SBC News IMG Arena files against Stats Perform for alleged data rights breaches

IMG Arena files against Stats Perform for alleged data rights breaches

IMG Arena has filed against Stats Perform over alleged breaches of exclusive data collection rights during Austrian, Czech, German, Greek, and Swiss soccer matches. 

In the claim, IMG Arena alleges: “At various times, Stats Perform has for the purposes of its businesses been operating a multijurisdictional, unauthorised ring of data collectors (or unofficial ‘scouts’), which it sends to matches at stadia falling within the scope of the Exclusive Football Licence, to collect real-time statistical data. Such data is shared with Stats Perform by the scouts engaged by them in real-time.”

IMG Arena won the exclusive contract for the “Collection and Supply of Fast Data for Betting Purposes” for 19 European football leagues and 44 competitions including top and lower tiers of domestic leagues, domestic cups, super cups and women’s football competitions in February 2022. 

In the Austrian league, a breach was said to have taken place on 11 November 2022, when an unauthorised scout attended a 2 Liga Match between Lafnitz and Sturm Graz II. The Czech breach happened on 12 March 2023, with an unauthorised scout present at a First League match between FK Teplice and FC Zbrojovka Brno. 

The German League breaches involved men’s tier 3 (3 Bundesliga) and women’s tier 1 (Frauen-Bundesliga). On 17 February 2023 and 11 March 2023, unauthorised scouts attended three Bundesliga matches between SV Wehen Wiesbaden and Erzgebirge Aue; and Viktoria Koln and SV Meppen, respectively. On 12 March 2023, an unauthorised scout attended a Frauen-Bundesliga match between Leverkusen and Wolfsburg.

In the Greek League, an unauthorised scout was said to have attended the men’s top tier (Super League) match between PAS Lamia 1964 and OFI Crete on 13 February 2023. The Swiss League breach occurred during the men’s second tier (Challenge League) tie on 10 February 2023, between Neuchatel Xamax and FC Lausanne-Sport with an unauthorised scout present.

IMG Arena maintains that the scouts did not have any right, nor the necessary authorisations or permissions, to collect fast betting data in the manner in which they did so, or at all, or to distribute the aforesaid data to third parties via the Stats Perform Mobile Application. 

In its filing, IMG Arena noted: “Stats Perform’s wrongful conduct, as set out above, has caused IMG substantial loss and damage. It is not possible to provide full particulars of such loss and damage where the extent of the infringements on IMG Data’s exclusive rights is presently unknown. 

“The best estimate of the sums involved which IMG Data can presently give is at least US$1,600,000.00. Full particulars of IMG’s loss and damage will be given following disclosure and exchange of evidence, including, if necessary, expert evidence.”

IMG Arena President Freddie Longe told SBC News: “Last year there was an RFP process run for the aggregation of 19 European soccer leagues. Stats Perform participated amongst others in that process and were ultimately unsuccessful and IMG Arena was granted the exclusive official data rights to that contract via a transparent and fair process. 

“Given that this is a part of the ecosystem that remains pretty antiquated or is still finding its way, things like Ts and Cs prohibiting unauthorised data collection was a material consideration. Each of the relevant leagues have put in place language in their Ts and Cs for tickets prohibiting unauthorised data collection.

“Unfortunately, and despite this, we now have a library of evidence demonstrating that Stats Perform have been sending in unauthorised scouts to collect European Leagues’ official data. This includes mature markets like Germany, Austria, Greece, Switzerland and Czech Republic amongst others. This is undermining the value of the rights holders’ data and IP in the marketplace.

“We believe that rights holders should be taking a more active role in protecting the value of these rights above and beyond what’s being done today and refuse to work with companies continuing to engage in these unscrupulous practices. And we would wholeheartedly welcome entities like the Sports Rights Owners Coalition to play a more active role in this area of media rights.”

Stats Perform has been contacted for comment.

 

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