CHICAGO – December 9, 2019 – Today, Stats Perform, the revolutionary leader in sports AI and data, announced the hire of Steve and Peter Hirdt, the two biggest innovators in U.S. sports broadcast research and content over the past four decades. The Hirdt brothers join Stats Perform from Elias Sports Bureau with Steve taking over as senior director of operations and research and Peter as senior director of content and broadcast services.
“Having worked in network television for 45 years, there is no single person I have relied upon or trusted more than Steve Hirdt,” said legendary NBC sports broadcaster Al Michaels. “Together we’ve worked close to a thousand events (baseball, football, basketball), and he’s made every telecast better. His perspective is unmatched. Working with Steve has been an honor, and the countless times I’ve been praised for coming up with fascinating information, let the truth be told: It almost always came from Steve. This is a major, major coup for Stats Perform.”
The Hirdts are synonymous with sports data in the United States, having pioneered the widespread use of statistics in sports media. The standards that the Hirdts established and the language and techniques they developed are fundamental to the statistical content produced by leagues, teams, and the media.
“If you talk to anyone across the sports broadcast industry, Steve and Peter’s names come up as two of the most influential minds for modern sports statistics and media coverage,” Stats Perform Chief Executive Officer Carl Mergele said. “Over the past four decades, they instilled standards and practices that led the sports broadcast industry to embrace the use of data to enhance storytelling. Now they join Stats Perform at a pivotal moment as we use industry-leading AI and our unmatched historical database to unlock a new set of sports insights. Having Steve and Peter on board takes our illustrious research media team to an even higher level.”
Steve Hirdt is the country’s foremost expert on sports statistics. From his research on the first edition of The Baseball Encyclopedia, to his groundbreaking work on ABC Monday Night Baseball, and 35 years as an Emmy Award-winning director of information on Monday Night Football on both ABC and ESPN, Steve has been an influential advocate for sports data that is accurate, innovative and interesting. During his career at the Elias Sports Bureau, including more than 20 years as executive vice president, Steve’s deep sports knowledge and insight made him a trusted advisor to the country’s leading sports executives, writers and broadcasters. He is also a frequent committee member for the Baseball Hall of Fame and a recognized voice on documentaries and talk shows.
“I am thrilled to join the team at Stats Perform, which already has deep roots in sports broadcasts worldwide,” Steve said. “With recent advancements in AI, Stats Perform is at the forefront of ushering in new capabilities for data and statistics in sports. We look forward to joining the team to create the new wave of sports broadcast.”
Before Stats Perform, Peter spent more than four decades at the Elias Sports Bureau, where he mastered the presentation of statistical content during 16 years consulting on ABC Monday Night Baseball and Monday Night Football and CBS Sports’ MLB coverage. Peter was also the lead writer of the Elias Baseball Analyst (nine annual editions) and Elias Says, a daily column on ESPN.com for 13 years. He conceived, designed and managed the Graphics Library, a service now used on virtually all MLB, NBA, and NHL telecasts. He served as liaison to Elias’ broadcast and media clients, led the company’s expansion into soccer, and developed and implemented its social media strategy. As a vice president since the mid-1990s, Peter negotiated contracts with many of Elias’ largest clients.
“We are excited for the opportunity to bring our decades of experience in statistics and sports media to a company with the infrastructure and technology to fully support our initiatives,” Peter said. “Stats Perform is at the forefront of using AI and machine learning to get deeper and faster meaning out of sports moments. I am thrilled to join and take advantage of the new AI capabilities at our disposal.”
Stats Perform powers broadcasters and digital destinations with data-driven insights, industry-leading global research support, editorial content and photos that keep audiences informed and engaged with the action. With historical databases reaching back to the 1870s, Stats Perform covers hundreds of leagues including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, NCAA Football, men’s and women’s college basketball, EPL, EFL Championship, La Liga, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Serie A, PSL, QSL, NRL and Top 14.
“Steve and Peter’s illustrious careers have had a direct impact on the way we watch and conceptualize sports today,” Stats Perform Chief Operating Officer Mike Perez said. “Stats Perform has one of the best media research teams in the business and having the Hirdts at the helm opens us up for so many exciting opportunities.”
This week, the Hirdts are attending the 2019 Baseball Winter Meetings™ in San Diego, California.
Mike Breen of ESPN and ABC said: “The Hirdt family has had an extraordinary impact on how we view and enjoy our sports. Their integrity and accuracy are only exceeded by their love and passion for the sports they cover.”
Bob Costas of MLB Network said: “For decades, the Hirdts have provided keenly insightful and always 100 percent reliable information enhancing the depth of sports coverage and the quality of its presentation. The key has been not just the wealth of raw data, but an editorial sense that produces genuine insights and interesting story lines supported by that data.”