NBA owners Michael Jordan, Mark Cuban and Ted Leonsis are gambling $45 million on a future where there is legalized sports betting.
The trio of sports team owners invested their millions into Swiss sports data company Sportradar AG, which counts international bookmakers among its top clients, Bloomberg reported.
Leonsis, whose private equity firm Revolution Growth led the full investment round, told the news agency he was attracted to Sportradar’s deep experience in sports betting in Europe, where he believes “gaming and fraud detection have been perfected.”
“Now that they’ve come to the U.S., I just felt they were just so well-positioned,” Leonsis said, referring to Sportradar, which has its U.S. office in Minneapolis.
Leonsis owns NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Washington Capitals. Jordan, on the other hand, owns Charlotte Hornets, while Mark Cuban owns the Dallas Mavericks. Sportradar founder and CEO Carsten Koerl said the three will be “valuable strategic partners” for the sports statistics business.
“Their intimate knowledge of the U.S. sports and media market will help us to develop cutting-edge real-time data products that will change how sports are consumed in the future,” Koerl said in a statement.
Sportradar entered the U.S. market in 2013, paying college students to watch sporting events and enter stats into the company’s database, according to Star Tribune. The company, which has already secured exclusive partnerships with the NFL, NASCAR and the NHL, still continues to employ part-time statkeepers.
In an email with Bloomberg, Cuban said: “Data drives the sports world, and Sportradar is the leading global provider. With our support I think they can be much bigger.”
“The Sportradar team is ahead of the curve in understanding the crucial role data plays in creating innovative content and products that captures audiences,” Leonsis said in a statement following the announcement. “With superior technology and development that is already providing the fastest, most accurate data feeds, Sportradar is well-poised to capitalize on the rapidly expanding, multi-billion global sports market.”
Aside from its business with media and technology companies, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, Sportradar also provides data to daily fantasy sports site FanDuel. The DFS site and its rival DraftKings are currently in the middle of weeks-long controversy that prompted a legal and regulatory debate on the legal status of fantasy sports.
Sportradar U.S. President Ulrich Harmuth told Bloomberg: “If the U.S. market opens up for gaming we are ready to shoot.”