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NBA and Sportradar team up on AI virtual games for betting apps

  • Sportradar and NBA have $1 billion data deal
  • Virtual basketball offer combines smart algorithms and 3D visualizations

Sports betting data and services specialist Sportradar will offer 3,000 virtual National Basketball Association (NBA) games per day to its betting partners, allowing them to offer markets at times when few or no events are in directly take place.

Each virtual NBA game is powered by real NBA data, acquired through Sportradar’s existing billion-dollar betting data and streaming agreement with the league, with simulated results by combining artificial intelligence tools ( AI) and machine learning (ML).

The game engine’s algorithms were trained on millions of data points from 480,000 previous simulations to generate realistic results.

Games are visually simulated using motion capture technology, with player movements captured using cameras and sensors from half a million data points. These images are then combined with the data-driven simulation to create the virtual game.

Sportradar says virtual NBA games will be available through its eWallet remote gaming server or through the Betradar unified odds feed, allowing for easy integration into existing customer feeds. Bettors can watch up to eight matches at a time, each offering 12 betting markets.

“Virtual sports betting is growing in popularity with over 200 million betting tickets accepted across Sportradar’s virtual betting product portfolio so far this year,” said Frank Wenzig, Managing Director of Games at Sportradar.

“Through the introduction of Virtual NBA, featuring NBA team names and logos, Sportradar provides operators with dynamic new basketball content to drive engagement with the sport and provide fans with access to markets NBA betting, even off-season.”

SportsPro says…

The legalization of sports betting in some US states has sparked a frenzy of activity among leagues, bookmakers and solution providers, all eager to tap into this massive new revenue stream. However, by its very nature, sports betting is limited by the frequency of actual sporting events.

While bookmakers in the UK and other markets are able to offer live casino games that can take place at any time of the day, their US counterparts have to deal with hours of inactivity and out of season.

This constant need for live sports may explain many of the deals that betting service companies such as Sportradar and Genius Sports have made with rights holders around the world. However, there is no limit to the number of virtual events that can be offered, as long as they promise the same level of integrity as an actual contest.

Virtual events also maximize the value of expensive data rights partnerships, which is why Sportradar already offers virtual in-play betting for cricket, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the German soccer Bundesliga.