The National Hockey League will award Sportradar the exclusive rights to distribute its gambling data to sports books in the U.S. and abroad, according to two people familiar with the deal.
Sportradar, whose investors include Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, emerged the winner of a competitive auction, the people said. While final terms on the ten-year deal are unknown, late-stage bidding was said to have passed $250 million and may include equity for the league. The people were granted anonymity because the contract isn’t signed.
A deal would give Sportradar domestic gambling data rights in all four major U.S. sports. It is the exclusive provider for the NFL, and one of a few companies that does the same with the NBA and MLB. A representative from Sportradar declined to comment; Leonsis and NHL officials didn’t immediately respond to emails on Sunday evening.
Sportradar will become the official gatekeeper for all NHL data related to sports betting. That includes basic stats like goals and assists, but also a whole new class of data that the NHL is building. This season the league added chips to the puck and player shoulder pads, tech that produces thousands of data points per second. It’s all part of a league-wide push to give teams, fans and betting houses more information about its games.
Those stats will be critical to enticing sports books into paying Sportradar for official league data. Operators can take NHL wagers without it, but offering lines on more granular options like fastest skater or hardest shot are impossible off a live video feed.
The agreement would cement Sportradar’s position as the dominant data company in U.S. sports betting. It also comes at an important time. Sportico reported last month that Sportradar was exploring plans to go public through a reverse merger. The company, whose investors also include Mark Cuban, Michael Jordan and the NFL, was valued at $2.4 billion as recently as 2018.
Like all U.S. sports leagues, the NHL sees gambling as an opportunity to increase fan engagement, and possibly attract new followers. Once enough states legalize betting, the league could make more than $216 million per year in added revenue due to sports gambling, according to a 2018 study by the American Gaming Association and Nielsen. (For reference, the NFL’s opportunity was 10 times bigger; the NBA’s more than double).
Those numbers, which have likely been impacted by the COVID-19 disruptions, include increased revenue from fan engagement, and the money from data partnerships and sponsorships. The NHL has league-wide sports book deals with MGM, FanDuel and William Hill, and teams are free to ink their own. The New Jersey Devils, for example, had four at the start of the season.
For the past five years, Sportradar has been the league’s official distributor of play-by-play data to media outlets. It also provides integrity services for the league.