Following an earlier announcement that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire US-based Bet.Works, Bally’s Corporation has agreed a long-term strategic partnership today with Sinclair Broadcast Group.
The alliance combines Bally’s vertically integrated, proprietary sports betting technology and expansive market access footprint with Sinclair’s premier portfolio of local broadcast stations and live regional sports networks (RSNs). These include STIRR, its popular Tennis Channel, and digital and over-the-air television network Stadium.
The two firms will partner to create sports gamification content on a national scale, positioning Bally’s as the premier omni-channel gaming company with physical casinos and online sports betting and igaming solutions united under a single brand.
The deal marks a major milestone for Sinclair’s businesses, including its RSNs, broadcast stations, Tennis Channel, Stadium and STIRR, setting the stage for further gamification of live sports that will provide audiences a first-of-its-kind interactive viewing experience.
Bally’s will integrate content into the 190 television stations that Sinclair owns, operates or provides services to across 88 markets and its sports networks. This will allow both parties to jointly market, design and integrate products on a state-by-state basis, and deliver one-of-a-kind online gaming experiences to local audiences. The 21 FOX RSN brands will be rebranded using the Bally name.
The Sinclair partnership, along with Bally’s acquisition of Bet.Works’ igaming platform, growing market access and land-based footprint to cover 10 states and more to follow, positions Bally’s to capture a significant share of the estimated future $50bn US sports betting and igaming market opportunity.
The transaction will provide Bally’s extensive access to Sinclair’s network of local, live sports content as the unified network brand and integrated partner across 21 RSNs, accounting for more than half of the US MLB, NBA and NHL teams
Over the 10-year term, Sinclair’s RSN portfolio will receive annual naming rights fees and committed percentage of Bally’s Interactive’s marketing spend
The deal also provides for full strategic and economic alignment, with Sinclair receiving warrants and options, subject to regulatory approval and other conditions, to own a minority stake in Bally’s
In turn, Sinclair will receive penny warrants to acquire 14.9% of Bally’s common shares as well as warrants to purchase up to a total of an additional 10% of Bally’s common shares contingent on the achievement of various performance metrics. Sinclair will also receive options to purchase 5% of Bally’s common shares in four tranches with purchase prices starting at $30/share and escalating to $45/share, exercisable after four years.
Soo Kim, Chairman of Bally’s Corporation’s Board of Directors, explained: “This arrangement represents an opportunity to revolutionize the US sports betting, gaming and media industries. Sinclair, with its broad holdings of stations, channels and RSNs, provides immediate, national brand recognition that will support the development of Bally’s player database for both our traditional casinos as well as our future online offerings, and ultimately deliver significant shareholder value.
“We look forward to integrating our first-in-class, omni-channel sports betting and iGaming offerings with Sinclair’s expansive broadcast network to create a more engaging and tailored experience for sports fans, positioning Bally’s to become one of the top US sports betting and igaming operators.”
Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair, commented: “Since acquiring Tennis Channel a few years ago and the RSNs last year, we have been working on developing an innovative experience that changes the way people think about and view live sports across all our platforms.
“Bally’s, with its strong brand name, premier sportsbook technology platform and expansive market access, is the perfect partner to help us change the paradigm of sports viewing across all our assets. By integrating gamification elements that allow audiences a more personalized and interactive game experience, consumers of live sports in the future can look forward to a more dynamic and engaging sports viewing experience.
“With the US sports betting and igaming market expected to ultimately reach $50bn at maturity, this partnership perfectly positions our sports portfolio to fully capitalize on changing audience behavior.”