Official statistics rights

NCAA sees first sports betting data deal with Genius Sports for Mid-American Conference

MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher.
Reading time 2:02 min

In a first-of-its-kind deal in the NCAA, the Mid-American Conference announced Wednesday it has signed a statistical data partnership and sponsoring agreement with Genius Sports. 

This five-year agreement gives Genius the rights to manage and market the stats for all sports in the conference. The London-based company will also become, via a sublicense agreement, the sales agent for exclusive MAC sponsorship inventory. Conference officials believe this could “start the statistical data ownership era for collegiate athletics”, according to a news release. 

Genius’ NCAA LiveStats, the NCAA’s official tool for data collection and distribution, will be rolled out for all MAC competitions. Genius will include video tech from Second Spectrum, and build free-to-play games to help the MAC and its partners find other ways to engage with fans. The deal also involves Genius’ integrity monitoring services.

However, Genius’ sports betting technology services are not included in this agreement. The company sells data from partners like the NFL and English Premier League to sportsbooks all around the world, but the NCAA has so far resisted monetizing its data that way. It also has not signed commercial deals with sportsbooks for events like March Madness. 

Genius is already a long-term partner with the NCAA, in a deal that currently prohibits the sale of data to sportsbooks. The MAC is the first individual conference to sign with Genius.

In an official statement, MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said: “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. We have the responsibility to manage our assets and leverage those assets for the benefit of the student-athletes and our member institutions. The partnership with Genius Sports will assist us in those efforts”.

On the sponsorship side, MAC partner JMI Sports will sublicense the conference’s sponsorship rights to Genius Sports, which will be responsible for selling those rights—and sharing proceeds with the league. That includes access to the MAC football championship game and the league’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. It covers in-stadium signage, digital media advertising and other marketing avenues.

Founded in 1946, the 12-member MAC includes Toledo, Northern Illinois, Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan. The conference sponsors championships in 24 sports, and has carved out a unique piece of the college football schedule by playing mid-week games in November, nicknamed MACtion.

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