STARNBERG, November 13, 2020 (Guest Post)
The partnership between online gambling operator, 888 Holdings and global sports betting software provider, Sportradar, is a huge positive for the game of tennis.
As part of the recently confirmed deal, 888sport, 888’s online sports betting vertical, will use a data and risk management solution provided by Sportradar to boost the integrity and overall offering of its tennis coverage.
While the deal is a clear win in helping 888 take huge strides with its expansion plans, particularly in the US where 888sport is legal in New Jersey, the news is also good for tennis.
Like it or not, tennis is a sport that cannot free itself from match-fixing scandals. And at a time when the Tennis Tour no longer presents a reliable source of income, especially for lower-ranked players, the problem is inevitable and one unlikely to leave the game anytime soon.
However, could the 888 and Sportradar tie-up help tennis rid itself of incessant corruption?
Sportradar provides integrity solutions for sports governing bodies around the world, among them, the four major professional leagues in America (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB), as well as FIFA and UEFA.
Essentially, the company helps fight corruption in sport by identifying irregular betting patterns and notifying partnered organizations, as it did FIFA when a referee attempted to fix a World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal in 2016.
Yet, while other international sports begin to make progress in the fight against match-fixing, Tennis continues to be dragged through the mud. Just last month, the 2020 French Open was tarnished with allegations of potential match-fixing, with the investigation currently still ongoing.
Clearly, the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) has its work cut out trying to keep up with the number of instances rocking the sport.
Perhaps more worrying, however, is the fact, the problem has worked its way to the very top of the game and raised doubts about the integrity of one of the most prestigious events in tennis.
Although corruption within any sport is hard to eradicate altogether, an end must have a start.
It remains to be seen how much of an impact, if any, this partnership has upon restoring the reputation of tennis, especially in the short term. But, over time, it could be viewed as the first step on the ladder towards tennis reclaiming its integrity.