All of the major leagues as well as NASCAR and the WNBA have looked to ways to engage in sports gambling, now it looks like lacrosse is setting the stage as well. Today the indoor National Lacrosse League (NLL) announced an integrity deal with Genius Sports.
The NLL, the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, today announced a multi-year partnership to ensure the integrity of the league’s games with Genius Sports, a global leader in sports data and technology. Genius Sports will conduct a global assessment of current betting activity on NLL games, and also project the likely growth given the emergence of a legal sports betting market in the U.S.
“As the sports gambling market in the United States continues to take shape, we as a league have a responsibility to make sure all aspects of our product is beyond reproach, and there is no one better to ensure we maintain the integrity of our game than Genius Sports,” Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said. “The growth of our league, especially amongst digital natives, along with the expansion of the sport of lacrosse in general, makes the area of data analytics, sports betting and fan engagement one of our key focuses going forward.”
“We welcome the National Lacrosse League to our growing list of global league partners,” said Steven Burton, Managing Director Genius Sports. “There is no doubt that lacrosse is growing very quickly and we think the future for the game, especially tied to the product that Nick and his team have built, is very bright, and we are looking forward to helping them in this next expansive phase of business growth.”
According to the deal, Genius Sports will conduct a global assessment of current betting activity on NLL games, and also project the likely growth given the emergence of a legal sports betting market in the U.S. Drawing on its global leadership in advising governing bodies on how to manage betting-related issues, Genius Sports will craft a recommended operational and internal communications framework for the NLL, drawing on best practices around the world. The NLL and Genius Sports will work together to establish an educational program for players, officials and other stakeholders to understand the betting environment and be alert to potential integrity problems, and Genius Sports will monitor the lacrosse betting markets and provide the league with alerts regarding any suspicious activity.
The partnership will officially begin in the coming month.
The NLL is North America’s largest and most premier professional lacrosse league, ranking third in average attendance for pro indoor sports, with 13 teams in key markets across North America. The NLL experienced substantial growth last season with nearly a million total ticket sales, a 28-percent increase from 2017-18, and 60 percent of ticket sales were from people who never played lacrosse. Digital viewership also rose significantly through Turner and B/R Live, showing substantial increases in total unit sales (up 151 percent from last year), average unique viewers (+27 percent) and average minute audiences (+14 percent). Sponsorship revenues are projected at a 29-percent increase from 2018 to 2019.