- Synergy Sports and the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) have signed a multiyear deal for analytic services and commercialization of league betting rights.
- Synergy Sports specializes in high end data analytics for a variety of sports.
- The Canadian Elite Basketball League was founded in 2017 and began play in 2019.
The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) has signed a multiyear deal with data analytics company Synergy Sports to provide them with services and more interestingly to help them commercialize the league betting rights.
Before I received this press release I wasn’t aware that the CEBL even existed which I guess is a likely reason they wanted to sign a deal with Synergy Sports in the first place. Here’s the ‘about us’ blurb from the official CEBL website that gives a bit of the philosophical background of the league:
Basketball is the second fastest growing sport in the world. Its unique blend of athleticism, pop culture and accessibility has seen the sport explode globally.
Canada is no exception. If you look in our driveways, our schools, our gyms and our sports feeds, it’s easy to see that Canadians love the game, too.
To further grow the game we love, there needs to be more opportunity – both for players to showcase their skills in communities across the country, and for fans of all ages to celebrate their passion for basketball. After all, basketball was invented by a Canadian.
So, we’re creating the Canadian Elite Basketball League, a movement that brings Canadians together through a new basketball experience. The CEBL provides home-grown athletes an exclusive opportunity to represent their communities and further their careers as professional basketball players. It provides fans with edge-of-your-seat excitement through a high-caliber basketball experience in a family-friendly entertainment environment.
Makes sense. Now some more practical details–the CEBL was founded in 2017 and began play in 2019 with six teams. All teams are owned by the ownership group Canadian Basketball Ventures though the league has said they might spin off the franchises to outside ownership in the future. There are now seven teams in the league:
FRASER VALLEY BANDITS
HAMILTON HONEY BADGERS
NIAGARA RIVER LIONS
Fraser Valley plays in Abbotsford, British Columbia which is just south of the Vancouver metro area. Guelph is just outside of the Toronto metro area as is St. Catherines where the Niagara River Lions play. I think the other five cities should be familiar to any fan of the NHL or certainly the Canadian Football League. The league plays 20 regular season games from May to August culmination in a playoff format that ends up with a ‘final four Championship Weekend’. The two titles thus far have been won by the Edmonton Stingers (2020) and Saskatchewan Rattlers (2019).
The league’s primary focus is to showcase Canadian basketball talent and like the Canadian Football League there are roster requirements to mandate a certain percentage of spots to natives. While the CFL’s ratio of native to non-native players is a bit arcane and complex the CEBL requires that 70% of a team’s roster be Canadian. The league plays under standard FIFA rules and has the distinction of having been the first Canadian sports league to return to action after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports worldwide.
The press release announcing the partnership between the CEBL and Synergy was short without many details:
Synergy Sports and the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) have signed a multiyear partnership that will cover basketball analytics services and the commercialization of the league’s content betting rights. Synergy Sports will also be providing its EVO graphics product to enhance the live production of CEBL games.
Entering its third season in 2021, the CEBL is following up on an incredibly successful 2020 season, with the CEBL Summer Series in July 2020 being viewed by millions of viewers both domestically and around the world. The CEBL was the first professional sports league in Canada to return to play after the COVID-19 outbreak shut down sports competitions across the country. The league is now looking to build upon its 2020 success with the help of Synergy Sports.
Even the obligatory executive quotes were short. We’ll start with Commissioner and CEO of the CEBL Mike Morreale:
“The Canadian Elite Basketball League is pleased to continue our partnership with Synergy Sports in matters of video technology, basketball analytics and digital commercialization. Continuing in the footsteps of the NBA and other top FIBA leagues across the world, we look forward to working with their end-to-end services in scouting, coaching, and video-based analytics tools to further help elevate the quality of the game across Canada and beyond”.
If Morreale’s name sounds familiar you’ve outed yourself as a fellow CFL geek. Morreale was a very good wide receiver who played for Hamilton and Toronto during his 12 year career.
Next up, we’ve got Synergy Sports CEO Mark Silver:
“The growth and excitement surrounding Canadian basketball has been evident across all levels of the sport for a number of years now. The establishment and growth of the CEBL in the past few years has reflected that energy and growth. Synergy Sports is proud as an organization to be expanding on our relationship with the CEBL.”
All in all, packaging the league for sports betting is an excellent idea and in some ways puts the CEBL on a similar path to the CFL. My first knowledge of the CFL came due to the league’s presence on the betting board and through handicapping it I came to appreciate the quality product they put on the field. Just the exposure it would give the league should it become a betting board fixture would make it all worth while, let alone any revenue it should generate. The May to August schedule makes it a welcome addition to sparse summertime betting boards–also like the CFL.
It’s also excellent timing as Canada appears to be on the cusp of *finally* joining the modern ages and allowing single game wagering. Obviously, the big draw for Canadian bettors will be the NHL and NFL but the CEBL and CFL will keep them in action during the summer.