Sportradar Launches Legal Action Against Betgenius in UK Soccer Data Row

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Sportradar has served legal proceedings against rival data firm Betgenius over its alleged monopolization of UK soccer data.

The case was filed Wednesday with the Competition Appeal Tribunal in the UK. Betgenius’ partner Football DataCo (FDC) was also served.

Radar said in a statement today it had not chosen the legal route lightly but had failed to find a viable solution to the issue elsewhere.

How did Sportradar get here?

In May last year, Betgenius acquired the official rights to supply UK football data to the sports betting industry. 

As part of that deal, it pledged to start kicking data scouts from rival firms like Sportradar out of stadiums. Any third-party data providers are required to secure a sublicense from Genius before sending scouts to venues.

Sportradar said previously it was prepared to pay for that sublicense, but Genius refused to negotiate in good faith in an effort to secure its monopoly. 

As a result, Sportradar said the current system enforced by Genius and FDC was in infringement of UK and EU competition law.

Is Genius soccer data deal anti-competitive?

In its statement today, Sportradar said it supported a competitive marketplace with “genuine choice” between suppliers. 

“This competition is vital for innovation, genuine product choice and fair pricing and we believe these elements are worth protecting. The step Sportradar has taken is focused on that outcome.”

Sportradar said the current “information monopoly” was harmful to data providers, bookmakers, and customers.

“This is why Sportradar has now sought adjudication by an independent specialist tribunal in the hope that matters can be resolved fairly and equitably,” the company said. 

Are there lessons for US sports betting data?

The key players are the same in the US and UK, with Sportradar the official league data provider for the NFL and MLB. Likewise, Genius has data deals with the NCAAalbeit not yet for betting — and NASCAR.

This case will be resolved on EU competition law, which historically has given more power to rightsholders than US law. That’s because the US First Amendment provides freedom around the use of data that is in the public domain.

However, the US could still see similar issues around in-stadium scouting, where official data suppliers work with stadium security to eject unofficial scouts.