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NBA partnership marks Sportradar’s biggest deal to date

Sports data and betting-related services company Sportradar has signed its biggest deal to date – a wide-ranging, long-term partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced today (Thursday).

From the upcoming 2016-17 season, Sportradar will distribute NBA data and video feeds to betting operators outside of the US. It will also provide the NBA with its ‘Integrity Services’, which monitor suspicious betting activity across more than 550 betting operators worldwide.

From 2017-18, Sportradar will become the NBA’s Official Provider of Real-time League Statistics, delivering data from the NBA, Women’s NBA and NBA Development League to fans, teams and the media in more than 80 territories.

“This partnership is the most comprehensive we’ve ever entered into,” Ulrich Harmuth, Sportradar managing director, told SportBusiness International. “It covers all areas of our business – from streaming to betting operators and data distribution, to our integrity services and the distribution of tracking data.

“The deal obviously puts us into a stronger position in the US market, but the NBA is such a huge global brand that it will help grow our business in regions such as China, where basketball is a key sport.”

The NBA and Sportradar declined to comment on the value of the deal. Last month, the Bloomberg news agency, citing “people familiar with the negotiations”, reported that it was worth $250m (€223.6m). The deal runs until the end of the 2022-23 season.

Data market strength

The deal strengthens Sportradar’s grip on US sports data and sports betting data – it is now the official betting data distributor of three of the four major US leagues. It is the exclusive distributor of real-time game data for both the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) – the latter through its acquisition of Sportsman Media Group earlier this year – and also provides betting data services to the National Football League (NFL).

Sportradar replaces data rivals Perform, as the NBA’s distributor of betting data, and STATS, as distributor of media data and player-tracking technology provider.

Evan Wasch, NBA senior vice-president for basketball strategy and analytics, told SportBusiness International that the league spoke to “many potential partners”. Sportradar – and its partner in the deal Second Spectrum – were selected, after a competitive process, because they were “strategically aligned with the NBA, committed to innovation and able to bring a fresh perspective to the data space”.

Technology partner

Machine-learning specialist Second Spectrum is a key player in the new partnership. It will create a state-of-the-art player-tracking system for the league from 2017-18, as the NBA’s Official Optical Tracking Provider. The Los Angeles-based company, which will begin installing its player-tracking system across NBA arenas over the course of the 2016-17 season, will provide statistics such as speed, distance, drives, paint touches and defensive impact. 

Wasch said Second Spectrum’s player-tracking system will be used “ubiquitously” – by teams for player analysis, by media partners to improve broadcast coverage, and by fans through www.NBA.com, in addition to being commercialised by Sportradar.