You may one day call it a “genius” move.
The Mid–American Conference is home to six Ohio universities. It’s entered a partnership with data technology firm Genius Sports Limited. They are the official supplier of official sports data for the NCAA.
By becoming the MAC’s exclusive data manager, it now could charge sports betting operators a fee to access its data. According to Sportico, the MAC is looking for an NCAA interpretation to be able to do just that.
Furthermore, its partnership with the MAC allows it to advertise at high-profile sporting events via stadium signage and digital ads.
Sports betting will soon be legal in Ohio. Gov. Mike DeWine signed legislation into law in late 2021, and we’ll see an official launch by Jan. 1, 2023.
What the MAC and its fans get from the partnership
The partnership between the MAC and Genius Sports brings the conference some significant changes in data presentation.
As the conference’s exclusive data operator, Genius Sports will gather data from all league sporting events. Thereafter, they will manage that data, and generate the MAC’s official statistics.
On a day-to-day level, this may have a different impact. For example, any fans or followers of the conference who, say, check a live box–score of a MAC basketball game, will see stats provided by Genius Sports.
It is the first such partnership between a data tech firm and a collegiate conference. Genius Sports CEO Mark Locke said the partnership will offer fans an “immersive” experience.
“Recognizing our unique capabilities across data collection, tracking, personalized marketing and more, the MAC has embraced our vision of providing college sports fans with immersive and highly engaging experiences,” Locke said in a company statement.
The valuable stats in real time
If a sports betting operator wants to use official, real–time stats from MAC games, it pays for that data. In general, leagues partner with a sport-data provider to ensure that the data for sports betting is accurate and not manipulated.
As a result, “official data” with integrity is akin to official NCAA merchandise. It has the sway of authenticity and is more valuable than knock-offs.
In that vein, Genius Sports will provide an audit of the conference’s existing measures for ensuring uninfluenced data, and provide 24/7 monitoring of league data to ensure the data’s quality.
MAC Commissioner Jon A. Steinbrecher said he’s pleased that, after significant discussions with conference members, the MAC agreed to the Genius Sports deal.
“This partnership will permit us to exert greater control of our statistics, provide increased oversight over events through the utilization of integrity services and provide support and financial benefits for the Conference and its membership,” Steinbrecher said in a statement.
“We have the responsibility to manage our assets and leverage those assets for the benefit of the student-athletes and our member institutions. The partnership with Genius Sports will assist us in those efforts.”