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Genius Sports Wins Key Battle For NFL Data Rights

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Genius Sports Wins Key Battle For NFL Data Rights
The NFL logo is seen on a football packaging in Los Angeles. Photo by Chris DELMAS / AFP

A tangible and potentially game-changing battle ended this past week between three capable companies who were fighting for the exclusive rights to distribute valuable NFL gambling data to sports books. In a bit of an upset, London-based Genius Sports, ” a global leader in digital sports content, technology and integrity services” emerged victorious, beating out IMG Arena and early favorite Sportradar, whom the NFL already had an equity stake in.

“We’re excited to welcome Genius Sports to the NFL family,” Kevin LaForce, NFL senior vice president of media strategy and business development, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Genius as we continue to innovate and enhance NFL content on media and betting platforms.”

The race to secure a new deal for the distribution rights of official NFL sports betting data came into greater focus after the league signed an 11-year $113 billion media rights deal and was looking to further monetize anything to do with the NFL brand. Data has become a crucial contributor to the enhancement of NFL fan and bettor experiences during this time of exponential growth within the US legal sports betting space.

Details of the Deal

The multi-year partnership between the NFL and Genius Sports gives the data provider the ability to distribute real-time play-by-play stats via the league’s “Next Gen Stats,” and will grant Genius Sports the exclusive right to provide media companies and sports betting firms with NFL sports betting data feeds, both in the US and around the world. The goal is to get accurate statistics in the hands of bettors quickly and effectively as to enhance the overall wagering experience.

According to a statement, Genius will have the chance to “represent the NFL’s legalized sports betting advertising inventory across the NFL’s owned and operated digital platforms in the US and international markets.”

The data provider will also be in charge of important integrity services which is seen as critical in the growth, viability and credibility of the NFL Betting platform globally.

Financial Details

The value of data has grown exponentially since the US Supreme Court overturned their blanket ban on sports betting in 2018. Sportradar, who had been the NFL’s exclusive data distributor prior to the Genius Sports deal, signed on to provide those services to the league back in 2015 and was paying $5 million per year for those rights.

Distribution has come a long way in the six years since the consummation of that relationship and it is rumored that the league was seeking in the neighbourhood of $100 million, all the way up to $250 million annually for the rights to distribute league data. It is said that the deal could be valued at $1 billion over the life of the contract.

It was reported that the deal was a four-year cash and equity agreement with options with Genius. The NFL, not unlike their previous Sportradar deal will acquire an equity stake in Genius Sports.

Why Genius?

Genius Sports has been a major player in the data distribution arena for quite some time. They were just lacking any sort of NFL connection. The company has existing agreements with gaming companies like Flutter Entertainment, Caesars’ William Hill, MGM’s BetMGM, and PointsBet, all of which are Heavyweight providers in the US scene. There was no shortage of pedigree for the data provider prior to their NFL deal.

“Genius is proud and delighted to partner exclusively with the NFL to establish a new era of digital fan engagement for professional sports leagues everywhere,” Mark Locke, CEO of Genius Sports, said in a statement. “Our technology leads the world in the convergence of official data, betting, streaming, and digital media and we are excited to bring our unique capabilities to the world’s preeminent sports league.”

The Rise of Genius

Genius Sports has been on an upward trajectory but their deal with the NFL takes them into a new stratosphere altogether. Besides their relationships with all of the top-tier betting providers in the US, Genius Sports also boasts connections with more than 500 organizations around the world. The NBA, Premier League, NCAA, NASCAR and PGA Tour are included in the impressive list.

Genius has also taken the step to become a publicly traded company thanks to an agreement with blank-check company dMY Technology Acquisition II in a $1.5 billion deal. It is a testament to the growth plans of the company going forward. We will know more about that venture by the middle of the month when shareholders vote on the deal April 16.

With the NFL now in the Genius Sports family, the company has become the unquestioned elite data provider in the US legal sports betting space. With data distribution, live-streaming products and relationships with almost every major entity in the US legal sports betting scene, Genius Sports has officially become a top-dog in the increasingly crucial and valuable data space.