What started as a tool to aggregate betting odds has turned into one of the most trusted data firms in sports. So, who and what is Sportradar, anyway?
If something exists in sports, there’s a number to measure it. If there’s a number to measure it, there’s a way it affects betting lines. And while betting and sports have coexisted at least since the Romans wagered on chariot races, there has never been more information — or higher stakes — to bring to bear than there are today.
And that’s where Sportradar comes in.
The company touts itself as being “positioned at the intersection of sports, media, and betting industries, and it’s been at it for two decades.” More simply, it’s the self-styled “source code of sport.”
But a lot has happened in the two decades it’s taken to reach this point — so let’s tell the story of Sportradar, who might just be the most important organization in sports that you know the least about.
Spoiler alert: Michael Jordan is involved.
What’s now known as Sportradar began as a small operation by Norwegian college friends Petter Fornass and Tore Steinkjer to aggregate odds for 25 different sports worldwide. They created a program that crawled 300 sites to put the odds in one place, allowing bookmakers to make sure the odds they were offering tracked with the rest of the industry. It became known as Betradar.com.
Fornass soon folded Bet Radar into his own company, Market Monitor AS, and in 2001, entrepreneur Carsten Koerl bought a controlling stake in the company. That enabled the company to grow rapidly, and by 2005, it had employees throughout Europe and over 100 clients around the world.
Building a Better Game
By 2009, Sportradar had established itself as an influential company in the sports betting space. That meant it also had the responsibility to uphold the integrity of the sports it covered.
The company launched its Fraud Detection System (FDS) that year to monitor changes in odds and send alerts when there is suspicious line movement, with the goal to prevent match-fixing.
Over time, FDS has evolved into a bundle of services, including monitoring and detection, risk and compliance education, and integrity program audits — a Code of Conduct and various Standard Operating Procedures —tailored to the needs of each partner.
Sportsradar’s Acquisitions & Partnerships
2014: Sportradar becomes a shareholder of NSoft
2015: Obtains exclusive distribution rights with the NFL, NHL, and NASCAR
2016: Partners with the NBA involving integrity services, data distribution, and video streaming
2018: Signs multi-year partnership with NASCAR
The mid-2010s are truly when Sportradar started to make massive strides regarding partnerships and distribution, kick-started by the acquisition of 40% of NSoft, a software company that offers emerging technology solutions for betting and gambling operators, including via artificial intelligence.
At the same time, deals with NASCAR and the NBA, NHL, and NFL allowed for Sportradar to further cement itself as an industry leader. Specifically, leveraging sports data to unlock next-level potential for live broadcast services has grown into one of the principal ways in which the company moves the needle.
For example, media partners need to be able to have research data at the ready to add both informational and anecdotal credibility to their broadcasts. Sportradar offers Radar360, an in-depth analytics platform, to provide personalized stats and numerous filters that help broadcasters share the most precise, illustrative info possible to their viewers with a quick turnaround.
And for sportsbooks, the need for a firm like Sportradar is simple: ensuring that data can be implemented in real time to adjust live betting odds and prevent bettors from exploiting lag times before updates go into effect.
2021 (and Beyond)
June 29, 2021: Sportradar and NHL announce 10-year global partnership
August 19, 2021: Sportradar and FanDuel announce partnership through 2028
Sept. 14, 2021: Receives $8 billion valuation in US stock market debut; listed on NASDAQ as $SRAD
Sept. 20, 2021: Michael Jordan assumes advisory role with Sportradar
Oct. 20, 2021: Inks partnership with Adomni to bring sports data to out-of-home digital advertising
Nov. 17, 2021: Announces new deal with the NBA extending the partnership with the league, the WNBA, and the G League. The term begins with the 2023-24 NBA season, with the league continuing to use Sportradar’s capabilities to help grow its US operations.
“Basketball is the largest U.S. sport in the world by popularity, and as a market leader, we are best positioned with the technological expertise and industry relationships to help the NBA entertain fans globally,” said Carsten Koerl, global CEO of Sportradar, on the occasion.
2021 has been even more than favorable to Sportradar, which has grown to become the No. 1 betting services provider in the US. Today, Sportradar is valued at an estimated $8 billion and represents about 85% of all bookmakers and more than 900 total sports betting operators.
Perhaps NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said it best in a release:
“As the global leading provider of sports data for the media and betting industry, Sportradar has the unique expertise to help us deliver stats, insights and video content to our fans, who are extremely tech-savvy and constantly crave new and compelling ways to engage with our sport. The capabilities, versatility and global scale of Sportradar’s platforms and products will assist us in providing fans, media and sports betting companies around the world with a greater depth of data and more immersive experience with the game.”
Shortly after announcing raising $513 million through its September IPO, the company inked extensions to their deals with betting suppliers like FanDuel and Kambi. And while advisors don’t get more high-profile than Michael Jordan, expect the big names aligning themselves with Sportradar to increase in number in the years to come as sports betting (and the incredible demand for data solutions that support it) continues to expand across the US and the world.