David Stern Talks Sports Betting, NBA Tech and His ShotTracker Investment


Former NBA commissioner David Stern and ShotTracker co-founder Davyeon Ross joined Bram Weinstein on the SportTechie podcast to chat about ShotTracker’s growing integration into basketball, and how sports betting will impact the viewing experience for NBA fans. Stern is an investor in ShotTracker, whose sensor-based technology and data analytics will be available to team personnel on the bench at the NCAA’s Hall of Fame Classic on Nov. 19 and 20.

“Coaches are gonna get shot charts for both teams in real-time,” Ross said. “They’ll get optimal lineups and advanced analytics that give them information about how they’re performing in transition versus half-court, whether its [comparing] ball reverses versus paint touches, or ‘What’s my points-per-possession and field goal percentage if I have less than three passes?’”

David Stern: Why sports betting providers are interested in real-time data analytics companies

“With respect to the advent of sports betting, if the potential bettor has faster information than the enterprise that’s taking the bet, that really tilts the odds dramatically to the bettor. So this is an important reason why many of the companies that are engaged in transmitting gambling information are interested in what ShotTracker can do.”

Davyeon Ross: How ShotTracker selects which data metrics to provide

“We’ve worked with a lot of exceptional coaches from numerous coaches from some of the top-25 universities at the Division-I level. We asked them ‘What are the five things that are important to you?’ These coaches know what they want so we started constructing our algorithms to be able to provide the information to them.”

David Stern: Why his opinion on sports betting has since changed since leaving the role of NBA commissioner

“I testified in favor of PASPA [the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act] in 1991 as commissioner. It was a serious item of faith that sports leagues should not support betting on their games. I was consistent on that for a lot of different reasons but daily fantasy turned me around on that. I thought we had to keep sports fans—our home team fans—happy if the home team won and the last thing we wanted was have [anyone] upset if the home team won but didn’t cover [the spread]. That’s a quaint, old perception of mine that had to undergo some changes because of daily fantasy.”

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