NFL Selects Sportradar For Data Distribution to Sportsbooks

NFL Selects Sportradar For Data Distribution to Sportsbooks

The National Football League signed an exclusive multiyear agreement with Sportradar on Monday to allow the company to collect and distribute official NFL game and player data to sportsbook operators in the U.S. and around the world.

It’s the first such deal the NFL has signed in its 99 years of existence and the first major step that the league has taken in the brave new world of U.S. sports betting.

The NFL-Sportradar data distribution deal is an extension of an existing partnership between the league and the company, according to a Sportradar release. That relationship began in 2015 when the NFL tabbed Sportradar to be the league’s exclusive distributor of official play-by-play statistics and proprietary Next Gen Stats to media outlets.

A Seminal Moment for U.S. Sports Betting

The expanded deal between the NFL and Sportradar is a seminal moment on the American sports betting landscape that began to grow rapidly after May 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. That law had previously placed a federal ban on sports gambling in most states.

Since that dramatic shift in the American sports betting scene, major professional sports leagues have sought ways to maximize profits in the new environment.

While most stakeholders were tepid on the possibility of expanding the U.S. sports gambling market beyond Las Vegas before the Supreme Court’s decision was revealed, the general consensus after the fact was that sports betting would become a huge market in America and it was part of the fiduciary duty of those presiding within league offices to respond to the new environment with new strategies.

So leagues started entering into partnerships with companies like Sportradar and its main rival, Genius Sports. Those data distributors are allowed to collect and share official league data with legal and regulated sportsbook operations all over the world as well as various media outlets and league-sponsored digital channels.

NFL Moved Slowly In Selecting Data Partner

The NFL was the last of the four major professional U.S.-based sports leagues – including Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) – to sign an exclusive deal with a data firm to collect and share official league data with regulated sportsbook operators.

Already the richest and most popular U.S. professional sports league, the NFL took its time compared to other sports leagues in finding the right data distribution partner for its specific situation. In fact, MLB, the NBA and NHL have all three separately signed multiple marketing partnerships and data distribution deals with companies tabbed to provide official league data to operators across the globe.

But the NFL had the most to gain in making such a move, so it appears the decision-makers at the league offices wanted to be certain they were selecting the right fit.

NFL Had Most To Gain Per Projection Models

According to a Bloomberg report on Monday, multiple industry reports suggest the NFL’s projected revenue boost from legalized sports gambling was more than twice the next closest competitor’s projection and as much as four times as the NBA.

With so much financial incentive, it seems reasonable the NFL would prefer to take a cautious approach to entering the new market.

Selecting Sportradar seemed like a good bet all along, but it was finally made official on Monday. After all, Sportradar is an industry leader in the sports data collection and distribution space and was already collecting NFL data to distribute to media outlets around the world.

Moreover, Sportradar already had similar deals in place with other major sports leagues which meant that the company had already been thoroughly vetted multiple times by other leagues with similar interests as the NFL.

Sportradar Already Partners with MLB, NBA and NHL

The two main sports data providers in the U.S. are Sportradar and Genius Sports. Each company has some level of data distribution deal with three of the four major sports leagues. Additionally, Sportradar has now entered into an exclusive agreement with the NFL, while Genius Sports has focused its efforts on the 10-year partnership it started with the NCAA last year.

Sportradar became the exclusive sports betting data distributor of MLB for international gaming markets in 2019. The company has also provided real-time NHL play-by-play and game statistics to media and technology companies worldwide via the NHL’s proprietary Hockey Information Tracking System since 2015, and has been the official data distributor of the NBA since 2016.

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