Bally’s Corporation today agreed a long-term strategic partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group following an earlier announcement that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire US-based Bet.Works.
With Sinclair’s leading portfolio of local broadcast stations and live regional sports networks (RSNs), the alliance combines Bally’s vertically integrated, proprietary sports betting technology and expansive market access footprint. STIRR, its popular Tennis Channel, and the Stadium digital and over-the-air television network include these.
The two companies will partner to create national-scale sports gamification content, positioning Bally’s as the leading omni-channel gaming company united under a single brand with physical casinos and online sports betting and igaming solutions.
For Sinclair’s companies, including its RSNs, broadcast stations, Tennis Channel, Stadium and STIRR, the deal marks a significant milestone, setting the stage for further gamification of live sports that would provide audiences with a first-of-its-kind interactive viewing experience.
Bally’s will integrate content into the 190 television stations owned, operated or serviced by Sinclair across 88 markets and its sports networks. This will enable both parties, on a state-by-state basis, to jointly market, design and integrate products and deliver unique online gaming experiences to local audiences. Using the Bally name, the 21 FOX RSN brands will be rebranded.
Together with Bally’s acquisition of the igaming platform from Bet.Works, increasing market access and land-based footprint to cover 10 states and more to follow, the Sinclair partnership positions Bally’s to capture a significant share of the estimated future $50 billion US sports betting and igaming market opportunity.
As the unified network brand and integrated partner across 21 RSNs, accounting for more than half of the US MLB, NBA and NHL teams, the transaction will provide Bally with extensive access to Sinclair’s local, live sports content network.
Sinclair’s RSN portfolio will typically receive naming rights fees and a committed percentage of the marketing spending of Bally’s Interactive over the 10-year term.
The agreement also will provide for full strategic and economic alignment, with Sinclair getting warrants and options to own a minority stake in Bally’s, subject to regulatory approval and other conditions.
Sinclair will in turn receive penny warrants to acquire 14.9 percent of the common shares of Bally as well as warrants to buy up to a total of an additional 10 percent of the common shares of Bally depending on the achievement of different performance metrics. With purchase prices starting at $30/share and increasing to $45/share, exercisable after four years, Sinclair will also receive options to purchase 5 percent of Bally’s common shares in four tranches.
Soo Kim, chairman of the board of directors of Bally’s Corporation, 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 behaviour.”
We’re joining forces with Bally’s Corporation, announcing a transformational partnership that will change the game when it comes to the fast-growing U.S. sports betting and iGaming market. https://t.co/euBEru82FA pic.twitter.com/nNPjLwsKqD
— Sinclair Broadcast Group (@WeAreSinclair) November 19, 2020