Bally’s Corporation believes a strategic partnership Sinclair Broadcast Group will “revolutionize” the US gaming and media landscape, and accelerate its growth in the sports betting and igaming verticals.
The long-term agreement will combine Bally’s sports betting technology – acquired through its $125m Bet.Works deal – with Sinclair’s portfolio of local broadcast stations and live regional sports networks.
The wide-ranging agreement will see Bally’s integrate content into the 190 television stations owned, operated or supported by Sinclair, as well as into its sports networks. This will allow the partners to build, promote and integrate products on a state-by-state basis.
As part of the deal, the 21 regional sports networks acquired by the broadcaster from Fox Sports last year will be rebranded using the Bally name, in return for annual naming rights fees and a set percentage of Bally Interactive’s marketing spend.
Bally’s will also gain integration opportunities across the Tennis Channel, which broadcasts 95% of live tennis matches show to US audiences, as well as for its multi-platform sports network Stadium, and on STIRR, its direct-to-consumer streaming app.
In return, Sinclair is to take a minority stake in the operator. It is to receive warrants to acquire 14.9% of Bally’s common shares, as well as warrants for an additional 10% stake, based on performance targets being met.
In addition, it will have the option to purchase a further 5% of Bally’s shares in four tranches, exercisable after four years, with purchase prices starting at $30 per share and rising to $45 per share.
“This arrangement represents an opportunity to revolutionize the US sports betting, gaming and media industries,” Bally’s chair Soo Kim said. “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.”
Since acquiring the Tennis Channel and the regional networks, the broadcaster had been “developing an innovative experience that changes the way people think about and view live sports across all [its] platforms,” Sinclair president and CEO Chris Ripley said.
“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 explained. “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.”
The deal comes amid a period of rapid expansion for the operator, which recently rebranded from Twin River Worldwide Holdings. Its $125m Bet.Works deal will see the business take ownership of proprietary betting and igaming technology, which will continue to be made available to third party partners.
The acquisition will also lead to a significant restructuring of the the business, which is to be split into Bally Casinos – for its land-based operations – and Bally Interactive, incorporating the Bet.Works technology.
The land-based division, meanwhile is being significantly expanded through M&A activity, with the operator completing its $25m deal for Bally’s Atlantic City. Once all agreed deals are finalized its network will comprise 14 properties across 10 states.