Bally’s Corporation announced Wednesday it has entered into a strategic partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group, a move that will see Sinclair rebrand the 21 regional sports networks it purchased from Fox last year using the Bally brand.
The partnership is the latest step in the continued evolution of the betting and sports industries, and opens the door to create a revenue stream that connects directly with sports fans through betting on games and participating in fantasy sports.
The deal will combine Bally’s integrated, proprietary sports betting technology with Sinclair’s portfolio of local broadcast stations and regional sports networks. Sinclair closed a deal to acquire the 21 Fox regional sports networks for $9.6 billion in August 2019, securing stations in markets across the United States that broadcast Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL, MLS, and major college sports to regional markets.
What’s in It for Bally’s
The deal provides Bally’s with tremendous exposure. Sinclair owns 190 television stations plus its sports streaming service called Stadium, as well as the Tennis Channel and STIRR, a direct-to-consumer streaming service providing local news, sports, movies and entertainment. The Bally brand will appear repeatedly in multiple markets, and plenty of sports fans will be paying attention. Many of the Sinclair regional sports networks serve as flagship stations for pro sports teams, including more than half of U.S.-based teams in MLB, the NBA and the NHL, according to Bally’s.
As an example of a Sinclair’s regional sports network footprint: Fox Sports South (which operates a secondary channel, Fox Sports Southeast) broadcasted 154 of the Atlanta Braves 162 regular-season games in 2019, all 82 Atlanta Hawks regular-season games in 2018-19, and 17 of Atlanta United’s 34 regular-season matches in 2019. The stations also carried pregame and postgame shows.
Bally’s and Sinclair plan to create what a press release calls, “unrivaled 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.”
Bally’s announced Thursday a $125 million acquisition of Bet.Works Corp., a sports-betting technology company. The two transactions in two days provide Bally’s with an opportunity to capture a significant share of rapidly-growing markets in sports betting and iGaming.
“This arrangement represents an opportunity to revolutionize the U.S. sports betting, gaming and media industries,” said Soo Kim, Chairman of Bally’s Corporation’s Board of Directors. “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.”
What’s in it for Sinclair
Sinclair will receive a naming-rights fee for the next 10 years. Additionally, Bally’s pledges to spend a percentage of its interactive advertising budget across Sinclair outlets. Sinclair also will get warrants to purchase 14.9 percent of Bally’s common stock, with performance incentives in place for purchase of up to an additional 10 percent and options to purchase another 5 percent of Bally’s common stock.
Chris Ripley, Sinclair’s President and CEO, said in a statement his organization has sought to develop an experience that changes the way fans consume sports.
“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,” Ripley said.