The NBA and Sportradar AG announced a comprehensive, multi-year partnership Wednesday, providing the latest chapter in the cutthroat turf war for global sports betting data rights.
Under the deal, Sportradar will serve as the exclusive provider of NBA worldwide betting data for the NBA, the WNBA, and the NBA G League, according to a joint statement. The deal extends a relationship that began in 2016 when the NBA announced a multi-year partnership that made Sportradar an official provider of real-time NBA league statistics. Sportradar will continue to distribute live game video to international sports betting operators, which is made available to bettors in real time.
Sportradar apparently outbid archrival Genius Sports for the lucrative contract. Last October, the NBA renewed non-exclusive partnerships with both data providers for the distribution of the league’s official sports betting data feed to sportsbook operators throughout the U.S. The multi-year deal announced Wednesday will take effect beginning with the 2023-24 NBA season.
“Sportradar has been a terrific partner as the league has navigated its exploration into the global sports betting landscape,” said Scott Kaufman-Ross, NBA senior vice president and head of gaming & new business ventures. “As the market matures, we are thrilled to extend our partnership with Sportradar to utilize data and insights to create new fan experiences and innovate around the NBA globally.”
In the U.S., the NBA is transitioning away from their previous non-exclusive model for data distribution, a source familiar with the agreement told Sports Handle. With the new deal that begins in 2023-24, the agreement will provide Sportradar with a “greater degree of exclusivity,” the source explained. At the same time, there will still be some flexibility for the league to work with others in the industry to “help facilitate innovation,” within the space.
As it relates to participating sportsbooks, there may be another option for operators beginning in 2023-24 to partner with an alternative data provider, according to the source. But it would be for the purposes of facilitating innovation in the space and Sportradar would be a part of that process, the source indicated.
An equity stake for the NBA
Drawing parallels with the NFL’s historic deal with Genius in April, the NBA will receive an equity stake in Sportradar under the partnership. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The NFL’s deal with Genius provided the league with 22.5 million warrants, representing approximately 5% of the company. The league initially secured a stake in Genius worth about $450 million.
Sportradar announced the partnership with the NBA on the same day the Swiss-based company released financial results for the third quarter of 2021. During the quarter, Sportradar had revenue of €136.8 million ($158.7 million), up 30% from the same period a year earlier. At the same time, Sportradar reported adjusted EBITDA of €20.9 million ($24.2 million), a year-over-year increase of 21% from the third quarter of 2020.
🤝 An historic day for Sportradar as we sign an exclusive, long-term, global deal with the @NBA to develop innovative products for fans of the most popular U.S. sport in the world, basketball. #landmarkdeal | #basketball
— Sportradar (@Sportradar) November 17, 2021
“We are delighted that the NBA has chosen Sportradar as the official partner who can support the global popularity and explosive growth of the game,” said Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl. “Basketball is the largest U.S. sport in the world by popularity and, as a market leader, we are best positioned with the technological expertise and industry relationships to help the NBA entertain fans globally.”
Micro betting implications
The new relationship, according to the NBA, includes expanded distribution rights regarding the use of player tracking data. Peruse the site of a top sportsbook operator and you expect to see dozens of player props on the nightly slate. On Tuesday, for instance, WynnBet offered a prop on Dejounte Murray’s total rebounds at -105 for over 7.5. Murray, a fifth-year point guard with the San Antonio Spurs, pulled down 12 boards in the Spurs’ 106-92 loss to the Clippers, easily surpassing the total.
In the relative near future, cutting-edge technology may allow bettors to wager on the location of where a player will hit a shot from various hot spots on the court. If the Warriors are tied in the waning seconds of an intense playoff game, a bettor may eventually be able to wager on whether Steph Curry will hit a 3-pointer from the right wing or the top of the key. At the moment, Sportradar does not offer those bet types.
— DigitalSportsDesk 🏆 (@DigSportsDesk) January 14, 2021
In June, Genius acquired Second Spectrum, a player tracking analytics company, for $200 million. While in-game betting has been a fixture of European sports betting shops for years, the activity is smaller in the U.S. but rapidly gaining popularity. From a viewer engagement standpoint, broadcast networks can use in-game betting as an entertainment vehicle for fans in the midst of a lopsided fourth-quarter blowout.
Another immediate takeaway from the partnership centers on the financial implications for regional sportsbooks. While industry heavyweights can afford to purchase multiple data feeds from several companies, the smaller books may struggle to absorb the costs. When the partnership takes effect, these books will now have to decide whether to purchase multiple feeds for access to official data from the NBA and NFL. The books may opt instead to offer in-game betting on a more limited basis or eschew in-play wagering altogether.
On the NasdaqGS, Sportradar surged on the news Wednesday, gaining more than 10% in pre-market trading to $23.90 a share. Sportradar debuted at $27 in September on the first day of trading as a public company.