Data and betting services company Genius Sports has announced a data agreement with the new Basketball Africa League (BAL) to become its official provider of real-time statistics.
Under the deal, Genius will provide the BAL with its FIBA LiveStats data collection tool to capture play-by-play data for the competition. It is understood that the deal does not include the sale or distribution of betting data.
A spokesperson for the company said the deal would allow BAL to capture fast, accurate statistics that would power its fan-facing platforms, including its website, scoreboards and broadcast coverage.
The BAL is a joint initiative by Fiba and the National Basketball Association to establish a continental professional basketball competition in Africa.
The real-time data deal builds on Genius Sports’ existing agreement with FIBA.
The two parties have worked together for the past 15 years with the data firm providing services such as FIBA Organizer, a digital competition management tool, and FIBA LiveStats, its courtside play-by-play data collection system.
The global federation’s more than 200-member leagues and federations are not obliged to use Genius Sports’ solutions but FIBA encourages them to do so.
The National Basketball Association, co-organiser of the BAL, was also involved in discussions to finalise the data agreement. Genius Sports also has a pre-existing relationship with the US league, sharing the non-exclusive rights to distribute official NBA and WNBA betting data to licensed sports betting operators and platform providers in the US.
Genius Sports chief executive Mark Locke said: “The BAL will showcase and develop the most exciting basketball talent from across Africa and we’re very proud that our statistics technology will be at the heart of this new competition.
“For more than 15 years, we have worked closely with FIBA to drive the development of world basketball and we’re thrilled to be working alongside the BAL to extend the sport’s reach and profile.”
The BAL pits 12 of the best teams from domestic competitions across Africa against one another in a total of 26 games and marks the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside North America.
Champions from the national leagues in Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia earned their participation in the inaugural BAL season. The remaining six teams, which come from Algeria, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique and Rwanda, secured their participation through BAL qualifying tournaments conducted by Fiba Regional Office Africa across the continent in late 2019.
The competition tipped off yesterday (Sunday) at the Kigali Arena in Kigali, Rwanda with the Rwanda Patriots Basketball Club beating Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers 83-60.