Bally’s and KO Entertainment combat sports deal aims to transform fan engagement

Image source: Eugene Powers /

Sports betting and igaming firm Bally’s Corporation has announced a strategic partnership with Oscar de la Hoya’s KO Entertainment, a subsidiary of elite boxing promotion company Golden Boy Promotions Inc

The relationship, said Bally’s, aims to “incorporate unparalleled innovation, objectivity and gamification into combat sports, thereby transforming fan engagement”. 

The initiative was officially unveiled this week when the two parties broadcast a pilot of Oscar de la Hoya’s KO Entertainment Presents Bally’s Fight Night – a reimagining of how the sports of boxing and MMA are presented, and the first development in the 2.0 gamification of combat sports.

The event featured five professional MMA and four professional boxing contests displayed in a video game type presentation. Utilizing sensors and a custom built data tracking dashboard, a variety of objective data points such as punch force, and punch combinations thrown and landed, were captured in real time. 

Through the use of sports science, data was conveyed in an on-screen power bar, similar to those displayed in video games, summarizing a fighter’s total absorbed damage. By collecting, analyzing and integrating this data into future broadcasts, Bally’s and KO Entertainment claim they can create a more rewarding and safer experience for fighters, while also increasing transparency. 

To further enhance the gamification of combat sports and the viewing experience, Bally’s intends to integrate Monkey Knife Fight, its daily fantasy sports platform, into live broadcasts.

Soo Kim, Chairman of Bally’s Corporation’s Board of Directors, said: “This partnership represents an extraordinary opportunity to bring together experts in gaming, media and combat sports to breathe new life into boxing and mixed martial arts. 

“By integrating our innovative technology and interactive gaming platforms into combat sports, we will create new and transformative ways for audiences to engage with our live broadcasts.”

Oscar de la Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, commented: “We have the utmost respect for the storied history and tradition of boxing and mixed martial arts. By partnering with Bally’s, and working to develop this innovative product, we believe that we can deliver real-time, data-based insights into the punch-by-punch action, creating a level of transparency and objectivity that has never existed before. 

“We will also provide an experience that is more easily understandable for the average viewer, and at the same time more rewarding and safer for fighters.”