Sports’ data boom may soon be going to NCAA college sports
The GIST: Sports’ data boom may soon be going to college. The Pac-12 Conference is exploring the idea of selling its data rights to sportsbooks to open up a new revenue stream as more states greenlight wagers, commissioner George Kliavkoff said in an interview last week.
The details: At the center of Kliavkoff’s proposal is the prospect of publishing weekly injury reports, a plan he will discuss with coaches and athletic directors (ADs) this year. Going public with player availability would likely make a deal sweeter for sportsbooks — and more lucrative for the Pac-12.
- Publishing injury reports would be a gamechanger in college sports. Unlike in the pros, these reports aren’t mandatory, meaning closely-guarded player health secrets translate to serious concerns from sportsbooks about competitive legitimacy.
The obstacles: Coaches and ADs are the least of the Pac-12’s worries, though. Voters in the conference’s home state of California overwhelmingly rejected bills to legalize sports betting in November, and problem gambling is a dangerous side effect of the ease of sports betting in the U.S.
- There are also few safeguards in place, leaving players potentially susceptible to manipulation by sportsbooks-turned-sponsors or match-fixers.
Zooming out: With numerous college sports under its umbrella, the Pac-12’s wager on data may be a wise one, especially as its plans would utilize the growing American sports betting audience, which placed more than $73 billion in online bets last year.
- A pro tip for the Pac-12 and its sportsbook of choice: address the gender gap in sports data to maximize returns. Bettors are riding the women’s sports wave — last year’s March Madness championship broke BetMGM’s record for wagers placed on a women’s sports event. Bet on women, literally.