Genius Sports Brings High-Tech and Data to NBA’s African League

If Billy Beane of Moneyball was a brand, he’d be Genius Sports.

The U.K.-based firm, which works with media companies, sports books, and the “entire sports ecosystem” to unlock the power of real-time data, made its public debut earlier this year.

And yesterday, Genius made another splash by announcing a partnership with the National Basketball Association’s new league in Africa, the Basketball Africa League (BAL).

Months of Analysis… In Seconds

After a year-long pandemic delay, the 12-team BAL tipped off this weekend. As part of the league’s partnership with Genius, games will soon come equipped with some nifty bonus features:

  • Genius will use a live data collection tool courtside at all BAL games to capture advanced play-by-play statistics. Every shot, foul, and turnover will be scooped up, helping to uncover developing storylines and highlight top performers.
  • Genius will deploy high-definition cameras to feed an artificial intelligence platform that sifts through player tendencies and measures complex probabilities – analysis that would take mere humans months to complete.

In English, Please: As described by The Wall Street Journal, imagine you are a team defending a LeBron James pick-and-roll — you may want to analyze whether having James’ defender follow him over the top of a pick is a more effective defense than shifting another defender over to cover him. While guarding LeBron is still an enigma to most players and coaches, Genius aims to solve at least some mysteries of the game.

Why It Matters: Already a partner to Penn National, DraftKings, and FanDuel, Genius helps media companies and sportsbooks go “next-level” with the most up-to-date real-time data. Not particularly helpful if you are a fan trying to make a buck on the gambling apps, however.

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