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Genius Sports buys Second Spectrum in US$200m deal

London-based sports data and technology company Genius Sports has announced its second acquisition in the space of a week after agreeing to purchase data tracking and visualization specialist Second Spectrum.

The deal, expected to close later in the second quarter of 2021, is worth some US$200 million, which will be paid in cash and Genius stock.

Founded in 2013, Second Spectrum is backed by the likes of Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, the Chernin Group, CAA Ventures, and Elysian Park Ventures. The company’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology allows its clients to automatically index action on the court, pitch, or field in a matter of seconds, delivering teams, leagues, media, and data partners with real-time data insights.

Second Spectrum, which has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Lausanne, Manchester, and Shanghai, currently serves as the official tracking provider of English soccer’s Premier League, the National Basketball Association (NBA), and Major League Soccer (MLS), using its capabilities to capture the ball and player location-based data.

In addition, the company has worked with broadcasters such as ESPN, BT Sport, and Sinclair’s Bally Sports to provide augmented reality viewing features during their coverage of soccer and basketball.

Genius said the combination of the two companies will create a complete end-to-end offering’ for the sports, betting, and media ecosystem by allowing it to capture richer, faster, and more accurate tracking data, as well as deliver a fan experience that utilizes augmented video, real-time data insights, and predictive analytics.

“This acquisition supports our long-term strategic vision of utilizing AI tracking, enhanced data insights, and transformative technology to revolutionize the sports data landscape for the fans, our customers, and sports and media partners,” said Genius Sports chief executive Mark Locke.

“Adding additional fan engagement technology to our already diverse and cutting-edge portfolio of products and services will create compelling, unique content, that will transform user experiences and create additional revenue streams for our customers.”

The deal is the second acquisition announced by Genius since it started trading as a public company in April. Earlier this week it agreed to buy FanHub, a provider of free-to-play games and fan engagement solutions. In December, the company also acquired US scoreboard data company Sportzcast.

The acquisition of Second Spectrum also continues a busy period for Genius, which last month became the exclusive official data partner of the National Football League (NFL) in a deal worth a reported US$120 million a year.

Genius, which went public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) dMY Technology Group II, says it has US$145 million in cash and no financial debt on its balance sheet.

Law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP advised Genius on the Second Spectrum acquisition and its NFL data rights deal, while Oakvale Capital LLP acted as an exclusive financial advisor.

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