NFL Embraces Legalized Sports Betting with Sportradar AG Data Deal

  • Partnership gives Sportradar exclusive rights to issue NFL data to operators worldwide
  • “Landmark deal” marks league's first significant step in sports gambling
  • NFL joins NBA, MLB, and NHL, all of which have sports betting deals in place
american-football-helmet-raised-in-the-air-inside-football-ground
The new deal will see Sportradar AG distribute the NFL’s official sports betting data to legal operators worldwide.

First sports gambling step

America’s National Football League (NFL) has signed a multiyear partnership with sports data service provider Sportradar AG, making it the first significant sports gambling step for the league.

The agreement gives Sportradar exclusive rights to issue official NFL data to legal sports betting operators in the U.S. and around the world, reports Bloomberg.

Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s chief operating officer, said it’s a “new day” for NFL within the legalized sports betting industry. He added:

When we actually go to market, we don’t want to worry about being first, we want to be right.”

Prior to the agreement, the NFL had taken a tentative step toward embracing legalized sports betting despite its steady acceptance in the U.S. This occurred alongside sports betting partnerships that the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), and the National Hockey League (NHL) entered into over the past year.

“Landmark deal”

The NFL has also given rights to Sportradar to hand out live game video feeds to gambling venues abroad to show alongside odds.

Speaking about the partnership, David Lampitt, Sportradar’s managing director of sports partnerships, said it was a “landmark deal” and among “the biggest in company history.”

The deal will also see Sportradar monitor betting activity on NFL games to determine irregularities, which could indicate fraud.

Using official league data

The NFL has worked with Sportradar on the distribution of non-gambling data since 2015. This comprises play-by-play and in-game data, including information from sensors inside players’ shoulder pads. Under the new agreement, the rights Sportradar already holds will continue to apply.

With the new deal, Sportradar has the opportunity to market such information to gambling venues as well as to the media outlets it was previously targeting.

For the NFL, this is a step forward when it comes to the use of official data. Back in September, the league sent a letter to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee requesting that official league data be used in sports betting. At the time of the report, it was noted that the NFL feared the rise of false contests, which could bring the integrity of the marketplace into question. The NFL went on to say that the information used should be “correct and timely.” This is something, the NFL noted, that could only come from the official data provided by the sports leagues themselves.

Such compromised integrity has seen the NFL fighting against the acceptance of legalized sports betting in the past. However, according to Schroeder, the Sportradar deal will better serve fans who will be able to use the data in a variety of ways.

The NFL’s role, Schroeder added, will be to ensure that the feed and data delivered are “consistent and best-in-class.”