- Basketball legend Michael Jordan has joined sports betting data provider Sportradar as a ‘special advisor’ to the company’s Board of Directors.
- MJ was an early investor in Sportradar and is also ‘increasing his investment in the company, effective immediately’.
- Sportradar has grown dramatically over the past few years and now has more than 2,300 full time employees in 19 countries.
The mainstream media narrative is that sports betting data firm Sportradar is ‘reeling’ after losing their National Football League (NFL) data rights deal to London based rival Genius Sports. To the contrary, the situation at Sportradar looks pretty good. They claim to be ‘the number one provider of business-to-business solutions to the global sports betting industry based on revenue’ and I have no reason to dispute that. If the metric you’re looking at is data rights deals the NFL is one of the few major international leagues that Sportradar *doesn’t* have sewn up. Current partnerships include NASCAR, the NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, esports sanctioning body ESL and a variety of leagues throughout Europe. They’ve got 2,300 full time employees in 19 countries serving 1,600 customers in over 120 countries.
They’ve now added the GOAT to the team. Earlier today, Sportradar announced that NBA legend and lifelong betting enthusiast Michael Jordan has assumed an advisory role with the company. MJ’s official title is ‘special advisor to Sportradar’s Board of Directors’. Jordan was an early investor in Sportradar and in conjunction with his new role will be ‘increasing his investment in the company, effective immediately’. Here’s a brief synopsis of Jordan’s role with Sportradar:
In his new advisory position, Mr. Jordan will provide the board and management with guidance and strategic counsel, with a focus on the US market, product development, marketing activities and other key business initiatives. As an elite athlete and successful entrepreneur, Mr. Jordan’s expertise in establishing impactful business partnerships within the sports industry will be leveraged across the breadth of Sportradar’s products and services.
Jordan was on hand with founder and CEO Carsten Koerl to ring the opening bell at the Nasdaq exchange on September 14 to commemorate the Sportradar’s first day as a publicly traded company. This might not seem like an important responsibility but his presence alone make it an event and attracted plenty of media coverage. Sportradar has plenty of investors but none that qualify as a ‘household name’:
CEO Koerl made the rounds of the financial media to talk about the future of his company and sports betting–here he is on CNBC:
MJ offered a short but sweet quote to his own press release–a baller move if ever there was one:
“I invested in Sportradar years ago because I believed in the vision and passion that Carsten (Koerl) and the rest of the team had for transforming the sports technology industry. I am looking forward to having a formal role with the company as it begins its next chapter.”
Jeffery Yabuki, Sportradar’s Chairman of the Global Board of Directors, was tasked with giving an introduction to someone that truly needs no introduction:
“Not only is Michael Jordan one of the most iconic sports figures of all time, but he is a legendary leader who believes in Sportradar’s mission to enhance fan engagement through our fully-integrated technology and services platform. We are thrilled to have Michael contribute to Sportradar’s business efforts moving forward.”
Carsten Koerl, Global CEO, Sportradar, talked about the convergence of sports betting and media:
“Over the past several years, the worlds of fandom, sports betting, and media have converged and, through his accomplishments on the court and in the boardroom, Michael sits at the intersection of these industries. As an early investor in Sportradar, Michael saw the potential in our company. We are thrilled to now tap into his entrepreneurial savvy and business acumen as we develop the next wave of solutions and offerings that will maximize engagement across sports.”
Good move for both MJ and Sportradar. MJ gets financially involved with arguably the most lucrative component of the sports betting industry. Sportradar gets a legit legend that can attract media attention and open doors for anyone they want to meet with.