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IMG Arena Pockets Deal with World Snooker Tour, Possibly in Anticipation of US Sports Shutdown

IMG Arena is extending its live streaming and sports betting data portfolio by striking a long-term deal with the World Snooker Tour (WST).

The World Snooker Tour and IMG Arena are broadening their sports betting arrangement for data and live streaming services. (Image: Getty)

IMG Arena links the world of sports with the sports betting industry through live streaming and real-time data services. The company is focused on obtaining official data from professional sports leagues and federations and then distributing that information to licensed sportsbooks around the world.

IMG Arena is a subsidiary of global sports and entertainment talent management agency IMG. IMG Arena and the WST are widening their partnership for live streaming rights and data to cover a greater number of matches and tournaments.

This is a perfect match between two businesses with a shared vision for the future for our sport and enthusiasm for creating new opportunities,” said WST Chairman Barry Hearn.

Snooker is similar to billiards, but the table is larger and pockets are smaller, and the game uses 21 balls. The WST is played throughout the UK, Europe, and Asia.

Preparing for Sports Shutdown?

COVID-19 cases are increasing once again in the United States. The forecast from health and science experts regarding a fall surge is coming true. Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, states across the nation are reimplementing restrictions in an effort to slow the coronavirus spread.

NFL and college football games continue to be in jeopardy on a week-by-week basis, and with the MLB, NBA, and NHL over, as well as golf’s majors, companies invested in the sports betting industry might be growing concerned that another sports stoppage could occur in the US.

During the suspension of sports in the spring and early summer, oddsmakers turned to offbeat sports such as table tennis, darts, and Russian soccer. IMG Arena and NASCAR teamed up for a virtual simulated racing product.

Could snooker be IMG’s bridge for another sports shutdown? Sports bettors need their fix, and table tennis, darts, and Russian soccer fared surprisingly well earlier this year.

Snooker continues to develop as an outstanding property, and we have long-term ambitions for further international expansion,” Hearn added. IMG Arena Executive VP and Managing Director Freddie Longe is also bullish on snooker.

“With its global footprint and loyal fanbase, snooker is an essential part of the sports and sports betting eco-systems. We are delighted to increase the volume and quality of the content we offer to our sportsbook customers, which this deal makes possible,” Longe stated.

IMG Arena Expanding

IMG Arena’s main competitor is Sportradar, which has partnerships with more than 65 leagues and federations around the world. Sportradar has contracts with the “Big Four” in the US — NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL.

IMG Arena’s portfolio is also massive. However, its only “Big Four” partnership to date is with the NHL. In addition to the NHL and WST, IMG Arena holds sports betting streaming rights with La Liga, Emirates FA Cup, Scottish Premiership, the PGA Tour, Major League Soccer, the US Open tennis tournament, French Open, and Wimbledon.

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