Major League Soccer revealed this past week that IMG ARENA will serve as the league’s official data distribution partner.
The multi-year agreement, which came after the league solicited proposals, calls for IMG ARENA to provide official data to betting operators and media outlets affiliated with the league. It also calls for the creation of three new live-data feeds that, according to an MLS announcement, will improve “the fan experience via a series of brand new digital, media, and betting products.”
In a statement announcing the deal, MLS Senior Vice President of Emerging Ventures Chris Schlosser said IMG ARENA is a “proven global leader” in the sports betting industry and that the partnership will help the league grow its fan base leading up to the 2026 World Cup that will be held in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
We look forward to working with them to deliver the highest quality data for fans to power their MLS sports betting experiences,” Schlosser said.
According to the release, IMG ARENA will develop an “event center” similar to what it has done for professional golf organizations and MMA. MLS fans and bettors will experience a convergence of data feeds and live-streamed matches, providing them with match and historical statistics and “ultra-responsive markets” through two- and three-dimensional interfaces.
The agreement will also lead to more digital products being employed to help MLS, the league’s franchises, and its partners connect with fans on the league’s website, its mobile app, and each team’s online media outlets.
FanDuel Sportsbook Now Open in DC
The IMG ARENA deal wasn’t the only sports betting news made the league made over the last week.
On Friday, MLS team DC United and FanDuel celebrated the opening of the brick-and-mortar sportsbook at Audi Field, the team’s stadium. The 2,700-square-foot facility features three betting windows, 47 televisions, and 18 self-serve kiosks. It also allows bettors to stay in the sportsbook and watch DC United play.
DC United is the first MLS side to open a retail sportsbook at its stadium. When officials in the District of Columbia legalized sports betting, they gave the local lottery rights to offer wagering across the nation’s capital, but they also allowed the city’s professional sports teams to partner with sportsbooks to offer on-site wagering and online wagering within a two-block radius of its stadium or arena.
Previously, William Hill (now Caesars Sportsbook) opened a brick-and-mortar venue at Capital One Arena and BetMGM set up a sportsbook at Nationals Park.
LAFC MLS Cup Favorites
With DC United playing its 17th game of the season Friday, each team has now crossed the halfway mark in the 2022 season.
Los Angeles FC leads the Western Conference with an MLS-best 39 points in 19 games, while the New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union are tied with 33 points in the Eastern Conference. However, the Union has a game in hand over the Red Bulls, who have played 20 games. Despite Philadelphia also owning a better goal-differential, the Red Bulls are currently considered the conference leader because they have more wins (nine to eight) than Philly.
Meanwhile, defending champion New York City FC lurks in third with 32 points in just 18 matches. NYCFC also has nine wins and the same goal differential, plus-16, as Philadelphia.
At BetMGM, LAFC is the favorite to win the MLS playoffs with odds at +275. Philadelphia is second at +550. Austin FC, which is second in the west with 37 points, has odds of +700 to hoist the MLS Cup at the season’s end.
Despite currently looking up to their crosstown rivals in the standings, NYCFC does have better odds than the Red Bulls, +750 to +1100.
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