IMG Arena, the betting arm of the international sports and entertainment giant, has today (July 7) been announced as the long-term official data distribution of North America’s Major League Soccer (MLS) top-tier competition.

The deal, which IMG said has been struck after an extensive tender process, will, “utilize the latest technology to create a new standard for soccer data and drive the next generation of fan engagement in MLS.”

The firm will be responsible for delivering official data, content solutions, fan analytics, and marketing tools to MLS’ media and sports book partners.

Three new MLS live data feeds are being created through the partnership, and are being brought in to “enhance the fan experience via a series of … digital, media and betting products.”

The two organizations are also set to launch a new range of digital products aimed at helping the league, its teams and their partners to use data and graphics in a way that will help grow MLS’ digital presence and exposure.

This will be spread across, the MLS mobile app, and through the digital platforms of the 28 MLS clubs.

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The IMG Arena Event Centers, meanwhile, will combine MLS’ live data feeds and live streaming, as well as “presenting live and historical event statistics, data visualizations and ultra-responsive markets via 2D and 3D interfaces.”

The deal is being struck in advance of the US joint-hosting (alongside Canada and Mexico), the prestigious FIFA World Cup men’s soccer tournament in 2026.

Founded in 2011, IMG Arena claims to deliver live streaming and data feeds for more than 45,000 sports events annually. Its clients include men’s tennis’ ATP, mixed martial arts’ UFC, golf’s DP World Tour and PGA Tour, North American soccer’s MLS, and the English Football Association.

Freddie Longe, president of IMG Arena, said: “We are incredibly proud and excited to have secured this agreement with MLS for an all-encompassing partnership that allows both parties to plan and work on a long-term strategy that will take us to the 2026 World Cup and beyond.

“It is a partnership truly fit for the data age of sport and shows off the full capabilities of the IMG Arena product and service offering.”

The senior vice president of emerging ventures at MLS, Chris Schlosser, added: “IMG Arena is a proven global leader in an ever-evolving sports betting landscape. We look forward to working with  them to deliver the highest quality data for fans to power their MLS sports betting experiences.”

In mid-June, MLS agreed to a 10-year global media rights deal worth around $2.5 billion with tech giant Apple that will see all live MLS matches shown around the world on the Apple TV streaming service until 2032.

The platform will additionally air games from the Leagues Cup, the annual competition contested by clubs in MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX, and select matches from the MLS NEXT Pro affiliate league and MLS NEXT youth league.

Also in June, IMG Arena announced a multi-year streaming and data rights tie-up with the commercial arm of the German Football Association (DFB).

The partnership covers streaming and “fast-path data” rights from all matches in the German men’s club soccer’s knockout DFB Pokal cup competition. It starts at the beginning of the 2022-23 season in late July and will entail “distribution of the content to IMG Arena’s global network of sportsbook operators.”