Fans won’t have to wait until September for professional football. The United States Football League will kick off its season in April, and sports betting could be a part of the action. The league, which is returning under new leadership after decades of being dormant, named Sportradar as its Official Sports Data and Integrity Partner this week — an important step to obtaining sports betting approval.
Sportradar is one of the industry leaders in sports technology and data relating to the online sports betting industry. The deal between the USFL and Sportradar was announced as a multi-year data and integrity partnership.
Key Takeaways From USFL, Sportradar Partnership
- Sportradar will develop data collection and delivery systems for the USFL for the purpose of providing data to betting operator partners with broadcast deals with the league.
- The company will conduct bet monitoring and reporting for the USFL using the proprietary Universal Fraud Detection System system.
- Sportradar will perform an audit of the USFL’s integrity policies, and provide integrity-related educational services to players, coaches, and staff in the professional football league.
“The fast, accurate, and reliable data that Sportradar provides to the marketplace will be crucial to the USFL engaging its audience as the league establishes itself on the American sports landscape,” Chief Commercial Officer of Sportradar Ed Blonk said.
The arrangement with Sportradar will assist the USFL in acquiring the necessary approvals for betting on its league.
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If and when sportsbooks are approved to offer odds on the USFL, the league will provide a spring option to sports bettors. Some familiar names will be on the field too.
The USFL will feature a 10-game season starting April 16, with eight teams competing. Five of those teams represent states that have active legal sports betting: the Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Stars, Pittsburgh Maulers, and New Orleans Breakers. The remaining three teams are the Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, and Tampa Bay Bandits.
However, for the 2022 USFL season, all games will be played in Birmingham, Alabama at Protective Stadium or Legion Field. Playoff games this season will be held in Canton, Ohio. The league is planning to host games in the states that the teams represent in the future.
Former NFL head coach Jeff Fisher, who led the Tennessee Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV, will coach the Michigan Panthers, a name that harks back to the original USFL when the franchise won the first league title. Former University of North Carolina coach Larry Fedora will roam the sidelines for the Breakers. The league will draft players later this month.
Former NFL fullback Daryl Johnston is Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the USFL. League games will be broadcast on NBC Sports and FOX Sports.
From 1983 to 1985, the USFL competed in the spring and summer as a challenger to the NFL. Many owners in that original league hoped to merge the leagues or obtain expansion franchises, but that hope never materialized. Beyond the name, there is no connection between this “rebooted” USFL and the one from the 1980s.
Sportradar previously provided similar services for the National Football League, until competitor Genius Sports Group secured a multi-year deal with that league last year.