Genius Sports has opened a new front in its legal battle against rival data provider Sportradar.
Genius filed suit against Sportradar on Friday with the British High Court. The suit seeks damages and an injunction to stop Sportradar sending data scouts to English and Scottish Football League games.
Background on the dispute
Back in May 2019, Genius acquired the official rights to supply UK football data to the sports betting industry. As part of that deal, it pledged to start ejecting data scouts from rival firms like Sportradar out of stadiums.
Sportradar is currently suing Genius for that policy, saying it is anti-competitive. That case will be heard by a UK competition tribunal.
However, Genius has now filed a countersuit on two grounds:
- Breach of confidence
- Conspiracy to injure by unlawful means
What is Genius Sports arguing?
In its suit, Genius argued that football match data is IP-protected because the data arises on private property. And the clubs and leagues have control over that property via their ticketing conditions.
Since Sportradar scouts have to buy tickets to the games, they are breaching their ticketing conditions when sending out commercial data, Genius said.
As for the second charge, Genius argued Sportradar is conspiring with its scouts. The injury to Genius comes from the costs of policing the grounds and lost revenues due to Sportradar providing an unofficial data product.
The suit also named a group of Sportradar data scouts, bringing them into the legal proceedings.
“We are disappointed, but unsurprised, that we have to take this legal action,” said Genius Sports general counsel Tom Russell. “Sportradar has a long history of using clandestine tactics to enter venues and collect data without consent. Given Sportradar’s cynical promotion of itself as a partner to the global sports community, we are continuously astounded at its willingness to exploit sporting events while undermining the vital funding of sport.”
Sportradar asks for a stay
The two cases ultimately could be combined and heard by one judge. However, Sportradar said in a statement it would like its initial case to be heard first.
“These claims, issued almost 12 months after Sportradar commenced its claim in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, will not deflect from Sportradar’s vigorous pursuit of its competition law challenge,” the company said in a Sportico article.
Interestingly enough, the longtime data rivals could soon square off in the US equity markets.
Genius is currently going public via the DMY II SPAC. Sportradar might go down a similar route later this year.
Both companies provide live betting data to US sportsbooks.