Paolo Personeni, Managing Director MTS at Sportradar, talks exclusively with SBC Americas about the company’s current position in the US sports betting sector and how the recent acquisition of Optima will help drive innovation going forward.
Can you give us an up-to-date summary as to where Sportradar is currently at in terms of its US market plans and are those plans running to schedule?
Our commitment to the US market is not new as we had started making our investment in this region long before sports betting was regulated. Our presence dates back to 2013 when we acquired SportsData, and it has since been expanded through the acquisition of MOCAP Analytics in 2017 and our official data partnerships with all the major US sports leagues. Since the repeal of PASPA, we have deepened these partnerships and continued our long-term investment in the US, forging more relationships with a range of stakeholders in the industry.
Ultimately, one of our major objectives globally is to help grow and safeguard the business of our clients. As part of this, since the very beginning, we have always asked the question, what do bookmakers need? This was one of the big reasons behind our decision to acquire Optima. We develop and enhance our operations and offerings on an ongoing basis so we can remain at the forefront of innovation and the industry for our clients. This is what we’re doing in the US so our plans are very much on track in that respect.
The Optima acquisition, in of itself, was big news for Sportradar but what are the implications for its US aspirations?
We pride ourselves on providing a 360 degree betting portfolio, complete with Betting Services, Gaming Solutions, Live Streaming, Betting Stimulation, Managed Trading Services (MTS) (our risk management and trading solution), and ad:s (marketing and sponsorship solution for operators). Now with a dedicated sports betting and iGaming platform, we offer every tool a bookmaker needs to both establish and manage a successful sportsbook. This means we have solutions for all sportsbooks, no matter what size, or what stage of the business life cycle they are at, in the most flexible and customizable way possible. This is something no other business can offer and sets us apart both globally and in the US.
For the US in particular, the platform gives us a greater degree of control if and when licensing opportunities arise in newly regulated states. Such end-to-end control allows us to innovate and better meet local requirements that we might not have been able to meet with existing partnerships.
Why is the Optima brand such a good fit with Sportradar?
Both Optima and Sportradar own and develop proprietary software and systems and are leaders in their respective areas within the sports betting and gaming sector. As an advanced, flexible, tailored and highly scalable platform that gives operators complete, real-time control of their operations, data and customers, and supports even the most ambitious volume expectations, Optima is a perfect fit for our own solutions, which prioritize quality, customization, robustness and scalability.
Following an extensive review of the market, we identified Optima as having the best technology, combined with a highly-skilled group of people to help us achieve our goals. There are a number of other synergies and it is the ideal fit in terms of a fully integrated one-stop-shop solution for sportsbooks around the world.
How do you plan to integrate the Optima platform into Sportradar’s US offer in terms of how you approach new customers and existing clients?
A detailed integration plan has been developed in partnership with the Optima team and we are all now focused on taking that forward over the coming year. We understand that bookmakers and platforms have a diverse range of requirements and we want to be able to offer a portfolio of products and services that can fully serve the needs of the global betting and gaming market. Further innovative services will also be based on the new combined platform. The platform extends our MTS, to become a complete betting, trading and platform business. The key to this is flexibility, and to maintain this, our betting services remain platform agnostic for both new and existing clients.
The agreement is integral to our future growth strategy and allows us to offer solutions across the entire betting and gaming value chain in both established and emerging markets, like the US, as they regulate. This will also be crucial when tendering for new licences in both existing and emerging regulated markets, and contracts across a wide section of the global betting and gaming industry.
To summarize, what is Sportradar’s USP as far as the US is concerned – what makes it the must-have product for stateside operators?
With the addition of the Optima platform, Sportradar is ultimately a one-stop-shop sports betting provider. This means we can offer a complete turnkey solution, including a fully dedicated sports betting and iGaming platform and underlying sports data, risk management and marketing services. We are also in an unparalleled position to drive innovation for the benefit of our customers. All this, combined with our unrivalled knowledge, expertise, cutting-edge technology and AI capabilities, developed across almost two decades now, makes us a powerhouse that US sportsbooks of all sizes will benefit from greatly.