The Mid-American Conference announced a deal to license its statistical data rights to industry leader Genius Sports. The arrangement is the first for a collegiate athletic conference with a partner to analyze and disseminate their sports data.
In a joint press release, the MAC indicates that Genius Sports will be its “official sports data, fan engagement and integrity partner.”
The five-year deal between the MAC and Genius Sports enables the company to sell the conference’s data to sports betting operators. Such deals would undoubtedly increase the value of the partnership for MAC members, including Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan.
“This partnership will permit us to exert greater control of our statistics, provide increased oversight over events through the utilization of integrity services, and provide support and financial benefits for the Conference and its membership,” MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher said in a prepared release.
Based in London, Genius Sports is accessing the data rights through a sub-licensing deal with JMI Sports, which negotiates for the MAC. Genius Sports provides data rights management and analysis for the NFL, English Premier League, NCAA, NASCAR, and the PGA. According to its website Genius has sold data to 400 different sports organizations on six continents.
MAC Gaining Exposure Through Football Success
The MAC beats the Big 10, SEC, and others to a deal between an NCAA conference and a sports data company. It brings about speculation that’s only a matter of time before the MAC or another entity has its sports data sold to sportsbooks for the purpose of sports betting.
The MAC is one of 10 members of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), and boasts a total enrollment of nearly 300,000 students in the 12 member schools. In recent years, several MAC schools have gained national attention for their ascendant football programs. Last season a record eight MAC teams competed in bowl games.
The MAC consists of 12 schools with full membership, three of which are located in Michigan: Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan. Six MAC schools are located in Ohio, with one school each in Illinois, Indiana, and New York.
Michigan launched online sports betting in January 2021, and the move has increased the popularity of collegiate athletics, especially football.