The announcement came after several weeks of high profile announcements, including partnerships with sports governing bodies such as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the International Cricket Council (ICC).
“Adding UEFA to the agreements we have in place alongside other federations strengthens our portfolio of rights in terms of stretch and reach over multiple different territories, and in terms of building what is the best possible range of content for our customers and fans of the sport.” Sportradar’s managing director, sports content partnerships David Lampitt explains.
Although Sportradar is clearly happy to add Uefa to its roster, the partnership is equally notable as the first time the governing body has granted official rights to collect and distribute data on matches under its remit. This includes major men’s and women’s competitions such as the Champions League and the European Championships.
“We’re extremely happy to have secured this agreement with Uefa, and for them to have put their trust in us as an organisation,” explains Lampitt. “It’s the first time they have put an official data product into the market, so it’s a critical decision for them to make.”
As the governing body of football in Europe, a deal with Uefa is a crucial asset for what Lampitt emphasises is Sportradar’s most popular offering.
”Soccer is our number one sport,” explains Lampitt. “To give you an idea of how big it is, we accepted 700 million soccer bets in the first quarter of the year.”
And European football rights have a global impact. Lampitt notes that anything driven by football has worldwide potential, especially with competitions such as the Champions League.
“I think Uefa, and the Uefa competitions, are properties which really do have global appeal,” says Lampitt. “Their appeal stretches far beyond the confines of the participating countries and leagues, and beyond the borders of Europe. It’s one of the things that makes it that much more attractive.”
Although the data rights partnership is a monumental step in Sportradar’s continued growth, its existing partnership with Uefa speaks to the importance of maintaining strategic relationships.
While the data distribution partnership is the crux of the deal, Sportradar quietly extended its longstanding integrity partnership with Uefa. This relationship, says Lampitt, built the foundation of the newly-announced partnership.
“UEFA has been a foundational part of Sportradar’s Integrity Services for many years,” says Lampitt. “We’ve helped them protect the game from would-be corruptors for more than a decade.”
“The strength of that relationship and the success we’ve had working together is an important factor in the overall agreement.”
But like all aspects of business, integrity requires a balance.
“When we’re discussing how we can support a sports organization commercialising their content in the betting spaces, we offer a balance that enables them to align their commercial interests with the integrity of their sport by putting the strongest protection measures in place at the same time,” says Lampitt.
“I think that’s a key part of the decision.”
In September, Sportradar officially began trading on New York’s Nasdaq Stock Exchange, after completing its initial public offering, a major statement for the business.
Lampitt sees Sportradar’s sports data partnerships as fuel for the company’s worldwide growth.
“We have recently announced three of those key and strategically valuable sports in terms of ICC for cricket, ITF for tennis and UEFA for soccer,” added Lampitt.
“Those three sports, alongside basketball and other major US sports, are key elements and key focus points for us in terms of strategic growth.”
On the company’s listing day, Sportradar’s chief commercial officer Eduard Blonk told iGB how he sees data rights deals as “raw material” which need the correct investments to become defined.
This focus on growth, says Lampitt, will allow Sportradar to mobilise its content.
“[The recent deals] start to piece together our portfolio in terms of that stretch and reach over multiple different territories, and building what is hopefully the best possible range of content for our customers and fans of the sport.”