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Volume 25 No. 48
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SportsData Strikes NASCAR Deal, Becomes First To Shop Out Sanctioning Body's Stats

NASCAR this afternoon will reveal an agreement it has struck with SportsData that will allow the stat-tracking company to shop the sanctioning body’s race statistics out to third-party sites. NASCAR previously had kept the stats in house and only made them available to fans on its official website, meaning this will be the first time a content provider has gone to market with the sanctioning body’s data. SportsData Founder & President Rob Phythian this morning would not reveal the structure of the deal beyond calling it “very traditional.” Deals of this nature typically entail a content provider paying the sanctioning body for the rights to its statistics. This sort of information most prominently includes who is leading the race and by how much in real time. Phythian, whose company began meeting with NASCAR about a possible deal last fall, said of why he thinks the sanctioning body chose to begin allowing its statistics to appear on third-party outlets, “Their strategy had been very internally focused, really building out their digital properties. … (But) Twitter broke down a lot of barriers. With that form of communication, there’s been an acceptance of the way digital media was consumed content-wise, and it’s just not in a walled garden.”

ALREADY IN THE MARKET: SportsData, which currently has more than 300 licensed customers including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Turner Sports and the NCAA, has already begun the solicitation process with prospective companies and is “well down the road” in that respect, Phythian said. He named Yahoo and NBC Sports as two entities that already run NASCAR content and thus could be interested in the offering. He expects deals to be revealed “in the next week or two” given that the season opener is the Daytona 500 on Feb. 22. For SportsData, which was acquired in late ‘13 by Switzerland-based Sportradar and has 32 offices in 25 countries, the NASCAR pact is its first with a U.S. league. However, it does already have 65 deals with leagues and federations outside of the U.S. Phythian said the five-year-old SportsData, which looked for an acquisition because it “needed the worldwide international footprint and capital to grow and compete with STATS,” also is looking to strike partnerships with other leagues in the next year as part of a push to expand its footprint in the U.S.