How much is official data for the NFL worth to US sportsbook operators?
We’re apparently about to find out.
Data company Sportradar is asking for US sports betting operators to pay for the official NFL feed.
While Legal Sports Report has been aware that Sportradar has contacted operators about paying for official data, LSR has not been able to confirm the scope of the ask.
ESPN’s David Purdum is reporting that the ask is 1.5% of net profit for access to that data for sportsbooks outside of Nevada.
According to multiple sources, sports betting data distributor Sportradar is asking bookmakers for a 1.5% cut of net profits from in-game bets on the NFL in exchange for access to the league’s official data feed.
The NFL has an equity stake in Sportradar, which declined comment.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) September 1, 2019
Sportradar + the NFL = more money from betting
The ask from Sportradar, interestingly, comes just a few weeks after it became an exclusive provider of official data for the NFL. The timing of the deal came just before the start of the NFL season.
It’s obvious the Sportradar request for money in exchange for official data is tied to the NFL deal. While it’s not known if the NFL has asked Sportradar to make this demand, it’s extremely similar to what was going on behind the scenes with Major League Baseball, sportsbooks and Sportradar.
But the NFL clearly wants to extract the most value from its data without being tied directly to sports betting. A recent report from Reuters spoke to the league’s reticence to profit directly from betting partnerships. But using Sportradar as a middle man from that data likely shields the league from such a claim … at least in the NFL’s eyes.
So, will sportsbooks pay for NFL data?
That’s the $64,000 question — well, presumably it’s worth a lot more than that.
The ask, if it’s of net profit or of gross revenue, is not entirely unreasonable, although the former would be a smaller number. Still, sports betting is a low-margin business — sportsbooks in the US generally hold 5 to 10 percent of wagers. So giving up more of that pie is not attractive without a return on investment.
The latency of data feeds in the current world of sports wagering can often lead to in-game bets being rejected, unable to be processed in time, or unable to be offered at all in certain windows. That’s even though the speed of football games, with a decent amount of time between plays, is tailored to in-game betting.
So it’s possible that some (or many) sportsbooks that depend on live betting for revenue will acquiesce. The bottom line for operators is that if they want to book in-game betting on the NFL and have integrated data from Sportradar, this is likely the best option.
In-game betting can be a substantial percentage of handle. For some New Jersey sportsbooks, live betting can approach or surpass 50% of money wagered.