The NBA deal means “high quality content for a sport with huge reach”

23 September 2016

iGaming Business spoke with Sportradar's Ulrich Harmuth about the deal that will see the Swiss group supply all NBA data and video to the igaming sector.

Ulrich Harmuth, managing director for digital sport at Sportradar, has told iGaming Business that the agreement between Sportradar and the NBA will enable betting operators to offer “high quality data and content for a massive sport with huge reach worldwide”.

Sportradar’s agreement to produce and distribute National Basketball Association statistics and video content to betting operators ranks as one of the highest profile deals of recent times.

As a sporting brand the NBA dominates all other basketball leagues and has a substantial reach across the world.

Harmuth commented that “the time difference (of when the games are played in the US) also means that bookmakers will now be able to offer high quality sporting and audiovisual content at a time when there will not be content of a similar standard in their own time zones.

“The deal means all NBA, Women’s NBA, play-off and All-Star Games will be available as content for betting operators to propose to their players.”

Betting operators will be able to offer new video content to their customers from this season onwards and while Sportradar is known for its odds or integrity services, it is the strategic acquisition of the Sportman Media Group back in April that means it is now able to offer video content as part of its product range.

Ulrich Harmuth acknowledges that the Sportsman buyout addressed an area in the company’s offering that needed attention and emphasises that the NBA deal represents “high quality data and content for a massive sport with huge reach worldwide”. 

The other part of the deal will see optical tracking specialist Second Spectrum provide in-depth player statistics that will track and analyse player movement, speed, distance and performance from the start of the 2017-18 season.

Looking at the US market, it is also noteworthy because of the country’s difficult relationship with sports betting and online gaming in general.

This is not to overstate the Sportradar-NBA deal, but to point out that a major sporting federation such as the US National Basketball Association signing up with a company that works so closely with the betting sector can be seen as a sign of progress.

No doubt the situation is helped by the fact that Mark Cuban, Michael Jordan and Ted Leonsis own NBA teams and are also investors in Sportradar. 

The NBA, via its commissioner Adam Silver, has called for sports betting to be regulated in the US while the American Gaming Association has also been forthright recently in calling for the industry to be regulated.