The deal comes as Canada’s government prepares to legalize single-game wagering, a step that would unlock a whole new group of hockey-loving bettors. The AHL, the main development league for the NHL, has 31 teams, including seven that are affiliated with Canadian NHL teams and four based in Canada.
Under the partnership, Genius Sports will have exclusive rights to capture live data from AHL games and sell it to sportsbooks across the globe. Genius will also have the ability to sell livestreams to more than 1,200 AHL events per year, giving sports betting operators the opportunity to pair live odds with live video.
As legal sports betting spreads both across the U.S. and globally, sports leagues view gambling as an opportunity to further engage existing fans and attract new ones. The AHL will rely on Genius Sports to take game data and turn it into a compelling betting product.
“Our goal is to deliver the excitement and quality of AHL hockey to fans worldwide and to engage with them as effectively in the manner that suits them best,” Chris Nikolis, the AHL’s executive vice president for business, said in a statement.
The announcement comes just one week after the Canadian government adopted a bill that would strike down the country’s ban on single-game sports betting. In the near future, Canada’s 38 million residents (a population roughly equivalent to California’s) will likely have much more freedom to wager on sports as they see fit.
That’s a big opportunity for sports betting operators, plus leagues like the AHL and suppliers like Genius Sports. theScore, a Toronto-based sports media and gaming company, estimates that Canada’s online sports betting could create as much as $5.4 billion in annual gross gaming revenue. The company’s stock price more than doubled following the government’s action.
Based in London, Genius Sports is going public through a $1.5 billion deal with blank-check firm dMY Technology Group II. It has relationships with the English Premier League, the NCAA and NASCAR, among others.