Live data provider Sportradar congratulated the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for “building an integrity system second to none in the sport” after announcing the latest $8 m investment in tournament infrastructure from the organisation.
The ITF will invest the money in a number of integrity-related projects covering key areas such as the implementation of accreditation and access control systems for WTT games, video recording, added security to prevent informal data collection, the recruitment of on-site integrity protection personnel, and strengthened platforms for players and officials reporting integrity issues.
“Sportradar continues to support measures that enhance the integrity of tennis and we have played an active role in the process towards implementation of the IRP recommendations over the last 12 months,” said David Lampitt, Sportradar MD of Sports Partnerships. “The ITF should be applauded for its proactive approach in addressing the concerns raised and building an integrity program that is second to none in the sport.
“The statistics for 2019 show that there has been a significant decrease in integrity issues at ITF competitions. ITF events were already amongst the least likely to be corrupted in the sport and we therefore trust that the TIU Supervisory Board will now work with equal focus on delivering the recommendations to address the integrity concerns that exist across all levels.”
The investment plans were revealed alongside confirmation that the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) Supervisory Board eventually agreed to the central recommendation of the Independent Review Panel to cap the selling of live scoring data at the ITF’s World Tennis Tour (WTT) level of $15k, thus holding it in place at the level of $25k.
The ITF prioritises the development of more than $25k events to provide a consistent calendar and discourage unauthorised data collection at events that have been discontinued for the results.
The Supervisory Board and the ITF settled on a timetable to will the provision of live scoring data for $15k matches for WTT–something that has been going on since December 2018. Under this negotiated plan, the betting markets will have access to up to 3,500 fewer matches in 2019 compared to 2018.
In 2020 and 2021, further cuts will occur, culminating in the full discontinuation of live scoring data at WTT $15k events when all integrity security measures are in place.
Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, commented: “In-play betting makes up 80% of IBIA members’ tennis markets and over 95% at ITF level,” he said. “Retaining live data for $25k matches and setting out an expansion of that tour is an overwhelmingly beneficial move by tennis both from an integrity and commercial standpoint.
“Removing all ITF World Tennis Tour data from regulated operators would have led to the undesirable situation of consumers seeking that product through unregulated channels, with the corresponding loss of market oversight and the ability to detect and punish corruption.
“Protecting the sport and operators against match-fixing is an ongoing challenge. However, IBIA is encouraged by the impact of recent criminal investigations and the allocation of additional resources to the TIU. That has seen a significant downturn in suspicious betting alerts, particularly at ITF level. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders to continue to work together to maintain that positive trend.
“IBIA and its members remain committed to protecting the integrity of tennis at all levels and will continue to work closely with the sport to meet that challenge.”