Q&A With Sportradar’s Neale Deeley, VP of US Sales & Gaming

Q&A With Sportradar’s Neale Deeley, VP of US Sales & Gaming

Sportradar, a leading provider of sports data around the world, recently announced a partnership with U.S. gaming operator Penn National to supply that company with official NFL data to be used for sports betting at Penn National’s casinos and on online platform, Barstool Sportsbook.

In anticipation that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) would eventually be struck down — as the U.S. Supreme Court did in a landmark 2018 ruling — Sportradar has been and continues to advise governmental and business entities on sports wagering’s larger role.

Neale Deeley, Sportradar vice president of U.S. Sales and Gaming, discussed the Penn National partnership, along with how his company serves the sports entertainment and wagering markets overall.

Deeley’s responses have been edited for flow.

GDC: Sportradar has been a partner with more than 1,000 companies, sports leagues and federations in 80 countries. What does Sportradar provide to those partners, particularly U.S. sports leagues?

Neale Deeley: We are in both the betting and media business where we act as a data partner, and help the leagues develop and utilize their data, and distribute that among the organizations we deal with. We also work with them on (video) streaming, a very popular component on the betting landscape … allowing the customer to view the games as well. It’s very common for someone using the betting app to watch the game. We also help leagues and federations with ensuring the integrity of their games and also with the education of individuals within the sport as how to watch out for potential issues regarding integrity and how to deal with it. The services we provide will depend on the needs of the organizations.

GDC: The partnership with Penn National will involve helping that company with its online sports wagering efforts. What will be the effects on the customer experience?

ND: Being that the data is official, there are benefits in terms of the accuracy of the information and the customers’ confidence in the information they’re getting and the outcome. For the operator, there’s speed and there’s additional depth in the data we provide. But pretty much everything the end-consumer experiences will be driven by the data we are working with the leagues to provide.

GDC: What other companies are you working with in the U.S.?

ND: We have been preparing for the U.S. market to open for quite some time. The U.S. has always been a long play for Sportradar recognizing its size and its importance. One could never predict when PASPA would fall but we were confident it would so we started laying our foundation early. A lot of the organizations that have come into the U.S. market we have known from our work with them in the rest of the world. If you went down the list of the operators — the DraftKings, the FanDuels, the Fox Bets … Betfred (which has a recent partnership) with the Denver Broncos, these are all companies we have known.

GDC: How would you characterize your business?

ND: Crunching big data sets is what we’re good at. It is a fascinating technology. We have multiple hubs around the world where the magic happens. It’s amazing to see what goes into getting a single piece of data from an event to the end operator. The sheer effort of getting a score going into the back of the net of a soccer game in East Pakistan to somebody in Mexico (who is) able to get a result on a bet in a second is amazing.

GDC: In-play wagering — that bettors can place bets while a game is in progress —will have an important role in your partnership with Penn National as it applies to NFL data. But it also seems that baseball, with its natural pauses, is ripe for in-play wagering. What are your thoughts?

ND: When you consider the concept of in-play betting and combine that with mobile (devices), it’s a natural extension of how betting should be done. Baseball’s format is very well suited to it and it’s suited to the psychology of in-play betting. And that psychology is that you have an opinion and you’re going to back that opinion with your cash. The perception that some people have (of in-play betting) that someone is just churning a bet on anything over and over (is not accurate). In the vast majority of cases, it’s people making a judgment call on a halftime or a full game result because they watched the dynamics of the game. Baseball is very suited not only because there are many breaks but because of the discrete contests within the contest of the entire game. The pitcher against the batter is a discrete contest but not just that pitcher against that batter at the moment, it’s also considering how many pitches the pitcher has thrown to that point – and that’s a different matchup than earlier in the game between the same pitcher and the same batter. So all those things go into framing that opinion.

In-play betting is the predominant form of betting around the world … it will grow as a proportion of the U.S. market.

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