Sportradar Completes Clean Sweep with MLB Deal


Sportradar Completes Clean Sweep with MLB

Major industry player ups the ante

by Andy Elliott

Right on cue following our last blog on the subject of sports data and the emerging US sports betting marketing, industry leader Sportradar announced a landmark deal with (MLB) that will see it provide real-time statistics and AV feeds to media companies and bookmakers.

Starting with the 2019 season, Sportradar will leverage existing data-gathering resources and technology to collect real-time statistics on every MLB game and distribute these via its global sports data network. 

Interestingly, and probably to the advantage of the MLB, the data element of the deal is not exclusive within the USA, which means the potential exists to do further deals elsewhere. Sportradar will have exclusive rights to data and AV feeds for the rest of the world, as well as providing the official MLB data feed to partners in the USA.

Why Sportradar’s MLB deal matters

The deal is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it reinforces the growing status of dataas a resource of monetary value, driven by the legalisation of sports betting in the United States. Secondly, it shows that major US sports governing bodies, such as the MLB, are preparing for huge growth in the number of people betting on sporting events. 

As part of the deal, Sportradar will also provide fraud detection, liability management, data monitoring and integrity services to the MLB, which fits with over-riding agenda of ensuring secure and reliable sports data for the US gaming market. This is not just an ambition, but an actual stipulation of sports betting legislation in many states such as Indiana.

USA in a data catch-up phase

What we are seeing in the USA is a game of catchup. Sports in the United States and their official governing bodies have had many of the tools needed for data gathering, but because the sports betting markets did not exist, they had no incentive to monetise their content. Now, with gambling being legalised, albeit slowly and state by state, they are partnering with established data businesses to put the right data gathering and distribution systems in place. 

It’s interesting that MLB is now moving to leverage its data resources, having been the most vocal of all US sports governing bodies in opposing the. Given customer demand, it was perhaps inevitable, and Sportradar will be seen as a ‘safe’ choice, having already concluded deals with the NFL, NBA, NHA and Nascar.

We are seeing rapid evolution of the sports betting sector in the US as sports gear for legalisation in more states, although the passage of legislation is unlikely to happen so quickly.