FIBA, the world governing body of basketball, has expanded its long-term partnership with Genius Sports Limited (“Genius Sports”) (NYSE:GENI) to deliver its revolutionary computer vision technology and AI-powered capabilities to Leagues and National Federations around the world from 2025 to 2035.

This new technology will transform the entire data and video ecosystem of international basketball, providing a unified, connected solution to automate and synchronise the collection of live game statistics and video production with advanced player tracking.

Genius Sports’ optical system has been trained to read and understand live game plays and predict outcomes in real-time, turning raw live data and video into valuable, actionable game insights.

For the first time ever, Leagues and National Federations will have access to an AI-powered automated player tracking system. This advanced technology will also provide users access to a suite of cutting-edge coaching tools and analytics, automated officiating, and broadcast augmentation tools.

Since 2004, Genius Sports and FIBA have provided over 200 Leagues and National Federations worldwide with both FIBA LiveStats and FIBA Organizer, helping to collect official play-by-play statistics and drive digital transformation at all levels.

To date, FIBA LiveStats has captured full box score data from over a million basketball games as both products continue their availability to the FIBA Family.

Also, under the terms of the new agreement, Genius Sports has been selected as FIBA’s Official Data & Video Capture and Production Partner as well as the governing body’s Official Innovation & Technology Services Partner from 2025 for a 10-year term.

“For almost 20 years, FIBA and Genius Sports have joined forces in developing the most innovative tools for Leagues and National Federations across all levels of basketball,” said FIBA secretary general Andreas Zagklis.

“Through this automated solution, our objective is to assist National Federations and Leagues to increase their reach and revenue and at the same time, reduce costs. We’re delighted to expand our partnership with Genius Sports to achieve this goal and equip the FIBA Family with first access to this cutting-edge technology in basketball.”

“We’re thrilled to expand our landmark partnership with FIBA, equipping Leagues and National Federations with state-of-the-art technology to transform how their fans, coaches, officials, broadcasters and sponsors interact with live data and video,” said Mark Locke, CEO at Genius Sports.

“Powered by our unique AI-driven system, Leagues and National Federations at all levels of basketball will be able to automate data and video collection and utilise the highest quality player and team tracking data.”

Betr has secured an exclusive partnership with the Cavinder Twins, a pair of high-flying and high-profile social media and US college sports stars.

The 22-year-old sisters shot to fame as basketball players for the Miami Hurricanes but have decided to call time on their tenure at Miami to pursue other fame and business ventures.

The twins have amassed more than 4.5 million followers on TikTok and present the Twin Talk podcast on iHeartRadio.

That podcast will now head exclusively to Betr’s media division as part of a deal which also sees the Cavinder twins join up as equity partners, content creators and creative directors.

Everyone keeps asking what’s next?

The Cavinder Twins just got betr ⚡️@CavinderHaley @CavinderHanna

— betr (@betr) April 19, 2023

A Betr statement said the twins would become “foundational on-camera talent” for the company while helping to create female-centric sports and betting content.

Betr was co-founded and launched as a US online sports betting disruptor in August 2022 by Simplebet founder Joey Levy and social media personality Jake Paul.

Betr Media, which acts as a marketing subdivision for the sportsbook, has already generated more than 900 million impressions and 50 million engagements across its social channels.

In March, Levy told iGaming NEXT that Betr wanted to “incubate” the next dozen Jake Pauls. The Cavinder Twins joining ranks is arguably the first evidence of that strategy.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Cavinder Twins, who have already accomplished so much and are just scratching the surface of their potential,” said Levy in a press release.

Cavinder Twins agent Jeff Hoffman on the partnership with Betr: “It’s like adding jet fuel to an already burning fire.”

Levy said the company plans to leverage the rapidly growing Jake Paul and Betr Media audiences to make emerging talent even more famous, while also providing content development, production and media sales support.

“Betr Media’s objective is to attract, enhance, and amplify the next wave of generational content creators, and this partnership is a testament to that approach,” he added.

In April, the twins announced they would forgo their final year of college sports eligibility to explore other options, including a potential career in WWE.

Their agent Jeff Hoffman said Betr provided the perfect opportunity to grow the Cavinder Twins brand. “It’s like adding jet fuel to an already burning fire,” he added.

“With Betr’s media savvy, the explosion of female sports and Betr’s disruptive behaviour in gambling, it became a question of how far can we go and where do we sign?”

New data from sports betting supplier Kambi as presented by iGaming NEXT has laid bare the growing prevalence of Bet Builder products among US bettors.

Relating to March and April’s NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, commonly known as March Madness, the data shows the proportion of turnover generated by sports betting operators through Bet Builder products, often referred to as same-game parlays in US betting.

The number of Bet Builders increased by 43% year-on-year during the tournament, while 55% of those Bet Builders were multi-builder bets, which are bets across multiple matches.

After the introduction of an expanded Bet Builder offering for pre-match markets, Kambi said that 72% of all tournament turnover came from pre-match bets, with 28% of turnover coming from in-play betting. Over the whole of Q1 2023, that split is closer to 53% / 47% in favour of pre-match bets. 

That figure may put the US behind other, more mature markets in terms of the proportion of bets being placed in-play.

For example, Australian operator PointsBet said 59% of all betting handle in Q1 of its financial year came from in-play betting.

For Kambi, of the total pre-match bets placed on March Madness, the vast majority of turnover came from just a handful of betting markets.

Spread bets accounted for 46% of all pre-match turnover, with moneyline and total points bets making up 27% and 10% of the remainder, respectively.

Bets on match winners generated just 3% of pre-match betting turnover.

In-play bets followed a similar pattern, with moneyline, spread and total points bets making up the majority of turnover.

As for Bet Builders, the most common bets of that kind were made up from the same markets as the most popular standalone bets.

Spread plus total points, for example, was the most popular kind of Bet Builder placed, followed by moneyline plus total points and moneyline plus points scored by a specific player.

The most bet-on matches occurred towards the end of the tournament, perhaps unsurprisingly, with the final showdown between the Connecticut Huskies and the San Diego State Aztecs accounting for the most turnover in a single match for both Bet Builder and standard bets.

Elsewhere, Kambi has also provided a breakdown of the turnover generated by different sporting events over the past year.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is the clear standout winner in terms of turnover, although occurs just once every four years, with the NBA and NFL playoffs following up in second and third positions.

March Madness 2023, which occurs annually, was the fourth biggest event by turnover, followed by the same tournament in 2022, while the MLB playoffs, Champions League knockout stages, French Open and Wimbledon also proved to be significant events in the calendar.

Kambi’s data augments a more than 40-strong partner network across six continents.

Sports betting customers in Ohio received $320m in free bets during the first month following the market’s launch in January.

That’s according to the latest Sports Betting Market Monitor published by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming (EKG).

Ohio goes loco on promos 

EKG pointed out that the $320m handed out in free bets during Ohio’s opening month of online sports betting far exceeded the levels observed in other states on a per-adult basis.

According to the latest figures published by the United States Census Bureau, the figure works out to around $35 for every one of the 9.2 million over-18s in the state (although sports bettors must be over 21).

That puts operators’ per-adult free bet spend in the state’s first month well ahead of in Maryland and Kansas, where the figures are below $20 per adult, and vastly ahead of Virginia, Michigan, Colorado and Pennsylvania where per-adult promotional spend was under $5.

Aggressive bonusing remains the customer acquisition channel de rigueur in the US, EKG pointed out, while acknowledging that operators varied significantly in the percentage of GGR they were willing to spend on it.

Still, “almost every operator with more than 1% market share was above 100% GGR for bonusing spend,” the report pointed out.

Caesars spent 90% of its GGR on bonuses in the market’s first month, while bet365 doubled down by spending 190%. Longtime rivals DraftKings and FanDuel spent 157% and 163%, respectively.

And as their competitors in the market such as Caesars and BetMGM continue to tighten their belts, the market-leading former DFS brands are only getting “ever more aggressive in each market they enter,” EKG added.

The strategy appears to be working. According to some “crude metrics” employed by EKG, FanDuel likely acquired somewhere in the region of 772,000 new players in Ohio’s first month – around 8% of the state’s adult population.

DraftKings spent roughly half as much as the Flutter-owned brand on its bonuses, but whichever way you slice the numbers, most scenarios point to the operator onboarding well in excess of 100,000 customers.

Bonus spend is expected to fall rapidly as the market’s early days are left behind, as has been witnessed in several other markets across the US.

March Madness

Looking to the month ahead, EKG also provided some expectations for the NCAA basketball March Madness tournament, which starts today (14 March).

The report puts estimates for betting handle on the tournament across the US at $2.59bn, with Nevada (14%), New York (13%) and Ohio (11%) making up the three biggest states by handle.

Despite its relatively small population compared to other states, Nevada’s plethora of retail betting options makes the state “the nation’s premier destination for major sports betting events,” hence the expectation for it to lead the way in terms of betting handle during the competition.

The 26 other states with active sports betting markets are expected to account for the remaining 60% or so of March Madness betting handle.

Recent figures released by the American Gaming Association (AGA) showed that roughly one in four Americans are expected to place some kind of bet on the tournament this year.

Profitability push

In the report, EKG questioned whether broad pushes towards profitability in the market (a major theme across many firms’ Q4 earnings reports) will in fact simply play into the hands of market leader FanDuel.

The Flutter Entertainment-owned firm is of course set to be EBITDA positive for the whole of 2023, having reported its first profitable periods last year.

It stated in its Q4 report, however, that this had not been an intentional decision as such, but rather simply the effect of having so many active customers.

The firm remains aggressive in its customer acquisition strategy, as outlined in the Ohio bonusing breakdown above, and has achieved market share above 50% in that market and in Maryland.

One question that remains is whether FanDuel will be able to hold onto those customers once the market launch excitement fades, but data from other US markets to-date suggests that it will.

Looking internationally to comparable markets which are more mature, however, 50% market share is “unrealistic long term,” according to EKG.

Either way, with FanDuel refusing to back down on its acquisition strategy, a tightening of belts across the industry may well serve to help it dominate the market further.

Market overview by operator

Regular readers of the Sports Betting Market Monitor will find no surprises here.

FanDuel continues to dominate around half of the US market with 48.6% of GGR share, while DraftKings and BetMGM do a good job of mopping up most of the remainder, with 26.9% and 11.4% respectively.

Again, Caesars (and William Hill) bring up the rear in fourth, with 5.5% of market share, while BetRivers, Penn Entertainment’s Barstool Sportsbook and PointsBet also managed to take a heroic more than 1% of market share.

The 50 or so other operators in the market were once again left fighting over the crumbs.

EKG’s 79-page monthly report provides a digest of news and data points, including forecasts, for the emerging market for regulated sports betting in the United States. Please contact managing director Chris Krafcik for more information.