- FIBA and Genius have an established data technology partnership.
- The companies hope to double down on the concept of official league data for the betting marketplace.
- Details of the current deal have not been released.
NEW YORK – FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, has extended its long-running partnership with the Genius Sports Group. No details have been released publicly, but the agreement is being characterized as a “long-term” extension.
The deal, announced last week, will allow FIBA to continue to utilize Genius’ data and statistical acumen in packaging a streamlined “official league data” solution.
While the notion of official league data is long-established as a way to combat unauthorized reproductions or transmissions of licensed sports events, it is also of significant potential value in the sports betting marketplace.
Like FIBA, most major sports leagues are looking to enter into official data deals with sportsbook operators. This is especially true in the burgeoning US market, where the majority of states are still crafting legislation for the pastime.
It is in every sports league’s interest to control as much of its product as possible. That includes having rights over all the statistics generated on the field of play.
Any league that can control its own data in a protected and exclusive manner can effectively mandate the use of licensed data packages by sportsbook operators. Leagues are also pushing for government mandates to that effect, but private partnerships are more likely in most US states.
FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis explains the deal with Genius Sports without delving into any of its deeper financial ramifications.
“We are very pleased to continue this long-term and unique relationship with Genius Sports. We have been working together for more than 15 years to develop and offer state-of-the-art digital tools for national federations and leagues. Thanks to this renewal, we will continue the joint efforts in creating innovative tools and make sure that our sport is even more attractive to fans around the world.”
Genius Sports CEO Mark Locke echoes Zagklis’ sentiment.
“Together, we’ve powered over 500,000 games from courtside in over 150 countries and engaged more than 25 million fans. But, this renewal is as much about the future as our achievements to date, and we’re excited to introduce a number of cutting-edge innovations later this year, driving the next stage of digital transformation and data analytics for leagues and federations at all levels of basketball.”
Some of the cited tools and analytics initiatives already developed by the FIBA-Genius partnership include FIBA Organizer and FIBA LiveStats.
These are already in use across FIBA’s network, but expansion will be important to drive adoption, particularly among operators in the sports wagering realm.
While Locke’s referenced upcoming innovations have yet to be announced, they will likely center on data pipelines for live, in-game basketball betting.
In-game betting is the most popular variety of legal sports wagering in the connected world, made possible by advances in automated data collection and real-time posting. Any sportsbook that wishes to offer live betting on FIBA contests, for example, will benefit from access to the league’s official data stream.
In fact, FIBA wishes to make it impossible for sportsbooks and broadcasters to acquire and share that data via any other means.
Per a Forbes report on the deal, that suppression of “unauthorized data” is a major shared goal between the brands:
“[FIBA and Genius Sports] will also work together closely to tackle the difficult problem of data privacy by working to prevent the collection of unofficial data from the FIBA events. In this attempt to restrict the collection and distribution of unofficial data feeds, the partnership hopes to provide basketball leagues across the globe with full control over their data and work together to maximize both its commercial value as well as the integrity of the games from betting-related corruption efforts.”
It is unclear how such official league data can prevent “betting-related corruption efforts.” Nevertheless, this “integrity” angle seems to be a permanent industrial narrative.
Whether or not sportsbooks or states bite remains to be seen.
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Andy has been writing professionally for nearly two decades, with the last three years being dedicated to his primary passions: sports wagering news and gambling industry analyses. A walk-on punter, Andy has a particular interest in professional football, baseball, and horse racing betting. Come early May, you can always catch Andy – clad in all white, mint julep in hand – on Millionaires Row at Churchill Downs. In his dreams.