Partnerships

Sportradar inks multi-year partnership with MLB amid controversy

Jake Patel
Posted on February 28, 2019

On Wednesday, sports data supplier Sportradar and Major League Baseball (MLB) announced a multi-year partnership for data distribution.

According to a press release, the partnership will “enhance and expand distribution of MLB’s real-time game statistics around the globe.”

The partnership will begin with the 2019 season and will include “media and gaming rights” both domestically and at an international level.

Carsten Koerl, Sportradar’s CEO said: “This is not only a tremendous opportunity for Sportradar, but ultimately it opens up new doors for MLB fans who have historically shown a proclivity for sophisticated data. We look forward to utilizing our vast global experience as the global leader in the data, AV, and integrity spaces to give fans and partners an unmatched experience.”

As part of the deal, Sportradar will receive exclusive distribution rights for official real-time MLB data collected at every MLB ballpark across the nation.

Sportradar will also have the exclusive right to distribute live industry standard audio-visual game feeds to gambling operators outside of the US in jurisdictions with legal sports betting. As for the US market, Sportradar will have the same exclusive right to distribute data to media entities in their coverage of MLB events.

The partnership will also grant Sportradar the ability to supply real-time betting data to US sports betting operators in states where sports betting is legal on a non-exclusive basis.

MLB will also benefit from Sportradar’s integrity services to help monitor the integrity of the sport.

Kenny Gersh, MLB Executive Vice President, Gaming & New Business Ventures said: “A high-quality, reliable, and fast official data feed is the building block to creating engaging gaming products for MLB fans. We are excited about the opportunities that this partnership will unlock as the sports betting landscape continues to unfold in the US.”

This partnership marks the latest deal between Sportradar and a professional sports entity. Sportradar is currently partnered with the NBA, NFL, FIFA, NASCAR and NHL.

The news of this partnership comes just days after MLB asked regulators in several states to prohibit betting on spring training games.

Regulators in Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi and Pennsylvania received requests from MLB to remove the spring training games from sportsbooks for “integrity reasons.”

In a report from ESPN, MLB is quoted as saying: “These games are not conducive to betting and carry heightened integrity risks, and states should not permit bookmakers to offer bets on them.”

However, very few people wager on spring training games and the likelihood of integrity issues arising are very unlikely. It appears that the league is attempting to establish some form of control over legal sports betting.

According to an Associated Press report, Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports book operations at Superbook in Las Vegas, said: “If there was any suspicious activity on these games, it would stick out like snow in Vegas.”

The Nevada Gaming Control Board declined the request and said: “Based on our history and experience in regulating sports wagering, we are not inclined to prohibit our licensed sports books from taking wagers on MLB Spring Training games.”

However, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has asked sportsbooks in the state to suspend betting on spring training games until it reaches a decision.