Bloomberg reported Friday that the NBA is nearing a 6-year, $250 million deal with sports data companies Sportradar and Second Spectrum that would support the league’s big data and streaming ambitions.
Sportradar, based in Switzerland with its U.S. headquarters in Minneapolis, has a large footprint among professional sports leagues in North America. It already has data partnerships with the NFL, NHL, and NASCAR; some of the company’s clients include Turner Media, Twitter and Samsung.
CNN is using Sportradar for this month’s Olympic Games.
— Sportradar US (@SportradarUS) August 7, 2016
Adding the NBA to its portfolio would be a big win for Sportradar, which is backed by NBA owners like Mark Cuban, Michael Jordan, and Ted Leonsis. The NBA currently works with Stats, which provides its SportVU tracking technology.
The NBA has been working w Stats on data rights, inc SportVU player tracking, so impending move to Sportradar a big shift in the market
— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) August 12, 2016
Bloomberg notes that sports betting would be a key part of the deal, with Sportradar helping to provide real-time data to betting houses. Though currently illegal in the U.S., NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has voiced his support for legalized sports gambling.
Sportradar would partner with Second Spectrum for the deal, Bloomberg reported. The Los Angeles-based startup utilizes data analytics and machine learning to help provide more information about a given game, both to fans and team analytic departments. The company is already working with teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, whose owner, Steve Ballmer, spoke at the GeekWire Sports Tech Summit last month.
Ballmer said that fans could potentially use technology built by Second Spectrum to examine plays with more depth and see how they were defended and how likely they are to be successful. This kind of technology could be part of a “second screen” experience built into a team-run streaming service, for example.
“That is possible over the next several years,” Ballmer said.
Ballmer, who acquired the Clippers for a record $2 billion in 2014, also explained that “the real opportunity is to, if you will, augment reality as people are watching the game.”
“Can you put yourself in the position of Blake Griffin?,” he said. “What does the game in question look like in real time from his perspective? Can you sit on the shoulders of Chris Paul or DeAndre Jordan or even someone who plays for the other team? Can we allow you to do that?”