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The battle for sports data: IMG Arena takes Stats Perform to court

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Friday, 11 August 2023 By Leo Davidson

It pays to know things.  In any market, there is a premium on accurate information being provided at speed. In the financial and equity markets, this value is reflected in detailed regulations about the handling, reporting and use of information. However, in the context of sporting data – particularly as deployed for the purposes of gambling – it has proven far easier to recognise the commercial value of such information than to protect it.

That is largely because the value of the information does not derive from its secrecy, nor from its inaccessibility (at least for more than a very short period of time). In most cases, the information in question is being spectated by many thousands of people; in some cases, broadcast live to potentially millions.  That poses an obvious problem for any commercial operator who pays for the privilege of “exclusive” rights to data about such events.

The ready availability of the information, and the vast rewards on offer to those who can provide it, frequently prove tempting to competitors. That appears to be the background to a claim issued recently in the High Court by IMG Arena against Stats Perform, complaining of unauthorised scouts collecting data to which IMG Arena has exclusive rights.

A decision in the IMG Arena-Stats Perform case will be notable given the uncertainty in the law around sports and betting data especially as recent cases on these subjects have been settled out of court before a decision was handed down (such as the Genius – Sportradar issue).

This article discusses the potential impact of a decision in the IMG Arena-Stats Perform case by contrasting it to a prior landmark decision of The Racing Partnership Ltd & Ors v Sports Information Services Ltd[1] (“TRP v SIS”).

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Leo Davidson

Leo Davidson

Leo is a barrister at 11KBW Chambers. He accepts instructions in all areas of Chambers practice, with a particular focus on financial regulation, employment law, information law, regulatory law and public law.

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