Fox Sports Signs Analytics Deal with Sports Data Company, Sportradar
Fox Sports signed a deal with international sports data supplier Sportsradar this week to bolster their in-game and dealer content. Fox Sports becomes one of the first broadcasters to embrace Sportradar’s advanced research platform, Radar360, but the company’s technology is used heavily among the world’s top sports associations.
The deal comes only days after Fox Sports signed a blockbuster $5.1 billion deal for Major League Baseball (MLB) broadcast rights. The Sportradar package should give Fox Sports more tools to provide a world-class MLB broadcast package.
Brad Zager, the executive vice president of Production & Operations for Fox Sports, said of the deal, “Sportradar is in a position to provide information to our networks with cutting edge technology that is easily accessible by the staff in our production trucks and studios. This will allow our production teams and announcers to stay at the forefront of storytelling using new data and analytics.”
Sportradar is the official data provider of the NFL, NASCAR, and NHL. Since 2015, the company has a partnership with the International Tennis Federation (ITF). In 2016, Sportradar has been a partner with the NBA.
Sportradar began in Trondheim in 2000 under the name Market Monitor. The company’s key partnership dates back to 2005, when Sportradar signed a deal with the German Football Association to detect match fixing and other types of fraud. The Fraud Detection System proved revolutionary in the major sports category, while the association gave Sportradar the reputation and resources to expand further.
Since then, Sportradar has worked with Serie A, Major League Soccer, and the International Ice Hockey Federation. Its product Betradar helps bookmakers worldwide to detect suspicious betting activity. Over the years, bookmakers have shut down wagers on suspicious betting lines and prop bets, due to activity spotted by Betradar.
Workshops for Players and Execs
Not only does the company provide cutting-edge research tools and detection for professionals at the top levels of those organizations, but it also holds workshops to teach clubs and players how to avoid match fixers and how match manipulation is detected.
Such tutorials serve not just as seminars to help sports figures know how to avoid the pitfalls of big time sport, but it also shows them the dangers of engaging in match-fixing or point-shaving.
“Partner…to Today’s Sports Storytellers”
Steve Byrd, Sportradar’s Head of Global Strategic Partnerships, spoke of his company’s mission when announcing the deal with Fox Sports. Mr. Byrd said, “Sportradar is obsessed with the fan experience, and driven by the opportunity to be a good partner to today’s sports storytellers.”
“Media partners use our turnkey services to tell unique, data-driven stories. With these expanded capabilities, it will be even easier to comprehend trends and produce amazing content for pre-, in-, and post-game consumption.”
Criticisms of Sportradar
One can argue that Sportradar has done more in the past 10 years to combat match-fixing and point-shaving than any single company in the world. With separate products that help leagues, sportsbooks, and sports broadcasting entities to track game data and other analytics, those who organize sports have more tools than ever to know who is betting on what and what patterns are emerging in those wagers.
Despite that, Sportradar has had some critics. Some watchdog groups voiced concerns that Sportradar makes it easy to get up-to-date results on “futures events” on the International Tennis Federation schedule. Futures events are for younger, up-and-coming tennis talents who wish to break into the ATP and WTA circuits.
Because the players and judges on ITF futures events are paid less, those concerned about match fixers voiced concern that quickly updated results might allow match-fixers to beat bookmakers to the results. Sportradar countered those charges by noting that up to the minute data could be collected by match fixers in other ways (spotters at the tournament), so their products help and don’t hurt officials who want to stop match fixers.