The NBA might be a bit closer to becoming friendlier to its fans who enjoy betting on sports. According to Bloomberg, the league is in conversations with sports data company Sportradar and data analytics firm Second Spectrum regarding a potential six-year, $250 million contract. The deal would cover a variety of rights, such as selling official league data to sportsbooks, data analytics to teams, and the development of a streaming product, said anonymous sources that are familiar with the negotiations. If the contract were signed, Sportradar would become the official data partner for three of the four major American sports leagues; the NHL, the NFL, and the NBA.
Based out of Switzerland, Sportradar has a attracted key investors that could help it land a deal with the NBA, including Dallas Mavericks’ owner Marc Cuban, Washington Wizards’ majority owner Ted Leonsis, and Charlotte Hornets’ owner Michael Jordan – and if someone in the NBA knows about betting on sports, that’s MJ. Sports data has become an ever more profitable market. Sportsbooks are ready and willing to pay for fast, precise information data as a result of the growth in live, in-game gambling. For example, the day may not be too far off when a Cleveland Cavalier fan could be able to place a bet on whether LeBron James would convert his next free throw. This immersive style of gambling has the potential of keeping customers playing longer, which would result in more bets and more cash flow for the sportsbook.
In addition to that, NBA data is just as valuable, if not more so, outside of the United States. In China, for instance, approximately 300 million people play basketball. Domestically speaking, Sportradar has grown its business in partnership with media and technology companies, such as Facebook, Google and Twitter. Furthermore, it signed a contract to provide global sports data to the Associated Press in June. The firm also provides data to daily fantasy sports companies like FanDuel – which together with DraftKings won an important legal battle earlier this month when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to legalize and regulate the gambling industry in that state.
Second Spectrum, Sportradar’s partner, has former ESPN and NFL Network Chief Executive Officer Steve Bornstein and Golden State Warriors part owner Mark Stevens among its board members. The Warriors are one of a dozen of NBA teams that use the company’s optical-tracking data and analytics. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been forthcoming in his support of fans betting on sports, and NBA spokesman Michael Bass has said that while the league is in favor of regulating sports betting, it would not aggressively lobby for the change – which seems like a good compromise, especially when the size of the global market for U.S. sports betting is a strong reason that lobbyists can use to persuade lawmakers that regulated and taxed sports betting in can provide significant tax revenues. Leonsis, who declined to comment when approached by Bloomberg, has said that he was attracted to Sportradar due to its profound experience in the sports betting industry.