The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the leader of the major sports leagues when it comes to embracing the sports betting space, having been the first league to sign deals with gambling data firms.
Those firms are Sportradar and Genius Sports, both of which have a great reputation in the space. The NBA was also the first league to sign a deal with a gaming partner – MGM Resorts International.
The National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) have also since done the same, both partnering with MGM Resorts International.
The NBA wants to be able to sell its exclusive data to sports betting operators rather than letting them use it for free. The new agreement with Sportradar and Genius Sports will help them to do just that.
The NBA and sports betting
Along with the other major sports leagues, the NBA was staunchly against the introduction of legal sports betting for many years. It brought numerous lawsuits and legal action to try and stop it from becoming a reality, as did the MLB, NHL, NFL and NCAA.
It was lobbying hard from state to state to try and influence the matter as best as it could. However, after mounting pressure, the Supreme Court ended the federal ban on sports betting in May 2018.
The major sports leagues were left in a tricky position. They could continue spending money trying to overturn this decision and try to get the federal ban reinstated or they could start to embrace the sector.
For the most part, the leagues are taking the latter stance. There is a lot of money to be made in this burgeoning sector and the leagues did not want to be missing out on it.
Integrity fees issue
Both the NBA and MLB are pushing for the introduction of integrity fees. This would see the leagues getting a slice of every sports bet that is placed on one of their events. They have been lobbying hard from state to state to try and have integrity fees included in a sports betting bill.
Despite their efforts, no state has introduced any integrity fee to date. It would be too detrimental to the sportsbook operators, acting as a disincentive for them to put much effort and attention into their offerings.
Therefore, while the NBA is still sometimes talking about integrity fees, it seems to be moving towards a different model – namely selling its exclusive league data.
This is why it has MGM Resorts International as its official gaming partner. The sportsbooks at MGM facilities will be given access to exclusive NBA data and in return the league will be helped with monitoring betting activity on its games.
The NBA also has a gaming partner in France, the national lottery group Francaise des Jeux (FDJ). The sports betting side of its offering in France is known as Parions Sport, which will be pushing NBA sports betting across its 27,000 retail locations in the country. This is a major deal, being the first European partner any of the leagues have signed deals with.
New data company deals
This deal with Sportradar and Genius Sports allows these two data firms to sell the most accurate and fastest NBA data to sportsbooks across the United States. These are multiyear deals that will cover both the NBA and WNBA. The firms will effectively be the middlemen between the operators and the leagues.
There have been no details as to the financial terms of this agreement. However, deals of this type are usually lucrative in nature, largely because of the increasing popularity in live in-play betting.
Operators need the most up-to-date data when offering these markets, with mere seconds being hugely important in the transfer of data.
The leagues are giving all operators the chance to gain access to this data, which is not the norm in other major sports leagues across the world. It will allow them to maximize their revenues in this area.
Sportradar is already working on signing up partners for the distribution of the league’s data. It already has a six-year deal dating from 2016 and worth $250m to distribute the league’s gambling data to overseas operators. It will also be helping the league in its integrity monitoring.
No doubt the NBA will be making further moves in the future.
Dallas Mavericks sports betting push
Many individual teams in the league are now looking to get their own slice of the sports betting pie. The Dallas Mavericks have now hired a sports gambler to aid them in making advancements in the sports betting sector.
Owned by billionaire Mark Cuban, the Mavericks are one of the most popular teams in the league. They recently hired professional sports bettor Bob Voulgari as its director of quantitative research and development. Voulgari has been hugely successful betting on the NBA over the years.
He has a methodical approach to this activity, using research as the basis for his bets rather than blind instinct. In particular, his focus is on predicting NBA game outcomes and he has a massive following on social media.
He will be heading up the research team at the Mavericks. He will teach the organization about how it can use analytics popular in betting, as well as helping it to spot opportunities for embracing the nascent sports betting sector in the US.