The NFL reportedly is looking for $100 million a year for the exclusive rights to distribute its official sports betting data.
The figure was first reported by CNBC and confirmed by LSR sources.
LSR understands at least three firms are bidding for the contract, including the NFL’s current data partner Sportradar. Genius Sports and IMG Arena are also thought to be preparing bids.
Does the NFL hold all the cards?
The competition is good news for the NFL, which just sold its TV rights for more than $100 billion. And it has an equally strong hand for negotiating on its data rights.
All three potential bidders are going public in the months ahead. That gives them plenty of incentive to win the contract even if making money on the deal will be a challenge.
Given the revenue multiples being dished out to sports betting companies, a deal with the NFL could be worth billions in future valuation.
Likewise, mere association with the NFL brand can boost a company. Video game platform Skillz saw its share price jump 20% after announcing a deal with the league.
How important is NFL betting data?
As the popularity of live betting grows, so does the need for high-quality data. Live betting eventually could account for 75% of US sports betting handle in the next three years, according to a recent estimate from PointsBet.
In essence, the official data provider can have scouts inside the stadium who send quicker, more accurate data than scouts working from a TV feed. A recent lawsuit against FanDuel showed the potential dangers of inaccurate live data.
Meanwhile, the popularity of NFL betting is not in doubt. The sport generates the most handle according to state-by-state data.
It’s also worth noting that leading operators have shown they are willing to pay for official league data. As Lloyd Danzig, the founder of Sharp Alpha Advisors put it:
“Tier 1 operators may find themselves happy to pay the price in the context of their broader relationships with commissioner’s offices.”
That said, if a data provider ponies up $100 million, that cost is going to be passed onto operators.
888 exec Yaniv Sherman warned that sportsbook already ran on tight margins and might struggle to deal with with more costs.
“The NFL was clever waiting it out like Gorillas do,” Sherman said. “But it should consider operators already spend a considerable part of their marketing budget with teams, so it shouldn’t kill its host”.
Who needs the NFL deal the most?
Sportradar is the NFL’s incumbent partner and the official data provider for the NBA, NHL and MLB. The NFL also owns equity in the company.
“Given the NFL has equity in Sportradar it should certainly afford it pole position,” Sherman said. The company could also throw in more equity as part of a bid.
Meanwhile Genius has official data deals with the MLB and the NBA in the US, as well as the NCAA (although not yet for betting) and NASCAR. IMG has data deals with the UFC and the PGA Tour.