Sportradar To Sell Official NFL Data And Next Gen Stats To Sports Betting Operators

Sportradar To Sell Official NFL Data and Next Gen Stats to Legal Sports Betting Operators

The term, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” is how I am defining the sports tech news announced yesterday regarding the new deal involving official NFL data and Next-Gen Stats distributed both domestically and internationally to legalized betting companies through an updated deal with Sportradar. This marks the first time the NFL has agreed to supply play-by-play data sets and advanced stats in real-time that are compiled then analyzed in order to set National Football League wagering odds and prop bets in real-time for traditional sports betting. According to ESPN, “Live audiovisual NFL game feeds also will be supplied to sportsbooks outside of the U.S., in select international markets.” The Sports Techie community blog tries to stay neutral as much as possible but stands firm on the notion that fans should never bet money they cannot afford to lose. Sportsradar is a sports data provider. How does this data-centric deal affect the upcoming CBA?

Sportradar To Sell Official NFL Data And Next Gen Stats To Sports Betting Operators.

NFL Data Cake

This sports technology deal makes you wonder what the official NFL stance is regarding sports betting in America since the last time Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about it publically in May, 2018 and said the league’s stance was to honor the existing Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, a federal law. Now that the Supreme Court ruled last year that is a state decision to legalize sports betting outside of Nevada, you would think the NFL was all in the way they are conducting sports wagering business development.

The league’s CBA expires after the 2020 season and owners want to fast-track the new arrangement a whole year in advance. Say what? This adds light to perhaps why Dak Prescott wants $30 million a year and Ezekiel Elliot is still a hold out with the Dallas Cowboys. I heard Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank say on 92.9 The Game last week that a new contract for Julio Jones is near but needs his agent to get serious about the talks. Does this mean Jones and his agent want to smash the $61 million guaranteed part of the 5-year $100 million contract that Michael Thomas just signed with the New Orleans Saints, based on revenue streams that are not a part of the current CBA? It makes solid financial sense to believe so. The NFLPA wants in on NFL intellectual property, in this case data, used by sportsbooks being fed by Sportradar. Players see what the league is doing with regards to data, casinos and streaming rights, and they want to be paid their fair share of those revenues too.

Who owns the data? The league and owners do but they don’t have any of it without the players. Let’s face the truth, when the NFL says they worry about the integrity of the game yet make a deal like this, isn’t that eating your own cake? In regards to banning player prop bets as a way to fix, match fixing, that makes zero sense because of the eating their own cake theory.  As a check and balance, the smart fraud detection system developed by Sportradar will oversee the worldwide betting market during any NFL event acting as a red flag after looking and spotting for unusual anomalies that may indicate illegal activities.

Protecting the integrity of the NFL is at utmost importance when discussing to sports betting. According to Steve Byrd, chief commercial officer at Sportradar, “The NFL really wanted to take the time and see how it was going to develop.” With more states offering sports betting and the international push, it seems the time is ripe in year 2 since the change in U.S. law to execute a plan that was clearly more than a single season in the making.

How can the NFL have all the cake or data, yet want others to eat or bet on it, while the ingredients are the players who simply want a piece of the cake that couldn’t be made without them as the most important ingredient? Players don’t want to ruin the cake that feeds them, they want to go into the CBA will all the facts and figures then negotiate a better deal.

The NFL has been operating as the wild-wild west in regards to sports betting and daily fantasy sports. It reminds me of President Trump supporters that gladly give his 2020 campaign contributions but don’t want the public to know about it for a number of reasons all of which don’t matter much because it is public knowledge after all. The NFL is operating in much the same way I feel.

After years of opposing sports betting, NFL owners are suddenly controlling NFL data used for sports bet purposes in a calculated way but don’t want that to be quite public yet it in terms of an official NFL stance on sports betting as they set up their gambling empire leaving the NFLPA in a sense, out of it for now since it is not a part of the current CBA.

Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones own part of DraftKings, a leading daily fantasy sports company. DFS is not legal in all states yet the NFL allows their ownership to jump in as equity owners believing it is not a conflict of interest nor does it affect the integrity of the game.  A Cowboys spokesperson says Jones investment is through “Legends” sports hospitality company, Remember, the cake and Trump donor analogies which I am certain Jerry is a one of the latter.

To add salt to the salty cake, several teams have agreements in place with casino sportsbooks. Caesars Entertainment signed on as the league’s first official casino partner earlier this year.

Player Prop Bets and In-Game Wagering

Prop bets such as how many yards Seattle Seahawks QB Russel Wilson throws in game one against the Cincinnati Bengals is a major CBA contention for the NFLPA. Unlike odds based bets and over/under wagers, placing a bet on how a player performs strikes a cord with the NFL. Take last season for example, Rams RB Todd Gurley stopped short of scoring a touchdown not once but twice last year at the end of each game. First against the Packers followed by Lions. He made his disdain for fantasy sports known in post-game interviews but what if it was more than meets the eye. Could he or someone he knows have made a player prop bet in Nevada or offshore that paid off when he stopped short of a sure TD? You can’t say no but the chances are slim to none he was involved in such a scenario. Not sure Sportradar can flag that either.

The UK fan loves to in-game wager. Gobbling up real-time, accurate data when inside a stadium has to help punters and odds makers alike make bets and create the odds during a live game. Will this sports betting trend make its way to the US? For sure it will and most likely will show up on the giant video boards, and the league and team apps, to promote the newest fan experience opportunity.

Player Tracking

Sportradar remains the exclusive provider of official player tracking data to media owners. Zebra Technologies uses RFID chips placed inside the gear and ball to measure metrics now usable for sports betting purposes by legal operators through Sportradar.

“Our partner will be situated in the stadium and with collection availability on really low-latency video that has the opportunity to be market-differentiated and not have to wait to collect a [data feed] from outside of the stadium,” said Hans Schroeder, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for NFL Media, to ESPN.

Next Gen Stats may also be part of a strategy to uncover new betting opportunities. Andy Cunningham, Sportradar Director of Global Strategy for Integrity Services, mentioned to ESPN that Sportradar will work with the NFL to decide on the types of bets Next Gen Stats will produce and provide the concepts and accompanying data to oddsmakers.

On Monday, Andy Cunningham, told ESPN, “This is the first time the NFL has made an official feed available [to sportsbooks],” while adding, “to bring the fastest, richest and most accurate feed to the market, we see the opportunity to create new betting markets that will come to fans, more play-by-play markets and the never-used-before-for-betting Next Gen Stats that will allow us to do things around speed and distance potentially.”

Sportradar

Sportradar is a Swiss company providing service to more than 500 sportsbooks. They hauled in a $44 million round of investment in 2015 led by among others, Mark Cuban, Michael Jordan and Monumental Sports & Entertainment. The data firm has deals with all four U.S. professional sports leagues that includes the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball after signing a contract earlier this year to distribute MLB data to sports betting operators. The NFL says they will not be involved in any official NFL data sales via Sportradar. It is unknown if the same applies to Next Gen Stats data sales. ESPN is also a Sportsradar partner.

The company signed their first NFL deal in 2015 for a reported $5 million per year and some equity. The new terms are undisclosed but are sure to involve substantially more money and perhaps even more of an equity stake, something the NFLA will want to know before signing a new CBA.

Sports Techie, in my educated and expert opinion, get ready for another NFL strike after 2020 because the NFL isn’t playing fair by negotiating in good faith in regards to data ownership and the distribution to legal sports betting operators by a licensed sports data operator in Sportradar.

To avoid this real possibility at all costs, Schroeder said, “For us (NFL), with the announcement a year ago in May, it was really a focus on, let’s make sure to get it right and have the right model that focuses on the protection of the integrity of the game and insures that our fans will have the best experience around it, as legalized sports betting rolls out,”

Perhaps they should have included the NFLPA in these discussions last year as a show of NFL integrity because player performance data used for sports betting will certainly be at the forefront of the CBA after next season.

Be sure to use a trusted Sportsbook when betting on the next Super Bowl.

See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!

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