Sportradar is teaming up the greatest basketball player of all time Michael Jordan and one of the most outspoken owners in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Mark Cuban.
A global leader in sports data, content, and statistics, Sportradar is trying to expand its operations in the United States market.
Headquartered in Switzerland, Sportradar has set up its American base in Minneapolis with its cloud-based services planting roots in San Francisco.
Announcing a new series of funding led by former AOL executives Steve Case and Ted Leonsis, Sportradar said, “Dallas Mavericks owner and investor Mark Cuban and Charlotte Hornets owner and businessman Michael Jordan are also participating in the funding round and joining the Sportradar US board.”
$45 Million Wager
It’s not the type of deal you’ll see Cuban strike on CNBC’s “Shark Tank.” While those televised negotiations often involve what amounts to chump change for the man estimated to be worth over $3 billion, this deal is of much more significance.
Along with Case and Leonsis, Cuban and Jordan are investing $45 million in the company.
Sportradar has already landed a big contract with the NFL to be the official real-time score and player statistic distributor. That deal followed a February agreement with NASCAR.
Sportradar says it currently covers 325,000 live events across 48 sports worldwide.
In the early days, the company paid college students to sit in their dorms and punctiliously enter statistics while watching games.
Today, more sophisticated tracking programs have been created by developers, though manual statistic entry still exists.
Speaking about welcoming Jordan and Cuban to its advisory board, Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl explained, “Their intimate knowledge of the US sports and media market will help us to develop cutting-edge real time data products that will change how sports are consumed in the future.”
Billion Air Jordan
It’s tough to find anyone who would argue that professional sports athletes are underpaid.
The average annual NBA salary is $4.58 million, $4.17 million for pro baseball players, and $2.11 million for gridiron athletes.
Of course, the stars make considerable more, but even the MVPs are very unlikely to ever amass over a billion dollars.
30 years ago, most probably wouldn’t have argued that the first billionaire athlete would come from the game of golf, but that’s precisely what Tiger Woods achieved in 2009 just before his infidelity tabloid scandal broke.
Michael Jordan became the second athlete to be valued at over $1 billion in 2014, his investment in the Charlotte Hornets NBA franchise paying big dividends.
Jordan was the first investor in the expansion team back in 2006, acquiring 80 percent for $175 million.
Today, the Hornets are valued at $725 million by Forbes, and Jordan increased his stake to 89.5 percent in 2015.
Combine that with Air Jordan’s annual income of some $90 million from royalties and sponsorships, and the basketball legend’s fortune continues to rise.
Cuban of course isn’t doing too bad, either. His Mavs are valued at $1.15 billion, not a bad return considering he paid $285 million for the team in 2000.
By all statistics, Jordan and Cuban’s investment in the sports statistics provider is actually still a small venture considering their massive riches.