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MLS and IMG Arena agree deal to boost digital and betting capabilities

US soccer league wants to enhance its offering for fans, media partners and bookmakers.

7 July 2022 Steve McCaskill
MLS and IMG Arena agree deal to boost digital and betting capabilities

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  • Deal reportedly worth more than US$270 million
  • MLS wants to take advantage of betting demand and 2026 Fifa World Cup
  • IMG Arena will use events centre to create premium offering

Major League Soccer (MLS) has appointed IMG Arena, the sports agency’s betting and data division, as its official data distribution partner as part of a ‘multi-year’ agreement.

Financial terms of the deal were not made public, but Sportico reports that the agreement is worth more than US$270 million.

It is a significant expansion of the two parties pre-existing relationship, designed to boost the North American league’s digital fan engagement capabilities ahead of the 2026 Fifa World Cup and to offer a more attractive betting proposition to sportsbooks as the market explodes in the US.

As part of the deal, IMG arena will provide MLS’s betting and media partners with official data feeds, content offerings, fan analytics and marketing tools.

IMG Arena’s ‘event centre’ platform will allow partners to combine live data feeds with live streaming, historical statistics and other visualisation to offer digital product that will drive engagement among viewers, as well as bettors.

Beyond gaming, IMG Arena will offer new data metrics, insights and graphics for MLS to use on its digital platforms, while clubs will also be able to incorporate that content into their digital channels.

“The extensive collaboration between MLS and IMG Arena will utilise the latest in digital marketing technology to drive fan growth for MLS and MLS Next Pro ahead of World Cup 2026 in North America,” said Chris Schlosser, MLS senior vice president of emerging ventures.

“IMG Arena is a proven global leader in an ever-evolving sports betting landscape. We look forward to working with them to deliver the highest quality data for fans to power their MLS sports betting experiences.”

“We are incredibly proud and excited to have secured this agreement with MLS for an all-encompassing partnership that allows both parties to plan and work on a long-term strategy that will take us to the 2026 World Cup and beyond,” added Freddie Longe, president of IMG Arena.

“It is a partnership truly fit for the data age of sport and shows off the full capabilities of the IMG Arena product and service offering. Together, we will empower the future MLS universe.”

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