Genius Sports continues to strike prominent partnerships in the world of sports, the latest being a newly-minted data deal with the NCAA’s Mid-American Conference. This partnership could allow the conference to start selling official data to Genius Sports partners which could use it to adjust their sports betting fixtures. While college sports have been one of the most contentious topics insofar as sports betting goes, many have acquiesced to the inherent benefits of leveraging the conference’s official data to boost the profitability of operations.
Leveraging Official NCAA Data with Commercial Partners
The partnership extends over a period of five years and gives Genius Sports the right to manage and relate official data from the conference. To get access to the data, though, Genius Sports would require companies to pay for it which should help MAC achieve better sustainability, and even help with integrity as better remuneration and more funding for the conference mean fewer outward influences on players and staff to mess with game conditions.
MAC officials believe that this could usher in a new age in which conferences are benefiting from their official data in new ways, ESPN said. The MAC is a fairly big collegiate conference with five states of significant athletic track record, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and New York. All of these states have effectively legalized sports betting, which creates new opportunities – albeit some challenges, too.
Speaking to ESPN, MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher offered some insight into what this data partnership:
“We want to manage that asset. We want that asset to provide value back to our institutions so that we can support our student-athletes, plain and simple.”
MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher
It’s about control, Steinbrecher added and argued that the conference will be the shot-caller when it comes to what happens.
Legal Rights to Data May Be Challenged by the NCAA
There are some challenges, as mentioned, though. For one, the NCAA does not explicitly allow the sale of data, but MAC is confident that it can buck this trend and has the legal grounds to do so.
The deal facilitated through this Genius Sports partnership is in fact on point with existing NCAA rules, the official argues. Meanwhile, Genius Sports already has data deals with over 400 sports organizations globally, to name the PGA, NASCAR, NFL, and others. The company recently withdrew from its business in Russia, arguing that it could not continue to work with the country and affiliated entities due to the ongoing and illegal war Russia wagered on Ukraine.