inclair Broadcast Group has reached a deal with casino operator Bally's Corporation in which the 21 FOX regional sports network (RSN) brands it owns nationwide will be renamed using the Bally name, among other actions.
The 10-year partnership announced Wednesday combines Bally's (previously known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings Inc.) vertically integrated, proprietary sports betting technology and expansive market access footprint with Sinclair's premier portfolio of local broadcast stations and RSNs, STIRR, its Tennis Channel, and digital and over-the-air television network Stadium.
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 Sinclair and Bally's to jointly market, design and integrate products on a state-by-state basis.
The Sinclair partnership, along with Bally's acquisition of Bet.Works' iGaming platform, growing market access and land-based footprint that will soon cover 10 states with additional states expected to come, position Bally's to capture a significant share of the estimated future $50 billion U.S. sports betting and iGaming market opportunity, according to Wall Street analyst research and Bally's management estimates.
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 U.S. MLB, NBA and NHL teams.
Bally's will have premium integration opportunities across Tennis Channel, the home of over 95% of all live tennis matches broadcast in the U.S., Sinclair's 24/7 multi-platform sports network, Stadium, and STIRR, Sinclair's fast growing direct-to-consumer streaming app offering live and on-demand content.
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. 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.
"This arrangement represents an opportunity to revolutionize the U.S. sports betting, gaming and media industries," Soo Kim, Chairman of Bally's Corporation's Board of Directors, said in a press release. "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 U.S. 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 U.S. sports betting and iGaming market expected to ultimately reach ~$50 billion at maturity, this partnership perfectly positions our sports portfolio to fully capitalize on changing audience behavior."