Genius’ new ‘Grand Slam’ tennis series creates content for betting markets

Sports data and technology company Genius Sports has teamed up with US-based tennis talent agency Topnotch Management (TNM) to create the Grand Slam Tennis Tours MatchPlay 120 series, a new tournament featuring players ranked inside the top 300 of the men’s ATP and women’s WTA tours.

In what Genius and TNM claim is a first-of-its-kind venture, the series debuts on May 26 in the US, providing more than 120 live tennis matches across a six-week period. Two matches will be held today in Orlando, Florida with one staged in Cleveland, Ohio.

Genius Sports will deliver a host of live betting markets on the new MatchPlay 120 series as well as video streams to bookmakers and media publishers through its GeniusLive technology. GeniusLive’s automated camera and production system will capture the action courtside, eliminating any need for camera crews.

The series is being run by TNM, which manages numerous ATP and WTA athletes, as well as events on the ATP Challenger Tour.

TNM will operate multiple court locations around the US and work closely with Genius Sports and Grand Slam Tennis Tours, an independent company specialising in luxury tourism to major tennis events around the world, to deliver interactive Match Centers for fans. These will combine live streams, daily schedules and orders of play, scores, and leaderboard information.

Organisers said significant considerations have been made regarding Covid-19, and, beyond not having any fans and minimal on-site footprints, the event will adhere to local guidance and apply significant safety protocols with regards to matchplay. Among those due to compete are 2020 Australian Open quarterfinalist Tennys Sandgren, four-time ATP Tour title-winner Stevie Johnson, and WTA Tour title-winner Lauren Davis.

TNM event director Kyle Ross said: “This is an ambitious solution to the current situation and it’s a project that counts as a win on multiple fronts. All groups involved here have demonstrated exceptional agility and we’re really proud, first of all, to provide job opportunities for professional players at a time when there’s been a lot of attention on the challenges they face.

“Additionally, the series brings tennis fans around the world a reliable schedule of tennis matches between high-level players, and partnering with Genius Sports provides a great opportunity for us to engage the sportsbook audience and ultimately power the launch of the series.”

Sean Conroy, commercial partnerships director at Genius Sports, spoke to SportBusiness at the end of last year about the move into OTT streaming production and providing betting video streams for bookmakers through the Betgenius arm. This came on the back of the acquisition of Belgium-based streaming and performance analysis company Oppia Performance.

The launch of Matchplay 120 comes on the back of deals Genius Sports has signed this year with the likes of Premier Lacrosse League, European Leagues, Philippine SuperLiga, and Euroleague Basketball.

Mark Locke, chief executive of Genius Sports, said: “Over a six-week period, GeniusLive, our unique streaming technology, will broadcast over 200 hours of premium tennis for our media partners and sportsbook customers. Given the current environment, it is uplifting to see the use of new technologies come to the fore that enable tennis fans everywhere to watch their favourite sport live again.”