Carsten Koerl: Legacy systems hinder betting’s global opportunity

Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl has warned industry leadership to prepare for seismic changes across all components of betting’s value-chain, transforming how incumbents engage with global sports audiences.

Day-2 of the SBC Barcelona Summit provided a dissect of the pioneer’s technology perspectives, fresh from guiding Sportradar through its $8 billion public listing on the US NASDAQ 

Having achieved the feat of becoming the world’s most valuable Sports tech group – Koerl simply branded the IPO as an ‘exciting development’.

“For me the important thing of the IPO process was understanding how the digital industry sees our marketplace and its opportunities,” Koerl remarked.

Reflecting on his 25-year career “reorganising the value of sports data”, Koerl noted that for the first-time sports betting had become an integral focal point of business across Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

However, moving from the sidelines to the spotlight, betting operators and technology stakeholders must now prove the market’s multi-billion credentials against ‘megatrend’ expectations.

“We are seeing new marketplaces open-up. Take America, a billion-dollar market in 2019 that is expected to grow to a market size addressing  $20-30 billion, that will outmatch Europe,” he said.

“Asia is the sleeping giant that I believe will soon be liberalised, making the +1 billion markets of India and China coming into play. This really is sports betting’s global moment to transform and innovate.”

Reflecting on Sportradar’s work under COVID-19 supporting +150 professional sports leagues and +350 media companies, Koerl outlined a second observation in which “sports is now demanded to digitise its live events, in order to create unique IPs, content and data points” 

Yet in servicing a new sports era, Koerl believes that operators are stunted by conservative platforms that “remain 10 years behind the financial industry”.

“There is a huge area of disruption in trading,” he stated. “I have had a lot of controversial debates with bookmakers, and for me the breakthrough will be offering players individual prices and individual risk management.” 

 “We are not talking about a new VIP or player cluster segment. I believe that our Managed Trading Services can bring this to market through detailed statistics and data modelling.”

As Sportradar awaits its new challenges, Koerl stated that he had been magnetised by working with NBA legend Michael Jordan as a company director. “He is a great guy, a legend and I admire most his determination to win,” he said.

Koerl noted that Sportradar requires Jordan’s grit and winning determination as the company is positioned at the forefront of how global sports, wagering and integrity will be reshaped.

“The companies that are witnessing stagnation in a time of exponential growth will simply fall behind exponentially. That is not an opinion but fact.”

 “The sports world has been turned upside down by a digital marketplace in which all elements are exponential, be it data, CPU, storage or investment.”

“You have to win, since growing linearly is no longer enough.”

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