The National Basketball Association and Sportradar have signed a new eight-year deal that will give the Swiss data firm the exclusive rights to distribute NBA data to sportsbooks in the U.S. and abroad.
The deal, which starts with the 2023-24 season, includes both a cash component and equity with a current value of more than $1 billion, according to someone familiar with the matter. The NBA will receive 3% of the company (Nasdaq: SRAD) over the course of the agreement, according to a regulatory filing. Sportradar finished trading Tuesday with a market cap of $6.4 billion.
The deal strengthens what is already a tight relationship between the two sides. Sportradar has worked with the league in varying capacities since 2016. The firm’s backers include a trio of NBA owners—Mark Cuban, Michael Jordan and Ted Leonsis’ Revolution Growth—all of whom invested back in 2015, when Sportradar was a private company. Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Hornets, is also a special adviser to the company’s board.
The partnership covers the NBA, WNBA and G League. It includes overseas streaming rights and expanded distribution of player tracking data, information that is becoming popular both for betting markets and media coverage of games.
The deal expands beyond just sports betting to include some media and marketing aspects, which is in line with Sportradar’s vision for the future of its business.
“Every league wants to go direct-to-consumer,” CEO Carsten Koerl said in an interview. “The deal covers digital inventory, where together with the NBA, we have broadened the vision and the scope. And that is the really exciting part. If we can get this right, we can accelerate enormously.”
The NBA’s equity will be worth 3% of the total number of Class A ordinary shares outstanding on a fully diluted basis, the filing says. The warrants have a $0.01 strike price and an eight-year vesting schedule, 20% vesting up front.
Official data feeds are one of the more direct ways leagues can profit off of the rapid expansion of legal sports betting, not just in the U.S., but also overseas. Sportradar is hoping that exclusive access to the league’s official data will allow it to build NBA products that are faster, more robust and more reliable than feeds built only off live video, which will compel operators to pay up for access.
Basketball is the second-most wagered sport in the U.S., behind football. Nevada sportsbooks, for example, took $2.26 billion in football wagers (NFL and college) in the past 12 months, and $2.02 billion in basketball wagers (NBA and college).
Internationally, NBA betting dwarfs NFL betting, thanks to strong fan bases in Asia and Europe. The league has more than 2.2 billion fans around the world, according to Sportradar.
"It’s a better betting sport,” Koerl said, comparing basketball to football. “This is really important. Purely from popularity among bettors, the NBA is significantly bigger—it’s a live betting sport."
In the past two months, Sportradar has announced comprehensive data deals with UEFA, the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF). In the U.S., the company now has exclusive domestic and international rights with the NBA and NHL, plus exclusive overseas rights with MLB. It is a domestic MLB distributor on a non-exclusive basis.
The NBA wouldn’t be the first major U.S. league with Sportradar equity. The NFL is an investor in a Sportradar subsidiary, and the NHL’s new 10-year exclusive data deal with the company includes the right to purchase Sportradar shares via three separate avenues. Other Sportradar investors include Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly.
With reporting by Brendan Coffey.
(This story has been updated with total value and details of the agreement in the second paragraph, and with information from an interview with Carsten Koerl in the fifth, sixth and 11th paragraphs.)