Betting on sports is becoming a larger part of the media landscape. Indeed, many states recently legalized sports betting, and it is projected that many more jurisdictions will legalize betting on sports in the future. Sports betting not only provides a unique form of entertainment to players but also generates valuable tax revenues for state and local governments. While individuals used to exclusively place sports bets at casinos or other authorized locations, players can now place bets on their phones from the comfort of their own homes or anywhere else within a jurisdiction that has legalized sports betting.
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Partnership with Bally’s
In order to chaptalize on the popularity of sports betting, Sinclair Broadcast Group announced in November that it will be partnering with the world-famous Bally’s casino operator. Sinclair is one of the nation’s largest media companies, and Bally’s is one of the world’s most well-regarded casino brands. It is hoped that with this partnership, Sinclair can capitalize on the intersection between media and sports betting and position Sinclair in a growing industry with boundless potential.
“Sports betting is going to be part of a bigger mega-trend,” the “gamification” of sports, Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said during a recent interview with the Baltimore Sun.
A Progression for Sinclair Broadcast Group
The move into sports betting is just a part of the natural progression of a long-term strategy of Sinclair Broadcast Group. Last year, Sinclair paid $10.6 billion to acquire a popular sports network. This acquisition led to some short-term challenges for Sinclair, and it has been a difficult year for sports because the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacted the operations of many sports leagues. However, Sinclair believes that its investment in the sports industry will pay large dividends for years to come. Indeed, the ongoing pandemic has spurred an increase in the number of people sports betting, especially through online interfaces. Since many casinos are currently closed to promote social distancing, players are taking to online platforms in order to place their bets, and the ease of placing bets from home has spurred a surge in sports betting across many jurisdictions in which sports betting is legal.
Bally’s will also benefit from the sports betting deal with Sinclair. In fact, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s sports network will be rebranded with Bally’s name and the two companies will work with each other to create additional media content that centers on sports betting. This includes original talk shows and other media. Sinclair has the rights to a number of sports events across the country and the media rights for many professional sports teams. This allows the partnership to offer sports betting opportunities that are not available from many other providers.
“Sports are apolitical, as well as local, and provide a welcome relief from the issues of the day,” Ripley said in a statement. “But, we also remain dedicated to providing our viewers with the vital local and national news coverage they need to make informed decisions every day … We will continue to be a one-stop-shop for our viewers for their choice of news, sports, and entertainment.”
The portfolio of land-based casinos operated by Bally’s also offers advantages to Sinclair. Such casinos are often given preference by government authorities when launching online sports betting platforms. In addition, providing players access to both brick-and-mortar casinos and online gambling platforms provides a holistic experience for players that are not offered by many other operators. With the COVID-19 vaccine around the corner, players may look for more traditional gambling opportunities in the future along with online offerings, so the partnership with Bally’s is especially advantageous.
Bally’s is hoping to launch its sports-betting application in the spring of 2021, which will coincide with the opening of several professional sports leagues. It is also hoped that eventually, the sports-betting experience will be more immersive and interactive. Indeed, there is the possibility that Sinclair Broadcast Group and Bally’s will enable players to seamlessly place bets while watching television to increase the excitement of viewing sports. With a partnership between a major media company and one of the world’s largest casino operators, there are numerous opportunities to provide an unparalleled gambling experience to players.
“When you do sports betting you watch more sports,” Ripley said. “It all adds up to getting more people engaged with sports, which is good for our league partners and our teams because that’s the future of the sport.”
Sinclair Broadcast Group is a diversified media company and leading provider of local sports and news. The Company owns and/or operates 23 regional sports network brands; owns, operates and/or provides services to 190 television stations in 88 markets; is a leading local news provider in the country; owns multiple national networks; and has TV stations affiliated with all the major broadcast networks. Sinclair’s content is delivered via multiple platforms, including over-the-air, multi-channel video program distributors, and digital platforms. The Company regularly uses its website as a key source of Company information which can be accessed at www.sbgi.net.