Genius Sports, official partner of the National College Athletics Association (NCAA), will provide data from the top-tier women’s basketball division to ESPN.
The agreement with the sports broadcaster will see the London-based, NYSE-listed sports provide AI-powered tracking data and live video augmentations for the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.
This will be conducted by the firm’s subsidiary Second Spectrum – acquired last year for £200 million, a merger which Genius has cited as a key revenue driver – which aims to deliver “interactivity and insight” to ESPN’s collegiate athletics audience.
Fixtures covered include the Women’s FInal Four and National Championship games, taking place at Minneapolis’ Target Centre on 3 April, with Second Spectrum’s enhancements serving as an alternative viewing option alongside ESPN’s traditional telecasts.
Genius has been the NCAA’s exclusive data supplier since 2018, having developed NCAA LiveStats as an official statistics collection, management and distribution tool, which will be at courtside for every NCCAA DI Women’s Basketball Championship match.
Mark Locke, Genius CEO, said: “We are proud to work with ESPN, through the best-in-class work Second Spectrum does, to give the millions of fans young and old, an immersive experience for March Madness that will set a new course not just for the NCAA Championships, but for all of sport that is played by women the world over.
“It is a new high bar that we will push, and there is no better place to raise that bar than the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament with ESPN.”
Second Spectrum’s development of its live video augmentation includes data-driven visualisations, such as shot probabilities and distances to 3-point specifical effects, captured through optical tracking technology that identifies the precise coordinates of players and the ball 25 times a second.
The firm has been a partner of ESPN for the last six years, a collaboration secured by Genius following its aforementioned acquisition. As a result of the latest progress of the relationship, ESPN will also have access to Genius’ Insight tool, which gathers data on teams and players.
“Expanding our relationship with Second Spectrum to support the Women’s Tournament and their fans is another exciting first for us,” added Kevin Lopes, ESPN Vice President, Sports Business Development & Innovation.
“The augmented feeds for the NCAA Women’s Final Four and National Championship game will provide fans with an exciting viewing option that leans into innovative stats and visuals.”
Genius’ business relationship with the NCAA was also recently enhanced, with the sportstech firm securing a data, fan engagement and integrity partnership with the Mid-American Conference (MAC), a Division I conference sponsoring championships in 24 sports.