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Volume 25 No. 87
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Impact Of Legal Sports Betting Being Felt Across The Industry

Browning said sports gambling innovation will happen soon as startups merge around data
Photo: MARC BRYAN-BROWN

Questions surround legalized sports gambling as it becomes available in more states, but there seems to be no debate on its potential impact on the industry. Panelists at the ’18 SBJ Game Changers conference discussed the current landscape of sports business, and Wasserman Senior VP/Broadcasting & Coaching Debbie Spander named legal sports betting as something to keep an eye on. She mentioned the NBA’s recent deal with MGM to become the league’s official betting partner and said more leagues and networks will follow suit. Spander: “All the major networks are going to have sports gambling shows, so it’s going to be very interesting how that impacts sports in 5 to 10 years.” Telemundo Deportes President Ray Warren noted sports “typically has always been saved by something, there’s always a savior.” He said that legal sports betting could end up playing that role. NHL Exec VP & CMO Heidi Browning added that she believes innovation is going to happen around gambling sooner rather than later, saying startups are “going to merge out of nowhere quickly around data, around analytics, around media and broadcasting.” Browning: “We’re going to see a lot of things we can’t even dream of yet that may enhance it or detract from it.”

CALCULATING VALUE: Asked where the most active area of deal-making is in the sports business industry right now, PJT Partners’ Don Cornwell said it is a combination of sports betting, and in relation to that, stats. Cornwell believes the “next frontier is the value of sports stats.” Cornwell: “We saw the rise in the value of media rights, and the leagues are now spending time saying, ‘OK, in order to do sports gambling appropriately, for you to have in-game betting, you need real-time stats. Those stats are worth a lot, how are we going to monetize those?’ So we’re seeing a lot of activity around that.” Cornwell also noted most professional leagues already have an official stat provider, so those deals are done, but “they’ve been done in very low money ways” and could potentially be renegotiated for more money.