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May 7, 2021

Genius buying data-tracking specialists Second Spectrum for $200m

Genius Sports, the international sports data technology company which began trading on the New York Stock Exchange late last month, has reached an agreement to buy Second Spectrum, a data-tracking technology provider.

By Euan Cunningham

Genius Sports, the international sports data technology company which began trading on the New York Stock Exchange late last month, has reached an agreement to buy Second Spectrum, a data-tracking technology provider.

The deal is worth $200 million overall, and the acquisition is expected to conclude by the end of the second financial quarter.

The tie-up will entail Genius offering Second Spectrum’s data services and analytics tools as a package to its partners around the world.

It combines “Genius’ streaming capabilities with Second Spectrum’s interactive broadcast solutions, which integrate advanced data with augmented video content," according to the buying company.

Genius has said this combined offering will create richer and more valuable sports data for its customers, as well as accelerating its convergence of sports, betting and media, and will also drive fan engagement.

Second Spectrum’s sporting client base, which Genius will have access to, includes North America's National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer, and English soccer’s top-tier Premier League, as the official tracking provider of these leagues.

The technology firm also has partnerships in place to provide data to broadcasters including the US-based ESPN and the UK's BT Sport, offering “augmented reality features for select soccer and basketball games".

In terms of agreements with sports franchises, Second Spectrum has a deal in place with the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.

Mark Locke, Genius Sports’ chief executive, said: “This acquisition supports our long-term strategic vision of utilising AI tracking, enhanced data insights and transformative technology to revolutionise the sports data landscape for the fans, our customers and sports and media partners.”

Rajiv Maheswaran, Second Spectrum’s chief executive, added: “Second Spectrum’s mission to be at the forefront of innovation in the sports ecosystem in combination with the scale and drive of Genius Sports will rapidly accelerate how content is created and experienced and bring significant value.”

The LionTree Advisors firm acted as financial consultant to Second Spectrum during the acquisition process, while Oakvale Capital performed the same role for Genius.

Last week, Genius agreed a deal to buy FanHub, a provider of free-to-play online games. 

Genius, which listed on the NYSE on 20 April following a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), is acquiring the entire FanHub games portfolio, which includes a range of fantasy sports games. 

Genius plans to integrate these games with its own data technologies and licensed video content highlights, and that deal is also expected to close in the second quarter of 2021. 

Founded in 2000, Genius has experience working with more than 500 sports organisations and leagues, including soccer’s Fifa and Premier League, basketball’s NBA, Euroleague and FIBA, MLB, Nascar and US golf's PGA Tour, and recently secured a lucrative deal with American football's NFL.

In April, it consolidated its different divisions – in betting, media and technology – into one all-encompassing brand, in preparation for the IPO, and also agreed a deal for 22.5 million of its shares (worth close to $450 million) to go to the investment wing of the NFL. 

The firm also recently named David Levy, the former president of Turner Broadcasting, as its new chairman.

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