How Sportradar is Using Data to Create Sports Fanatics: Prof. Dr. Laila Mintas

As the Deputy President of Sportradar US, Dr. Laila Mintas oversees the day-to-day success of the company’s US operations. In this insightful interview, Dr. Mintas – who is also a professor of Global Sports Law at Columbia University and Sports Journalist at Insideworldfootball – gives Direct Interface Founder, Kevin Jordan a bird’s eye view of how Sportradar uses sport data to develop innovative digital products to increase fan engagement across 40 sports and 400,000 live events.

Can you share a little about Sportradar and who its target audience is, your role therein and any relevant experience?

The role of Deputy President of Sportradar US means that I am running the US operations on a day to day basis in order to support Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl.

Sportradar is changing the way the world experiences sport with innovative digital products and sports data of the highest quality that covers more than 40 sports and 400,000 live events. Since its inception in 2001, the company has grown to over 1,900 employees spread across 30 locations around the world and is today partnered with professional leagues like the NFL, NBA, NHL, and NASCAR. Sportradar’s U.S. Advisory Board includes Ted Leonsis, Mark Cuban and Michael Jordan.

We have expertise in working with leading broadcasters, media, app developers, fantasy sport providers and brands to unlock the full value and impact of sports data to increase fan engagement and to tell unique stories with the best insight from tracking data from the NFL and NBA that is exclusive to Sportradar.

What are some of the capabilities that your customers can enjoy through your data?

Sportradar’s vision is based on the commitment to build long-term relationships with our clients and business partners by offering innovative solutions and data of the highest quality. We’ve partnered with over 65 leagues and federations worldwide to ensure our data leads the way when it comes to speed, accuracy, reliability, depth, and coverage. Our data and its quality is foundational not only for our clients, but also for Sportradar as we are developing innovative products to inform and engage our fans. From hosted solutions and ready-made widgets, to our newest products that utilize player tracking data from the NFL and NBA to increase a fan’s understanding of the game with unique and modern storytelling.

What are some of the gaps you’re seeing with data and sports?

Player tracking data is a relatively new way of gathering insight and can lead to a far greater understanding of what’s happening on the playing field or court. Finding ways to interpret this data in meaningful ways is key to evolving not only an understanding on player performance, but also to better engage and inform fans of what is happening in the game and what could potentially happen next. We feel that maximizing this player tracking data is still in its early stages and Sportradar is invested in being an innovator in this space by not only distributing player tracking data to our partners, but by also providing them unique visualization and storytelling products based off the player tracking data.

Can you elaborate on integrity monitoring and fraud detection, what are the implications for sports in North America?

The reality today is that sports betting takes place on American sports in every part of the world. The turnover generated legally in the US is only a minor fraction of the global turnover on American football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey.

So no matter what happens in the US market in the wake of the New Jersey decision or any other regulations brought in, integrity monitoring is and will be a key issue for professional and college sports in the US. Sportradar offers the single most credible fraud detection system in the world, relied on by sports federations as well as law enforcement agencies alike, to identify the suspicious betting behaviors that launch investigations, cases and prosecutions. We have already initiated or supported over 200 sporting sanctions and 24 criminal prosecutions in a range of sports and countries. Indeed, when focusing on the US, we already work with the NBA, NHL and MLS, as well as key organizations across 10 other sports.

If however the US market decides to embrace regulated sports betting, the licensing regime could prove invaluable in order to empower the regulator’s ability to drill down into turnovers, accounts and individual bets. Sportradar already works with regulators in progressive countries such as Italy to help mine for that kind of telltale information.

So integrity services are a nonnegotiable in order to safeguard US sports from manipulation, but a robust regulatory framework could undoubtedly bolster those defenses.

You’re one company that is truly a global juggernaut, that produces a range of products: from digital cards, data widgets to research solutions such as radar360. What is at the core for driving innovation?

There are many core principals to driving innovation and creating products that change the way the world experiences sport, but one foundational factor is the quality of the data. One can’t create trusted or innovative solutions without having the confidence that they are working with data that is reliable, fast, and cutting-edge. This principle, among others, is why we were so interested in working directly with the leagues and signing official partnerships with the likes of the NBA, NFL, NHL and NASCAR.