MAC, Genius Sports Announce Five-Year Data Partnership Deal

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Genius Sports and the Mid-American Conference (MAC) are joining forces in a “first-of-its-kind” five-year partnership related to official sports data, the two sides announced Wednesday morning

An exclusive supplier of official NCAA data, Genius Sports will manage and distribute official MAC statistics. Sports betting companies can pay for the MAC’s data to receive official stats in real time, opening up a new revenue stream for the conference. 

“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,” MAC Commissioner Jon A. Steinbrecher said in a statement. “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.”

MAC schools from states with legal betting

Six of the MAC’s 12 teams – Akron, Bowling Green, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), Ohio, and Toledo – are from Ohio, a state that recently legalized sports betting, which will launch in the state before 2023. Other schools in the conference hail from four states — Indiana, Illinois,  Michigan, and New York — that have launched mobile sports wagering. 

The MAC sponsors championships in 24 sports, and the league has gained a fan following for its quality mid-major basketball and entertaining football games, many of which air on weeknights on ESPN’s family of networks. Part of the allure of watching the weeknight MAC contests is betting on the action, something Barstool Sports personalities and others lean into during college football season. 

According to the press release, Genius Sports will provide the MAC with access to its “optical data tracking and video augmentation solutions” for the league’s men’s basketball championship. The company will also provide free games, live data integrations, and widgets to “enable new levels of gamification into the MAC fan experience.”

Genius Sports also plans to provide the MAC with a “robust integrity program,” aiming to maintain fairness of its events. The company will audit the MAC’s current integrity procedures, as well as implement 24/7 monitoring and educational sessions with MAC players and athletic departments. 

“Recognizing our unique capabilities across data collection, tracking, personalized marketing, and more, the MAC has embraced our vision of providing college sports fans with immersive and highly engaging experiences,” Genius Sports CEO Mark Locke said in a statement. “Furthermore, the MAC also selected Genius Sports, as one of the most established sports integrity providers in the market, to help ensure its competitions, teams, and players are protected against the potential threats of betting-related corruption.”

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Bennett Conlin is a sports betting reporter. He began his sportswriting career crafting recaps of family wiffle ball games. He’s covered more meaningful games since those early days, most recently writing about the University of Virginia’s athletic programs for The Daily Progress. Bennett can be reached at bconlin@bettercollective.com.

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