On Monday, the NFL unveiled its first-ever deal to provide official league data to state-licensed sportsbooks.
While the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, the agreement gives existing partner Sportradar the exclusive right to provide granular league data – including play-by-play and player-tracking statistics – to sportsbooks that choose to purchase the service (or are otherwise compelled by law to do so).
Per the press release announcing the agreement, the NFL believes that “official licensed data will improve the speed and accuracy of NFL data and enhance protections for consumers.”
One of those protections, presumably, comes from Sportradar’s integrity services:
“The NFL will…use Sportradar’s comprehensive and award-winning integrity services to monitor betting across all NFL games. … The NFL and its clubs will also have access to Sportradar’s integrity education workshops and products to ensure the continuation of the NFL’s high standard for integrity.”
The deal also allows Sportradar to stream broadcasts of select games to international markets, expanding the NFL’s global footprint and sports betting audience.
Hans Schroeder, Executive VP and COO of NFL Media, believes that the extended relationship will quickly bear fruit.
“Sportradar has been an excellent partner the last four years and has provided the league, our teams, and media marketplace with innovative data products,” said Schroeder. “We look forward to working with Sportradar to deliver fast, accurate official league data that will innovate and improve experiences for our fans across platforms.”
Carsten Koerl, Sportradar CEO, is on the same page.
“We are thrilled to become NFL’s exclusive data distribution partner…and [will] deliver ground-breaking products across the gaming, fantasy and the media worlds,” said Koerl. “As the unequivocal global leader in sports data, we are ideally positioned to support the NFL in providing innovative products to enhance the way fans experience the game and help maintain the continued integrity of the NFL competition.”
For those following national developments in the US sports betting market, this NFL deal is utterly expected, even if it is a bit hypocritical.
Of course, the NFL had pigeonholed itself into that hypocrisy over the last few years, simultaneously advocating against sports betting in general and petitioning the federal government to install laws mandating the use of official league data.
It appears, at least for now, that the NFL has foregone the “mandatory” route for a free-market solution.
What it hoped to achieve through legal mandate, the league now seems willing to approach from the standpoint of advertising, public outreach, and voluntary partnerships with sportsbooks and media outlets.