Genius Sports Group Files Lawsuit Against Sportradar Over Data Collection Issue

  • Genius Sports Group has the exclusive rights to collect data at leading UK soccer league games
  • The lawsuit alleges that Sportradar sends “data scouts” to stadiums, breaking exclusivity
  • Sportradar filed a lawsuit against Genius Sports in 2020, claiming anti-competition violations
  • Sports data companies sell live sporting event info to sportsbooks and broadcasters
crowded soccer stadium
Genius Sports Group filed a lawsuit on February 5 against Sportradar, claiming the competitor’s use of “data scouts” is a breach of Genius’s exclusivity deal with top UK soccer leagues. [Image:]

An exclusive relationship

Genius Sports Group filed a lawsuit on February 5 against Sportradar in the UK High Court in an ongoing dispute about data rights. 

Currently, Genius Sports Group holds the exclusive rights for collecting data at games in the English Premier League, English Football League, and the Scottish Professional Football League. This deal has been in place since 2019 with Football DataCo, the intellectual data licensing arm of the UK’s leading soccer leagues. 

Sportradar has still been collecting data for its partners at games

Despite this exclusive agreement, Sportradar has still been collecting data for its partners at games in these soccer leagues. To do so, it has been sending “data scouts” to the matches to collect all the relevant live data for betting markets. 

Allegations in the lawsuit

The lawsuit alleges that the use of data scouts at games represents a breach of confidence from Sportradar, as it is gathering confidential information in a private stadium. 

This lawsuit also alleges that Sportradar is conspiring with the data scouts to injure both Football DataCo and Genius Sports Group through their alleged collection of data through unlawful means.

The use of unlawful means relates to the Sportradar data scouts supposedly breaching ticketing conditions at the stadiums to collect data, which would mean that they are trespassers rather than spectators. The conspiracy side of the complaint has to do with the sports data company working with the data scouts to make commercial gains.

In a statement, Tom Russell, general counsel for Genius Sports Group, spoke about Sportradar’s “cynical promotion of itself” within the worldwide sports community. He went on to say: “we are continuously astounded at its [Sportradar] willingness to exploit sporting events while undermining the vital funding of sports.”

Previous legal action

This is not the first lawsuit involving the two parties. Last year, Sportradar took legal action against Genius Sports Group, alleging that the latter’s exclusive data agreement with the soccer leagues and the enforcement of this deal by removing Sportradar data scouts from stadiums was anti-competitive. The UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal will decide the issue.

Sportradar believes that this case has to take precedence over the new lawsuit from Genius Sports Group because the new lawsuit concerns private law. Sportradar holds the position that “private law rights cannot be relied upon to give effect to an anti-competitive arrangement.”

Data is big business

Sports data is big business these days with live betting markets becoming more and more popular. Data companies like Sportradar and Genius Sports partner with major sports organizations to get access to the latest and most reliable data during games. 

Naturally, a lot depends on the speed at which the data transmits during the course of a live sporting event. Some companies will simply collect data when watching the best live video of an event, while others will often send data scouts to a game. The company then sells the data to the organizations such as broadcasters and sportsbooks.

Genius Sports is currently working on a reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) to go public in a $1.5bn deal. Sportradar is also looking at going public. Among its current investors are the NFL and NBA franchise owners Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks), Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets), and Ted Leonsis (Washington Wizards). Both companies have deals with sports organizations in the US; Sportradar has an exclusive data distribution deal in place with the NFL.

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