Sportradar managing director for sports partnerships David Lampitt explains how the company’s new partnership with the NFL will benefit customers and operators alike.

This year’s NFL season is set to be an all new ball game. When the teams run out for the opening weeks of this year’s regular season, fans in the US will not only be able to witness the action but play a part in it too, in states where wagering has been legalised.

With the popularity of American football across the world, this is a huge opportunity for licensed bookmakers worldwide. The US has stepped into the industry at a time when technology has advanced sports betting and statistics to the point where fans can become immersed in the game more than ever before. Gone are the days where sports betting was simply about guessing the end score or winning team.

One of the many benefits of the US opening to legalised betting is that the saturation of statistics there means more opportunities when it comes to wagering. US sports leagues are ahead of the game in terms of sports data and statistics, and utilising this in ways that engages fans in a reciprocal relationship that entertains and drives commercial gains.

The NFL, for example, has invested in player and ball tracking innovation with its Next Gen Stats (NGS) for analysis and to enhance fan experience. With around 250 devices in a venue for any given game, and player pads tagged with chips, NGS is able to capture a lot of data at granular level.

Granular level of data
Since 2015, Sportradar has been the exclusive distributor of the NFL’s proprietary NGS player tracking data and the league’s official play-by-play statistics. Now, thanks to our recent partnership expansion with the NFL, we can officially distribute this data to licensed sports betting operators in the US and internationally where sports betting is legal and regulated.

Apply this granular level of data to wagering and you can create a whole set of fast and reliable outcomes for customers to bet on, and therefore a whole new level of engagement. This goes hand-in-hand with the latest technology, like the second screen experience and personalisation that is being utilised to bring supporters closer to the game, their favourite teams and players.

In regions where live, in-play, mobile and online betting is allowed, this gives fans, no matter where they are, the opportunity to guess not only how the match will play out, but what their favourite player will do next. With the celebrity status of some of the US sports leagues’ top players, this is likely to be popular among customers, whether they are regular bettors or not.

The benefit of Sportradar’s deal with the NFL then is not only the access to distribute data, which guarantees speed and accuracy for clients, but also the ability to enhance the level of engagement for the NFL and licensed operators.

Creating new markets
Through our partnership we will continue to work with the NFL and their NGS to create more of such opportunities, which can also help build understanding and reach of the game as well. As we do for all of official data partners, we will utilise official NFL data to continue to create new betting markets. For player markets, for example, this already includes passing yards, passing touchdowns, carries, rushing yards and receiving yards.

Our Quantitative Team has also created a whole new set of detailed wagering markets for the NFL, with everything from first drive result, total touchdowns and total field goals, to yes/no markets (such as ‘Will either side score three consecutive times without reply?’ and ‘Will there be a two-point conversion?’). As you can imagine, with the number of stats available in NFL this can and will be expanded even further.

When you give customers many options for a game, you not only increase interaction levels but also enjoyment levels. At the same time, by allowing customers, both old and new, to discover these markets, you increase knowledge of the game, which for an intricate sport like NFL, can help it to grow even further in popularity among global audiences.

Coupled with live audio-visual (AV) game feeds to select international markets, which are also included as part of Sportradar’s partnership with the NFL, you get more eyes on the game across the world. This not only adds to the entertainment for punters as part of a sportsbook, but can enhance the growth of the sport itself.

Utilising our market-leading trading and risk management, Managed Trading Services (MTS), operators will have peace of mind knowing Sportradar’s cutting-edge technology around any sport, including the NFL, is monitored 24/7.