The Association of European Professional Football Leagues (European Leagues) has agreed an expanded data rights deal with rivals Genius Sports, Sportradar and Stats Perform that covers a total of 16 top-tier football leagues across Europe.
The new agreement, which took effect at the start of the 2019-20 season but has only now been announced, runs until the end of the 2021-22 campaign.
Through the renewed deal, Genius, Sportradar and Stats Perform have all been awarded “optimal, secure positions in-stadia for the live collection of fast data” that is then sold on to their betting company clients.
In 2017, the trio were awarded an agreement encompassing the top leagues in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The scope of the contract has been widened from the 2019-20 season onwards to also include top divisions in the Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Portugal, Romania and Serbia.
The fast-path data collection rights to the 16 leagues were tendered by European Leagues at the start of 2019. Bids were invited for three or five seasons with the contract now awarded for the former term. The 16 leagues came together to offer centralised data collection and supply rights, including in-venue data collection (event data, fast data and related products).
European Leagues said that it will look to work with the three companies in areas related to, for example, the protection and use of official league data in new and innovative ways.
Jacco Swart, managing director of European Leagues, said today (Wednesday): “This partnership captures one of the key aims of the European Leagues when it comes to providing valuable and innovative services to our member leagues. The European Leagues are uniquely positioned to take advantage of opportunities such as these and we look forward to continuing to support the development of our members in relation to league business development.
“I’m delighted that we have not only been able to continue the relationship we have developed with these companies but that the number of leagues participating in this collective commercial project increased significantly which is the best proof that this approach functions.”
The extension (and widening) of the existing data rights agreement could lay the foundation for European Leagues to go to market with (the more lucrative) centralised betting streaming rights to various leagues.
The leagues body is understood to have looked at pooling together the rights – with the permission of member leagues – but is first faced with untangling the matrix of leagues’ existing international media and betting rights deals with third parties and of varying lengths.
Data rights to the leagues in England and Scotland were not included in the European Leagues offering as they are retained by Football DataCo, the data rights-holder of all competitions organised by the Premier League, English Football League and Scottish Professional Football League. Perform’s Opta and RunningBall were Football DataCo’s official media and betting data partners up until the end of 2018-19 but were replaced by Genius Sports from 2019-20 onwards.
Thereafter, Sportradar became embroiled in a legal dispute with Genius over the latter’s exclusive ability to gather data from the Premier League, EFL and SPFL competitions. Genius was also appointed in the middle of 2019 to distribute live Serie A data to its global network of licensed sportsbook operators.
Commenting on the renewal of the European Leagues agreement, Genius Sports’ managing director Steven Burton said: “This expanded partnership with the European Leagues outlines our commitment to providing sports with a fair and transparent return from betting on their games. Each of the leagues included in this agreement has control over how their data is collected and distributed, affording vital visibility to safeguard their competitions.”
David Lampitt, Sportradar’s managing director of sports partnerships, remarked: “We view cooperation as key to the integrity, growth and sustainability of global sport, and we look forward to continuing to work together in an open, transparent and collaborative manner for the benefit of the leagues.”
Alex Rice, Stats Perform’s chief rights officer, said: “The transparent and progressive approach taken by European Leagues, provides value and security for the member leagues and ensures the collection and distribution of high-quality fast data with the utmost integrity, for premium in-play betting experiences.”
On going to market with the data rights, European Leagues specified that the leagues in Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, and possibly Israel, would need to be able to sell the domestic rights to national state gambling companies.