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Part of the deal also involves another sports data company, Second Spectrum, which will implement a player-tracking system.
According to a press release, the relationships “will expand the league’s global distribution of statistics.” It’s a deal that covers six years and is worth $250 million, according to an earlier report from Bloomberg.
The NHL and Sportradar signed a similar, albeit smaller, deal just last month.
There are two different parts of the expanded relationship between the NBA and Sportradar:
For this season, Sportradar will distribute NBA data and audio-visual game feeds to sports betting operators internationally. Sports betting is a legal and licensed activity in a variety of jurisdictions outside the US. More from Sportradar:
Sportradar will distribute NBA data and industry standard audio-visual game feeds to gaming operators outside of the U.S. where gaming is legal. The NBA will also incorporate Sportradar’s Integrity Services into its existing game integrity protection measures.
These services monitor the global betting activity and trends across more than 550 operators worldwide and work with leading federations and leagues across 12 different sports.
Sportradar will distribute statistical content from all NBA properties — including the WNBA and NBA Development League — in a wider fashion than it was available previously. Sportradar also becomes the “Official Provider of Real-time NBA League Statistics.”
“This multi-faceted partnership with the NBA presents a really exciting opportunity for Sportradar and for fans of NBA basketball worldwide. We will be developing a full suite of innovative products, tools and services that will bring the full depth of this exhilarating league’s data around the globe,” said Carsten Koerl, Sportradar CEO.
“I am also truly proud that our Integrity Services provide a tool to support the excellent work of federations and leagues internationally in protecting the integrity of sport.”
There are obviously a lot of reasons for doing the deal now that have an immediate impact:
However, it can also be seen as the NBA preparing for a regulated US sports betting market. The interest in widely available, legal betting on the NBA in the US would likely dwarf interest in the rest of the international regulated sports betting market.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been on the forefront of sports betting issues among the major North American professional sports leagues. He has called for the legalization and regulation of sports betting in the US, short of actively lobbying for such a change.
Right now, however, single-sport betting in the US is only legal in Nevada, because of a federal ban in place because of a 1992 law, PASPA. An effort to overturn that law has gained traction this year; advocacy has been led by the American Gaming Association, which represents the casino industry in the US.
If nothing else, the NBA’s willingness to provide that data to international sports betting operators should be a development that resonates. It advances the idea that helping regulated sports betting markets is preferred to the illegal black market that persists in the US and churns through hundreds of billions of dollars in handle from Americans each year.