The last time Ted Leonsis and Michael Jordan teamed up on a business was 15 years ago, and the end result was a bitter parting.
His Airness played basketball for the Wizards for two seasons and served as the team’s head of basketball operations before he was abruptly dismissed in 2003 by then-Wizards owner Abe Pollin as minority partner Leonsis looked on.
What a difference a dozen years makes.
Leonsis, who now owns the Wizards, the Capitals and Verizon Center, on Tuesday announced that his Revolution Growth partnership is joining fellow National Basketball Association team owners Jordan, of the Charlotte Hornets, and Mark Cuban, of the Dallas Mavericks, in an investment in the Swiss technology firm Sportradar.
Sportradar collects data from more than 325,000 live sporting events across the planet, ranging from darts to tennis and from soccer to snooker.
“We are the platform that collects and disseminates the greatest amount of live sports data in the world,” said Evan Morgan, a partner with Revolution who orchestrated the investment.
Sportradar digests that data, then sells it to big media companies such as Google and Fox Sports, to fantasy sports leagues, and to gaming and gambling businesses.
“A bookmaker uses our data to create all the odds across betting matches,” Morgan said. “That entire betting process is run through the Sportradar platform, called Betradar.”
The company has exclusive partnerships to collect and supply data to giant U.S. sports entities such as the National Football League, the National Hockey League and NASCAR racing.
“Ted and I spent two years looking at companies in the sports information and services arena,” Morgan said. “We think it’s the biggest and most impactful sports data and information company in the world.”
Google, Facebook, Twitter and Fox Sports are among Sportradar’s biggest clients. The company has locations around the world, including in New York, San Francisco and Minneapolis.
The terms of the investment were not disclosed, but the money will be used to expand the firm’s U.S. presence, create software applications and create more content for clients.
“There is an explosion between the use of data both by consumers and by sports leagues and the players themselves,” Morgan said. “The data is going to drive how the next generation interacts with games.”
Leonsis, Jordan, Cuban and Morgan will join Sportradar’s U.S. advisory board.
Revolution Growth is a Washington-based venture fund known for its tech-savvy founders, including Leonsis, Steve Case and Donn Davis, all former AOL executives.
Revolution’s investments include the online framer Framebridge, the T-shirt company CustomInk, the Sweetgreen salad chain, the LivingSocial daily deals site and the Homesnap real estate application.