Genius and Euroleague to evict ‘unauthorised data collectors’ in extended rights agreement

Deshaun Thomas during the EuroLeague Play Off match between Real Madrid and Panathinaiskos on April 17, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Sonia Canada/Getty Images)

Genius Sports has extended its data rights agreement with Euroleague Basketball, announcing that the two parties will adopt a more stringent data rights enforcement strategy under the new deal.

The company will have the exclusive rights to collect and distribute Euroleague Basketball betting data and distribute it to licensed sportsbooks via its sports betting arm Betgenius.

The company first acquired the exclusive rights to collect Euroleague data in a three-year deal ahead of the 2016-17 season. That deal expired at the end of the 2018-19 Euroleague season but the announcement of the latest renewal has been delayed until halfway through the current 2019-20 season, even though it has been in operation since the opening game.

In a statement about the latest agreement, Genius said: “The extended partnership has launched Euroleague’s new rights enforcement strategy, removing unauthorised data collectors found to be operating within their stadiums.”

Euroleague’s joint-venture partner IMG sub-licensed the exclusive data rights to Genius but retains the betting streaming rights. The 10-season IMG-Euroleague joint venture, worth €630m ($679m), spans all aspects of the Euroleague business, including media rights, digital rights, sponsorship rights, licensing, ticketing and merchandising.

SportBusiness understands the latest deal between Genius and Euroleague bears similarities to Genius Sports’ controversial data agreement with Football DataCo (FDC), the rights-holder for the English Premier League, EFL and Scottish Football League, signed in 2019.

Under that deal, FDC and Genius adopted a zero-tolerance approach, evicting ‘unofficial’ data scouts found to be operating at matches covered by the deal.

The deal placed the authority to sub-license the data rights to other data suppliers in Genius’ hands and requires all bookmaker clients in the downstream market have an ‘over-license’ to use the official Genius data, curtailing the market’s ability to access data from other sources. Genius is also understood to be moving towards a model where it asks for a share of bookmaker revenues rather than charging a flat fee.

Genius’ competitor Sportradar issued a letter before action claiming the way the partnership was structured contravenes EU competition law. Sportradar argued that the set-up put Genius in a ‘super-dominant’ position which it is abusing to foreclose the market to its competitors.

Jack Davison, chief commercial officer of Genius Sports Group, said of the latest Euroleague agreement: “The extension of our partnership with one of the world’s leading basketball leagues demonstrates our commitment to ensuring security of supply, of the most important content, to our customers. Our investment in the growth of live basketball betting is dependent on the capture and distribution of fast, accurate and highly reliable data.

“Furthermore, Euroleague will enjoy a fair return from betting on their competitions while sportsbook operators and their customers will gain a crucial advantage through the quality of their products.”

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