Extreme Networks announced Monday that it reached a deal with the NFL to remain as the official Wi-Fi network solutions provider and official Wi-Fi analytics provider of the league through 2024.
The multi-year partnership has considerable implications for in-game betting from an in-stadium perspective as mobile sports wagering continues to proliferate. Mobile sports betting is live in more than a dozen states, with several others ready to add an online component over the next six months.
Under the deal, the San Jose-based, cloud-driven networking company is adding new Wi-Fi 6 deployments with several NFL franchises, including the Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, and Seattle Seahawks. Wi-Fi 6 is largely considered to be the next generation of Wi-Fi based on its added speed capabilities and improved efficiency.
“Stadium environments require high-density, powerful Wi-Fi networks that can be adjusted and scaled depending on the needs of each event, and these are environments where Extreme excels,” Norman Rice, who serves as the chief operating officer at Extreme Networks, said in a press release. “With the right network technology and analytics in place, the NFL can continue to make data-driven decisions that advance the game and keep fans engaged.”
Sports betting ramifications
In many respects, network analytics are the currency that drives innovative new products such as real-time sports betting and mobile concessions, Rice added. While in-game betting represented about 35% of PointsBet’s handle in 2019, the figure this summer moved to around 50%, PointsBet U.S. Head of Trading Jay Croucher told USBets in June. Croucher expects the in-game/pre-game split to be about 70/30 by 2023.
On Sunday, the Seahawks and the Kansas City Chiefs both squandered second-half, double-digit leads, resulting in major odds fluctuations on in-game markets nationwide. At DraftKings, the Chiefs’ odds in-game jumped to +800 in the waning minutes of a Sunday Night Football contest against the Ravens, after Kansas City running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire lost a fumble with the Chiefs in field goal range with 1:25 left.
Better insights and more flexibility matter!
National Football League (NFL) and Extreme Networks extend partnership through 2024. Just starting the ninth season together, Extreme is the third longest tenured technology partner for…https://t.co/ZlXxNZHQZZ https://t.co/sfkEpkleG0
— Wes Durow (@WDurow) September 20, 2021
In-game betting is expected to receive greater visibility during the 2021 NFL season after a flurry of sports betting-related moves by the league in recent months. In April, the NFL inked a historic partnership with Genius Sports that granted the data provider exclusive rights to the distribution of the league’s sports betting data feed. It came on the heels of the NFL’s new 11-year, $100 billion-plus media and digital rights deal, one that is the most lucrative broadcast partnership in the history of professional sports.
Michelle McKenna, the NFL’s chief innovations officer, noted that as fan expectations for technology-driven experiences evolve, it is incumbent on the league to meet those expectations each gameday.
“Our partnership with Extreme allows us to stay ahead of the curve, providing every team in the NFL with a resource for leading stadium Wi-Fi network technology,” McKenna said in a statement. “We’re extending our relationship with Extreme because we want to continue working with a partner that is equally invested in creating a superior fan experience every single week.”
For the moment, it is unclear if any NFL venues are geofenced to prevent bettors from accessing mobile sports betting apps operated by non-partners of the league. Around the same time the NFL announced its partnership with Genius Sports, the league also disclosed that it had reached deals with DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars Sportsbook as official sports betting partners of the league. Separately, the NFL completed partnerships with BetMGM, FOX Bet, PointsBet, and WynnBet in August that designated the companies as league-authorized gaming operators.
Rice could not be reached for further comment Monday , but he previously addressed the tools at a stadium’s disposal to provide favoritism to sportsbooks that have secured partnerships with certain teams. In 2018, months after the Supreme Court’s PASPA decision, Rice indicated that a sportsbook that is partnering with the team had the capability to amplify its mobile app to gain an advantage in speed over its competitors.
Through our extended partnership with the @NFL, Extreme solutions will be deployed in 29 stadiums, supporting 31 teams. https://t.co/55bml96yI0 #analytics #WiFi #EveryDayIsGameDay pic.twitter.com/3jkLeIgnNJ
— Extreme Networks (@ExtremeNetworks) September 20, 2021
For in-game betting, speed is at a premium. When Broncos wideout Jerry Jeudy suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 1 against the Giants, Denver led 10-7 at the 8:40 mark of the third quarter. Theoretically, a bettor inside MetLife Stadium had the ability to front run a sportsbook if the odds were not updated in an instant. In some cases, the loss of a prominent offensive player, usually a quarterback, can move the line as much as 7 points. Several books have developed a reputation for delaying the acceptance of in-game wagers in order to adjust the line to a major development in the contest.
It is also unclear if there is a wide disparity in latency between the fastest stadium Wi-Fi network in the league and the slowest. The sports betting industry continually strives to deliver a low-latency environment, where in-game odds are updated seconds after a play is completed.
Through the extended partnership, Extreme will begin working with an additional five NFL stadiums that are home to six teams. Analytics powered by Extreme Networks will also be in use at SoFi Stadium during Super Bowl LVI in February, the company said.