In focus: Sportradar

By Gambling Insider
We speak with Werner Becher, Sportradar's CEO EMEA & LATAM.

What trends in technological advances do you think we will see this year in the industry?

The industry will continue to undergo tremendous digital transformation and I believe we’ll see greater use of technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning across sports betting.

These technologies are already with us, but I anticipate their use will skyrocket as people start to understand their true benefits. Sportradar already deploys AI and Machine Learning (ML) at the interface between data collection from leagues and how this is provided to operators and media companies.

Sportradar will also use this technology to drive forward the evolution of odds predictions this year. ML allows a deeper level of data and insights and from this, a more sophisticated odds model can be created with even more accurate probabilities for our Managed Trading Services (MTS) customers.

With more than 700 engineers and 30+ AI and ML experts, we’re able to create 20 billion data points ingested from inception, and generate 30 million odds per minute, all with near 100% total accuracy.

This technology is critical to shaping and powering our data and will shape the future of sports and empower our customers.

Where do you see the gambler’s customs and demands to satisfy in 2022?

I think there’s going to be even increased demand for soccer content amongst our clients and their customers this year. Unsurprisingly, from a sports betting perspective, soccer is the biggest revenue generator for operators, and, heading into a World Cup year, that’s likely to grow as hundreds of millions of dollars will be wagered on each match during the tournament.

Sportradar are well placed to address this demand with a market leading portfolio of soccer products and solutions. And, recently, we’ve significantly increased our offering by automating the trading of Live Odds on soccer matches, meaning we can trade hundreds of soccer matches at a time. 

It’s a game changer for Sportradar and from an operator perspective it’s simple – they can book more matches, scale their soccer offering, and provide greater choice to their customers. 

To address higher demand, clients will require more than data and odds, so we’ll see an increase in numbers of operators outsourcing part or the whole of their trading and liability management to us, using our MTS product which has a traded volume of more than $1bn per month already.

How do you think the pandemic will affect the industry in 2022?

The industry relies almost exclusively on live sport and thankfully we’ve seen it return to pre-pandemic levels.

However, the industry is likely to remain cautious and what we are seeing amongst our clients is a significant uptake of redundancy content to ensure diversification of their offerings and to protect themselves against any future Covid crisis moments.

This is something we’ve been really conscious of the past two years and have moved to provide content for our clients through the launch of Simulated Reality, our AI driven sports betting solution.

In addition, content such as darts and table tennis – sports that require low human interactions – can also be used to fill any gaps in the timetable and sport calendars.

What markets and / or countries do you see more attractive, with more possibilities to progress and growth opportunity?

Countries that open and regulate for sports betting are likely to deliver growth for the industry in 2022. Media reports suggest that Brazil and a couple of other South American countries, as well as India, may potentially have sports betting regulation up and running in the next couple of years. If this is the case, we anticipate an influx of operators moving into these territories and existing operators scaling up their operations to gain market share at a critical moment. We’re also aware that countries including Japan are keeping a keen eye on progress in the US market ever since betting was legalised there in 2018.

The US will remain key to industry growth with more States set to allow sports betting in the coming 12 months and a diverse range of products and services such as mobile betting and in-play betting being made available to customers. We’ve just witnessed New York state hit $150 million in sports betting handle on opening weekend, proving there is huge demand there for mobile betting.

We’re well placed across markets, particularly in the US, as we’re the only company with official data rights for the leading US sports leagues - NBA, MLB, NHL.

With these official data rights, Sportradar has access to the fastest, most reliable data across the most popular sports in this market, putting us at the centre of mobile and in-play betting opportunities - the largest growth sectors within US betting.

Do you think that the advertising restrictions to the gaming sector will be deepened globally?

In mature European markets, it seems inevitable that there will be increased restrictions on betting advertising. In recent years, both Italy and Spain have banned gambling advertising outright, while lobbyists in Germany are pushing for restrictions on betting sponsorships in football. The UK could go the same way following its review of existing gambling legislation which is currently underway.   

As a partner to hundreds of operators within the industry, it’s important that we’re responsive to regulatory changes and that we help our clients with alternative ways to engage with their customers.    

The betting industry is constantly evolving, with changes in regulation creating new challenges for operators to overcome. Rather than work against each other, the industry needs to come together to address the big issues and set high standards of compliance.  The introduction of harsh restrictions and bans only moves the problem elsewhere.

We have a very specific programmatic advertising product, “ad:s”, for the betting and gaming industry. This can help operators to not only reduce costs of their marketing investments, but also to increase effectiveness in more complex regulatory marketing environments.