The rebooted XFL has announced a multi-year partnership with sports data and technology company Genius Sports to protect the start-up league against the threats of improper and illegal sports betting.
The London-based Genius Sports will provide 24/7 monitoring of all pre-game and live betting markets to give the XFL visibility into wagering on its games, and also provide alerts and analysis of all significant odds movements.
During the XFL’s centralized training camp this month in Houston, Genius Sports will conduct integrity workshops with players, coaches, and game officials. Genius Sports will also help the XFL understand the projected level of betting on its games, establish a process for reporting potential problems, and, if needed, assist in investigations.
XFL players, coaches, officials, team and league executives also will be provided a customized e-Learning portal that explains the league’s regulations, the obligations to report any potential rule breaches and the importance of integrity to the league’s future growth.
The XFL is backed by WWE owner Vince McMahon, who has invested nearly $400m (€459m) in the venture. The first version of the XFL, a joint project between WWE and NBC, lasted just one season in 2001.
In the United States, the XFL has agreed multi-year rights deals with ESPN and Fox Sports. From the inaugural 2020 season, XFL games will air weekly on broadcast television (ABC and Fox Sports) complemented by games on cable (ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2). ABC will broadcast the inaugural game, between the DC Defenders and Seattle Dragons, at Audi Field in Washington, DC, on February 8, at 2pm ET.
In December, the XFL appointed 160over90, the recently rebranded marketing services arm of sports and entertainment group Endeavor, to a communications role, as well as Infront’s iX.co to develop and launch new league and team websites. Earlier last year, the XFL signed a two-year partnership with Elevate Sports Ventures to help guide and support ticket sales for the league’s eight teams.
Meanwhile, the XFL will announce its official rules and gameplay innovations tomorrow (January 7), which according to the league will mean “less stall and more ball.”
According to a press release, the announcement follows a rigorous 18-month research and development process, which included gathering data, ideas and input from current and former football coaches, players, officials, broadcasters, medical professionals, and sports industry experts – along with, a nationwide survey of more than 6,000 football fans. Over the last year, the XFL has tested a wide range of rules and gameplay options under game conditions on the field of play.
This is the second consecutive year that a second pro football league in addition to the National Football League will debut in the United States. The Alliance of American Football folded after just eight weeks in 2019.