NBA to distribute real-time data for betting odds

NBA to distribute real-time data for in-game betting (1:45)

Brian Windhorst explains all the possibilities for the NBA and in-game betting in states where sports gambling is legal. (1:45)

NEW YORK -- Real-time, official NBA data will be used to generate in-game betting odds and then be distributed to licensed sportsbooks in the U.S. through multiple partners in a deal announced Wednesday -- the first such arrangement for a major American sports league.

Beginning this season, sports data providers Genius Sports and Sportradar -- two companies that have worked closely with the NBA and already provide other data to U.S. and international sportsbooks -- will have the nonexclusive rights to distribute official NBA and WNBA betting data.

"We feel strongly that official NBA betting data provides the best experience for our fans," NBA vice president and head of fantasy and gaming Scott Kaufman-Ross told ESPN. "We want all legal operators to be using official data, and this framework ensures that there is a competitive marketplace for it."

The NBA says the value of the official data feed lies in its reliability and transmission speed, which is critical for the growth of live in-game betting, in which odds are offered for wagering throughout a contest. Bookmakers in the United Kingdom say that more money is bet during a match than before it, and the popularity of live betting is growing in the U.S., too. At a gaming conference this week in New York, an executive for FanDuel's sportsbook in New Jersey said in-game betting accounts for an estimated 40 percent of the amount wagered at its book.

"We see the market evolving more and more toward live betting, and having the ability of providing reliable, accurate and timely information to the [bettors] is absolutely crucial," Sportradar U.S. president Matteo Monteverdi told ESPN.

Genius Sports Group CEO Mark Locke said the company was delighted to be chosen as an official NBA data partner and "realizes the benefits of driving innovation in basketball technology and delivering the most engaging betting experience for NBA fans."

The NBA has allowed its official data to be distributed to bookmakers in international jurisdictions where sports betting is legal, but not in the U.S. until now. In May, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, the federal statute that had restricted state-sponsored sports betting to primarily Nevada. Since the ruling, legal sportsbooks have opened in Delaware, Mississippi, New Mexico, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

"Sportradar and Genius Sports are proven leaders in data distribution and will deliver unparalleled, real-time official NBA betting data," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a release announcing the deal. "As the sports betting landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, these new partnerships will provide robust and reliable data to ensure the best possible gaming experience for our fans in the U.S."

In June, the NBA signed a partnership with MGM Resorts, making the sports betting operator the official gaming partner of the league. As part of the partnership, MGM will get access to the NBA's official data feed.

While Genius Sports and Sportradar will be the first distributors of official NBA betting data, they might not be the last.

"We may bring on others in the future, depending on how things shake out," Kaufman-Ross said, "but it was important to have that competitive landscape up and running as soon as possible."