[toc]European fantasy sports provider Comunio is partnering with Sportradar to power its platform.
What is Comunio?
Comunio is primarily a football (soccer) manager simulation that runs on both desktop and mobile. Users build lineups within salary-cap restrictions, compete against other teams, and accrue points based on the real-world performance of their virtual players. Contests are currently available for ten of the top football leagues in Europe.
Free users can only use the most basic features, while paid Plus and Pro subscribers gain access to a more robust suite of results, stats, and marketplace functionality. Sportradar will power those metrics during the season.
Comunio CEO Fabian Loschek commented on the union in a joint press release:
The members of our fantasy football sites across Europe are some of the most passionate, knowledgable and discerning football lovers there are. Some spend a lot of time and energy researching and weighing up their line ups. We love and share that level of dedication. That is what drove this deal.
We wanted to provide a level of performance data and analysis that would match the attention to detail of our users. Sportradar’s Premium Soccer is a game changer that records over 100 types of microevents per match, evaluates their quality, weights their overall importance and then uses a sensitive algorithm to generate a deeper piece of analysis.
What is Sportradar?
For starters, Sportradar is a global leader in sports data and content. Three of the four major North American sports leagues have partnered with the sports data giant in some capacity, as have a number of international sporting organizations and mainstream media outlets.
Digital Sport Head of Business Development James Heneghan highlighted some of Sportradar’s selling points in his portion of the release:
Comunio’s faith in our product, our processes and our attention to detail is a powerful endorsement for us as we know how demanding they are on behalf of their users. At Sportradar, we challenged ourselves to look deeper into performance to provide scores and other data-driven solutions that really provide a more complete picture.
Fans nowadays want a level of engagement and insight that was impossible just years ago, but we are proud to meet and exceed that demand with our Premium Soccer offering and our partnership with Comunio.
A data and content heavyweight
Fans of major sports know Sportradar’s work well.
As far as data is concerned, the NFL and NHL both use Sportradar’s resources to distribute in-game statistics across a wide range of platforms. ESPN, for example, uses the proprietary “Next Gen” NFL stats, which provide visualizations of on-field movements.
NASCAR does the same with in-race data for its family of brands, as does the NBA. And Comunio says it will use the service to track more than 100 in-game football metrics for its customers.
The content portion of Sportradar’s operation also includes partnerships with Google, Twitter, Facebook and the Associated Press.
Fantasy sports platforms need data, too. In 2015, Sportradar partnered with FanDuel to provide real-time stats to the daily fantasy sports operator.
A watchdog for sports betting markets
Sportradar’s on-field data is the focus of its outward-facing business and the portion that is most relevant to Comunio. But there’s another facet of its operation that could become a cog in the push to regulate sports betting in the US.
Sportradar is making major strides in the field of game integrity.
Its Betradar and Integrity Services divisions work with sports leagues, sportsbooks, and regulatory authorities around the world to monitor betting trends for suspicious activity. Some of the organizations with which it partners have had issues with match fixing in the past. Others are taking a more proactive approach.
This “Fraud Detection System” is already in place for the NHL and the NBA. Sportradar’s integrity partners abroad include the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, FIFA, MotoGP, and ESL (eSports), too.
Major League Baseball currently monitors betting markets through one of Sportradar’s main competitors, Genius Sports.
When combined with the real-time data it collects from the field, court or pitch, Sportradar’s tools are a powerful way to analyze results. Its insights have reportedly been used in league disciplinary procedures and criminal prosecutions.
A key player in legalization?
Protecting the integrity of the game is a recurring talking point in the conversation surrounding potential sports betting legislation in the US. Match fixing has been an issue in sports like boxing and tennis. Betting is often at the root of the problem.
While some fixes surely go undiscovered, scouring betting trends is useful in assessing the legitimacy of an outcome.
Sportradar’s tools help assure regulators and league officials that their events are being bet on and played out fairly. There are hundreds of agencies around the world that rely on the collection and provision of this data. According to its website, Sportradar serves more than 600 sportsbooks and 30 state lotteries in 80 countries.
If corruption can be more comprehensively stifled in sports betting, US regulators may have one fewer objection to legalization.
Organizations who utilize big data would be well-positioned in an open betting marketplace. Most commissioners seem to be maneuvering their leagues for that potential, with the notable exception of the NFL’s Roger Goodell. Still, Americans wager more money on football than any other sport.
The advancements in game integrity are paying dividends for Sportradar’s owners and investors, too. Its most recent agreement with the NBA is a joint venture with optical tracking company Second Spectrum. That deal alone is reportedly worth more than $250 million.