- Sports betting data provider Sportradar has signed a ten year global partnership deal with the National Hockey League (NHL).
- The deal gives Sportradar access to a variety of assets including ‘official betting data rights’ and ‘official betting streaming rights’.
- Earlier this year, Sportradar lost the betting data rights for the National Football League to rival Genius Sports.
One of the more lucrative avenues for professional sports leagues to get a ‘cut’ of the worldwide sports betting market is through official data rights. Never mind that the sports betting industry has existed for years without access to ‘official data’ and that there are plenty of third party data providers who do a first rate job. There are some legitimate benefits to having the official imprimatur of a sports league and that’s why data companies are willing to pay big bucks for exclusive distribution rights. To wit–earlier this year the National Football League (NFL) signed a multi-year data rights deal with London based Genius Sports reportedly worth in excess of $1 billion USD over the life of the agreement.
Left ‘on the outside looking in’ to that Genius Sports/NFL partnership was the league’s *former* data disseminator, Sportradar. While they no longer have the biggest North American betting property in the NFL they have plenty of their own data partnership deals. In fact, with the exception of the NFL they’ve got the major North American pro sports leagues ‘sewn up’ including the NBA, WNBA and NBA Developmental League as well as Major League Baseball. Throw in NASCAR and esports powerhouse ESLGaming and their footprint is even bigger. Sportradar also has a long running data partnership relationship with the National Hockey League (NHL) which dates back to September 2015. This partnership originally started with statistics and play by play data but expanded to including betting data in August 2020. This deal has been credited with setting the ‘market rate’ for official league sports betting data–since the NHL was able to command in excess of $25 million USD for their data the NFL figured they could put a price tag on their betting data starting at $100 million USD.
Sportradar is obviously anxious to protect their relationships with the other major professional sports organizations which is why they’ve entered into a new 10 year global partnership with the NHL that gives them the designation of ‘official provider’ in a number of data areas. The NHL is particularly attractive as single game sports betting is on the verge of coming to Canada and this further motivated Sportradar to get this deal done:
Sportradar, a leading global provider of sports betting and sports entertainment products and services, and the National Hockey League today announced a landmark 10-year global partnership, naming Sportradar the Official Betting Data Rights, Official Betting Streaming Rights and Official Media Data Rights Partner of the NHL, as well as an Official Integrity Partner of the NHL.
With a strong emphasis on fan engagement, Sportradar and the NHL will work together to expand the reach of the League by leveraging Sportradar’s diverse and versatile technology solutions, providing fans with deeper access and enhanced insights into the game. As part of the robust partnership, Sportradar – the NHL’s Official Global Data Distributor since 2015 – will distribute the NHL’s official data and statistics to media, technology and sports betting companies worldwide, including real-time data from the NHL’s new Puck and Player Tracking technology. The deal also awards Sportradar rights to provide sports betting operators with live streams of NHL games via the operators’ digital betting platforms available in legalized markets.
The way these deals work is that Sportradar gets the data rights from the NHL, then packages and sells it to sportsbooks, media companies, technology companies, etc. If the player and puck tracking technology mentioned in the previous quote is as cutting edge as the NHL is having us believe that would be a very attractive asset. Ditto the live streaming of NHL games by sportsbooks. Live streaming is commonplace internationally but is just now gaining traction in the nascent US market. It’s been slow to get started in the US due to sports league’s pre-existing streaming relationships with broadcast partners like ESPN. Their reticence to give up streaming rights is understandable as there are few demographics as dependable for sports broadcasters as the betting public.
Apparently among other things $25 million USD per year gets you a press release quote from the NHL’s majordomo himself, Commissioner Gary Bettman:
“As the global leading provider of sports data for the media and betting industry, Sportradar has the unique expertise to help us deliver stats, insights and video content to our fans, who are extremely tech-savvy and constantly crave new and compelling ways to engage with our sport. The capabilities, versatility and global scale of Sportradar’s platforms and products will assist us in providing fans, media and sports betting companies around the world with a greater depth of data and more immersive experience with the game. We’re thrilled to continue and deepen our important partnership with Sportradar and look forward to delivering a best-in-class fan experience through our collaborations over the next decade.”
Carsten Koerl, Global CEO, Sportradar, gave the obligatory quote for his company:
“The NHL has been a terrific partner for Sportradar for nearly seven years and we look forward to collaborating with them in an expanded manner to continue increasing the global reach of the league, while delivering ground-breaking products and services to our customers. This agreement truly highlights the global, multi-vertical, wide-ranging capabilities of Sportradar’s technology solutions and reflects how we use data to create engaging, personalized experiences for our partners and customers.”
The press release made special mention of the NHL’s desire to develop sports betting partnerships internationally. They’ve recently announced ‘official sports betting partnership’ deals with Olybet and Tipsport for the Baltic nations where hockey is hugely popular:
As part of the strategic alliance, the NHL and Sportradar are teaming up to develop sports betting partnerships outside of North America utilizing ad:s, Sportradar’s data-driven marketing solution, as seen in the NHL’s recent international sports betting partnerships with Olybet and Tipsport. Sportradar will also continue as an Official Integrity Services Provider of the NHL, utilizing the company’s Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS) to proactively help safeguard and ensure the integrity of its competition by monitoring global gaming activity and trends worldwide.
While it’s obvious that data rights partnerships like these are just a cash grab for some leagues the smart organizations will actually work with companies like Sportradar and Genius Sports to do what these press releases say they will–‘work together to expand the reach of the league’ via the sports betting ecosystem. There are plenty of new and potentially lucrative revenue streams coming online for sports leagues and teams–esports and NFTs among them–but none look to have the upside potential of sports betting.