyed strong links to the sport industry for a number of years now, including as an official sponsor of Borussia Dortmund’s youth and women’s teams; IT partner to the club and to the German football association, DFB GmbH; and co-investor in sport streaming service Staige. Now the company is offering a tailor-made portfolio aimed at the sport industry, where adesso is able to draw on its 25 years of digitalisation expertise.

adesso has always taken every opportunity to embrace sporting activity and achievement within the company, too: From B2Run, CIO company running events, marathons, sponsored gym memberships for employees and internal running and sport clubs to occupational health and safety management, sport and fitness have always been a top priority at adesso.

“As a result, offering digital solutions and products to associations, clubs and companies in the sport industry in a new, separate division is the next logical step,” said adesso founder Prof. Dr Volker Gruhn. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of adesso, himself a marathon runner and huge football fan, was personally responsible for initiating adesso’s business with the likes of DFB GmbH (as a service provision partner) and Borussia Dortmund (sponsor and IT partner) as well as its investments in start-ups such as Staige, iotis and Wingfield, which are focused on the smart deployment of IT and artificial intelligence in sport.

Industry expert Sebastian Frank tasked with establishing the Sports team at adesso

adesso has secured the services of a digital pro from company partner BVB to deliver the necessary industry expertise: qualified sports economist Sebastian Frank (36) is set to join the adesso Sports team after a decade of success at BVB, where he played a key role in shaping the club’s digital development. Frank knows the professional sport business like the back of his hand and is proficient in every instrument of digitalisation on the market. His most recent role at BVB was as Head of CRM, E-Commerce and Service, but now the 36-year-old has the chance to combine his experience in marketing automation, loyalty, apps, social media and fan and customer services with the necessary industry focus offered by adesso. “I can’t wait to take on this new challenge at adesso,” said the new adesso signing. “We have worked together before on the introduction of the Salesforce platform at BVB, a project in which adesso played a major supporting role. After a number of exciting years at the Bundesliga club, I am really looking forward to working for a company whose core competency is realising high-quality digital products and solutions in a sporting context as well.”

Sebastian Frank joins the

Sebastian Frank joins the "Sports" team at adesso after ten successful years at BVB. (Copyright: adesso)

For Oliver Kowalke, qualified IT engineer and Head of the new Sports division at adesso, finding Frank was a stroke of luck: “His cross-divisional role at BVB means that Sebastian was able to gather experience in a variety of areas of professional sport business and knows exactly what’s required when it comes to digitalisation in the industry. With Sebastian on board, we will now be building a competitive roster to offer digital services and products in the areas of sport marketing and merchandising, campaigning, fan and customer experience, membership services, sponsorship, ticketing, platform business and digital commerce.” Another two top transfers from the Bundesliga have also been secured: Uwe Fischer, former division manager at VfB Stuttgart and FC Augsburg, and Alexander Titze, former head of department at FC Augsburg, will be supporting adesso Sports customers with their expertise and experience from September.

Oliver Kowalke will head the new business unit

Oliver Kowalke will head the new business unit "Sports" at adesso: "Together with Sebastian we are building a strong team." (Copyright: Private)

Data-driven applications in the sport industry

adesso believes that data-driven applications will become increasingly important across all customer segments in the sport industry moving forward. With its range of sports analytics services, adesso can create added value for clubs and associations in a broad range of areas: from match and player data analysis and support for training theory and transfer dealings to innovative applications in the global scouting operations of professional athletes and players. Such services draw on the high-tech methods and tools from adesso’s data and analytics segment (placed first in the Big Data Consulting category at the IT-AWARDS 2021 organised by BigData-Insider and publisher Vogel IT-Medien).

Customer base: from large sporting associations to specialist marketing companies and tech start-ups

adesso’s new industry offering is aimed at both large sporting associations, such as DFB GmbH, which adesso has already worked together with as a strategic digital partner, and professional clubs such as BVB, with which adesso has collaborated as a sponsorship and IT partner since autumn 2020. According to the Head of the new Sports division, Oliver Kowalke, adesso is already in advanced talks with a number of leading German sporting associations.

Perimeter advertising by adesso in the BVB stadium (Copyright: adesso)

Perimeter advertising by adesso in the BVB stadium (Copyright: adesso)

The new range of adesso products and solutions is also marketed at stadium operators, sports brands, sports marketers and agencies and other companies operating in or close to the sport industry – including sport-focused tech companies such as sport video games studios and sports betting companies.

“Professional sport is where enjoyment and passion collide with a hard-nosed business approach,” said Volker Gruhn, summarising the activities of his company in the new Sports division. “We are dealing with fans here, not customers, who require entire arenas and fan worlds to show their support. Conventional CRM, CEX and ERP systems are just as important in this industry as features such as user-optimised web portals and cloud solutions. In the core business of the sport industry – on the pitch, of course – data-driven themes such as performance analytics and AI-supported scouting are also important. Here at adesso we are really looking forward to utilising all of our expertise in these areas in such an exciting industry.”

More information on the new range of sport products and solutions can be found on the adesso website at: and in the adesso podcast series IT-Tacheles, episode 22 featuring Volker Gruhn and Oliver Kowalke, at

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