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Genius Sports builds on FIBA partnership by supporting basketball’s new horizons

In association with Genius Sports.

(Photo by Jurij Kodrun/Getty Images)

Having played a central role in the worldwide growth of basketball through a long-term association with global governing body FIBA, Genius Sports’ partnerships with two of the sport’s newest competitions have been natural steps for the data and technology provider.

The BNXT Basketball League, which brings together teams from Belgium and the Netherlands, and the European North Basketball League – comprising teams from Northern, Central and Eastern Europe – each launched their inaugural seasons this autumn.

Genius Sports is providing both leagues with a suite of live data and fan engagement solutions that were fine-tuned under its partnership with FIBA, which stretches back to 2004 and was renewed in 2019.

FIBA LiveStats

A key pillar of Genius Sports’ work in basketball is FIBA LiveStats, which launched in 2008, four years after the governing body teamed up with the provider to launch the groundbreaking digital competition management system, FIBA Organizer.

“Accurate live data is central to how basketball fans, players, coaches, officials, and broadcasters engage with the sport at every level around the world,” says Genius Sports’ chief product officer Matthew Cowling. “If the statistics a league can capture are reliable, detailed and fast, this makes their official data a valuable commercial asset that provides several clear benefits to newly established competitions.

“Just this year, FIBA LiveStats has been at the heart of the inaugural seasons for the Basketball Africa League, a pan-African partnership between the NBA and FIBA, the BNXT Basketball League and the European North Basketball League.

“With the official live data that FIBA LiveStats captures, each of these new competitions is equipped with a vital tool to inform and engage their fans, providing rich team and player updates before, during and after every game.”

(Jurij Kodrun/Getty Images)

Setting the standard

FIBA members can also use FIBA LiveStats, as well as other Genius Sports solutions designed to streamline day-to-day operations, collate official records, and drive new commercial revenues. Indeed, the versatility of these products ensures they are relevant and applicable for leagues and organisations of all types and sizes.

“Our vision alongside FIBA was to create a digital statistics collection system that could create official, consistent, and accurate data from hundreds of competitions right around the world,” Cowling explained.

“We initially wanted to empower FIBA members to dispose of paper-based statistics collection tools, embracing digital transformation and technology that could allow them to keep pace with the ongoing sports data revolution.”

Frank Leenders, director general at FIBA Media and Marketing Services, said: “Still today, FIBA LiveStats and FIBA Organizer are setting standards in the basketball world, allowing our national federations to exploit synergies and gain access to the best state-of-the-art technology in the world of sports.

“FIBA LiveStats provides a combination of high quality and consistency. It is easy to train statisticians at various competitions. The fact that development investments can be shared across more than 200 federations and leagues means that there is an enormous amount of economies of scale, and especially smaller leagues benefit from this investment level.”

(Jurij Kodrun/Getty Images)

Global benefits

The benefits of the long-running partnership between Genius Sports and FIBA have been significant for the global game.

Over the past 13 years, FIBA LiveStats has been used across more than 100 countries, scoring hundreds of thousands of games, and delivering updates to millions of basketball fans worldwide.

The current system is the seventh version of FIBA LiveStats. According to Cowling, it bears little resemblance to the original: “Through each upgrade, we’ve focused on improving the depth, speed and quality of data that FIBA LiveStats enables each member to capture and distribute.

“We’re constantly working with FIBA to enhance our systems and provide new value to leagues and federations. For example, in the last year, we’ve launched a new instant messaging support feature, began rolling out an automatic scoreboard integration and added new fan engagement features for FIBA members to put their data to work.”

Enhancements

Over the course of their partnership, FIBA and Genius Sports have collaborated to transform various aspects of the LiveStats process and offering, including the depth of statistics available, the speed of collection, and the accuracy and quality of data.

Other developments have accelerated since the start of the pandemic. For example, through new extensions, FIBA members can benefit from widgets, push messaging updates and in-depth summaries after games via email, enhancing personalisation.

Basketball followers have a keen appetite for data-driven stories and insights, and Leenders highlighted how statistics play a vital role for various basketball stakeholders, including coaches, players, the media, scouts and agents, as well as fans.

“This importance is only growing and will continue do so in the future, so accuracy and consistency are very important,” he said.

As basketball looks to the years ahead following the challenges of the pandemic, the data-driven services and technology provided by Genius Sports can help to support the growth of FIBA members, building on the broader, growing momentum towards recovery across the sport.

According to Leenders, empowering national federations is one of FIBA’s main strategic priorities. “We will continue to support our National Federation members through various projects, programmes and services,” he said.

At the heart of that approach will be the partnership between FIBA and Genius Sports, which will help to inspire new data-driven engagement opportunities for burgeoning new basketball leagues and the sport as a whole.

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