NBA takes equity stake in nVenue to further microbetting exposure

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The NBA has purchased an equity stake in microbetting and analytics tech platform nVenue as it seeks to further engage with its fans in new ways. 

Following a collaboration last year which saw nVenue take part in the NBA’s Launchpad program for six months to develop a new NBA bet curation engine, the league has decided to commit to the firm by taking equity. 

Founded by CEO Kelly Pracht, nVenue provides sports betting operators with its microbetting engine built on AI modeling which can offer players the ability to place bets on multiple actions in a single game. 

As part of the deal, the NBA’s Head of Gaming and New Business Ventures Scott-Kaufman-Ross has joined the nVenue board as an observer on behalf of the NBA. 

“Micro-betting presents an opportunity to drive incremental fan engagement within the live game,” said Kaufman-Ross. “As a fast-paced sport with constant action, the NBA requires a unique approach to providing opportunities that are both contextual and personalized to how our fans are consuming the game. 

“We are excited to roll up our sleeves with a company like nVenue, with its innovative tech and a great team, to explore this opportunity.”

The Texas-based firm took part in the NBA Launchpad program this year, in which the two companies collaborated to develop the NBA betting engine allowing for better engagement with fans throughout the season. 

nVenue then presented at the NBA Launchpad Demo Day in Las Vegas during the summer league, where it displayed the results of the six-month program. 

Speaking with SBC Americas earlier this year, Kaufman-Ross noted the importance of the Launchpad scheme and hinted that future work with nVenue was on the cards. 

“The demo day is the opportunity for them to present how the pilot has gone, what we’ve been working on together, and what ultimately, the findings were. It will be a presentation on the pilot that we did and the types of markets we’ve been working on and what we found in our testing.

“It’s really sort of the culmination of the pilot. But then, of course, the goal is to hopefully have an ongoing relationship with nVenue where we continue to test new things, and then eventually bring that offering to market.” 

To mark the occasion, nVenue has unveiled a new series of NBA products available on its platform. 

These new products include “Race: Team to next 15 points”, which team has the most points in a four minute period throughout a game, “Race: Player to next seven points” and “Free Throw: Result”. 

This is part of an ongoing update of nVenue’s microbetting offering that it states will continue throughout the 2023/24 season. 

“Currently available markets and betting offerings leave a gap in in-play options that are well-suited for the NBA’s pace of game,” nVenue CEO Kelly Pracht added. “We are honored that the league selected nVenue to collaborate, design, and deliver a new approach to micro-betting for the NBA fan.”