When The Basketball Tournament launched in 2014, CEO and Founder Jon Mugar compiled some of the statistics for the winner-take-all tournament in Microsoft Excel on his laptop.
Now entering its sixth year, the TBT has signed a multi-year partnership with Genius Sports to not only capture and distribute more real-time stats around its games, but also pave the way for the integration of sports betting around the TBT in the near future.
When the TBT begins its 2019 tournament on July 19, the new partnership with Genius Sports will bring a richer and deeper set of statistics to fans across the board. Those stats will be integrated into the ESPN broadcast, including shot charts and plus/minus summaries. Advanced statistics and insights will also be available to fans across TBT’s website, social channels, in-arena scoreboards and other media partners, as well as through individual GameCenters for each game, which provide shot charts, full box scores and other pre- and post-game stat comparisons. Statistics collected by Genius Sports will also be provided to coaches to prepare for future match-ups.
“[Genius Sports’] state of the art technology will not only markedly improve the TBT experience for fans but it will also help us meet increasing demand for TBT worldwide by enabling us the ability to distribute stats all across the world instantly,” Mugar said.
While TBT hopes that this push into deeper stats helps to broaden fan engagement around the tournament this summer, this partnership also positions it to take advantage of the legalization of sports betting across the U.S..
As part of the deal, TBT will be able to commercialize its live data as Genius Sports will be able to distribute it to legalized betting partners and sportsbooks. Genius Sports will also provide bet monitoring and integrity services to TBT.
While it most likely that sports betting is integrated into TBT in the 2020 edition of its tournament, Jake Pavorsky, TBT manager of team relationships and PR, said there is a chance that it could appear for this year’s championship week, which is to be held in Chicago from August 1 to 6.
The TBT is a single-elimination basketball tournament where 64 teams of former college players and NBA players as well as overseas standouts compete for a winner-take-all $2 million dollar prize.
In a statement, Genius Sports Head of U.S. & Emerging Sports Travis Black said “with its fast-paced games, young and mobile audience, an enhanced live data and digital strategy presents TBT with a number of exciting opportunities.”
Genius Sports has partnerships around stat collection with more than 500 leagues and properties worldwide, including the NBA and NCAA.