The NBA announced this morning that it has reached agreements with Sportradar and Genius Sports allowing both companies to distribute official league data to licensed sports betting operators in the United States.
Under the terms of the deal, the NBA will provide Sportradar and Genius Sports with official data for all NBA and WNBA games preseason through playoffs. Sportradar and Genius Sports will then be authorized to distribute that data to sportsbook operators and betting platforms licensed in the US.
Sportradar and Genius Sports are both well-established sports betting data companies that provide international betting operators with the data they need to manage odds, provide in-play betting, monitor for suspicious betting patterns, provide results to bookmakers and much more. Collectively, the two companies employ more than 3,000 people around the world.
Here’s what NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said about the deal in a statement today:
“Sportradar and Genius Sports are proven leaders in data distribution and will deliver unparalleled, real-time official NBA betting data. As the sports betting landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, these new partnerships will provide robust and reliable data to ensure the best possible gaming experience for our fans in the U.S.”
Deals Head Off Clash Over Data Distribution
The NBA was wise to strike these partnerships because doing so heads off a clash between the league and two companies that could have been its chief rivals in distributing data to licensed sportsbooks.
Over the past year, the NBA, MLB and PGA have lobbied state legislatures to include provisions in sports betting legislation that would require sportsbooks to rely exclusively on official data supplied by the leagues for the purposes of settling wagers and offering in-play betting.
The leagues argued that having exclusive rights to data such as scores, winning teams and so on was necessary to protect the integrity of the game. However, what it probably comes down to in reality is the fact that sports betting data is very valuable.
So far, every state that has legalized sports betting has denied the leagues’ demands. In light of their failure to get what they want by force of law, the leagues have turned to forming partnerships with major gaming operators through mutually-beneficial arrangements rather than through government mandate.
For example, the NBA reached a deal with MGM Resorts International back in August that included, among other things, granting MGM access to real-time data from the NBA. That deal benefits the NBA financially while also giving MGM Resorts data critical to running in-play betting markets.
Deals with individual operators have alleviated some of the league’s concerns, but one other prospect the NBA faced was a showdown with other data services such as Sportradar and Genius Sports that make a living supplying similar data to sports betting operators. By partnering with two major data providers, the NBA heads off competing with them to supply its own data to sportsbooks across the country.
Sportradar and Genius Sports also benefit by being able to tap in directly to NBA data and then distribute that data to in-person and online sportsbooks. This will give the companies timelier data and save them the trouble of collecting that data on their own. Plus, they won’t have to compete with the NBA to sell that data to sportsbook operators now that they have the league’s blessing.
One potential downside for the NBA is that today’s partnerships provide even more evidence that government mandates are simply unnecessary. Although the NBA will continue its lobbying efforts for data mandates and integrity fees, lawmakers will have to ask why such mandates are necessary in the first place if the league has been able to reach multiple deals of this sort on its own through free negotiations.
Still, the deal makes sense from just about every angle. The PGA TOUR seems to agree, as it too reached a similar agreement with sports betting services provider IMG Arena.