Sinclair Expects Legalized Sports Betting To Increase Revenue Streams
Sinclair Broadcast Group "expects a significant boost from legalized sports betting as it spreads" across the U.S., according to Lorraine Mirabella of the BALTIMORE SUN. Sinclair CEO & President Chris Ripley said, “Sports betting is going to be a major tailwind for the company.” During an annual meeting attended by about a dozen shareholders at Sinclair’s Maryland HQ last week, Ripley "outlined three key benefits for Sinclair as it beefs up sports programming" through the Disney RSN acquisition, which is "expected to close by the end of September." Betting on sports will "help enhance viewer engagement, add a new category of advertisers and potentially allow Sinclair to get into the business of handling the betting itself." Ripley: “Anytime you can add interactivity to your programming, and also skin in the game, where people have something at stake, the engagement levels go up." Long-term, Sinclair "expects betting to be integrated into the media itself." Ripley: "As of today, we are not a licensee. Whether we become a licensee down the road … is to be determined." For Sinclair, sports betting "likely represents a longer-term opportunity." Ripley said media companies "will generate incremental revenue from licensing and advertising, but I don’t think in the next three to five years it will move the needle" (BALTIMORE SUN, 6/7).
ACROSS THE LANDSCAPE: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Benjamin Mullin noted when it comes to sports betting, "major sports broadcasters are grabbing a piece of the action" to varying degrees. ESPN during the NBA Finals is "devoting a significant amount of airtime to bettors with such details as points individual players scored and whether the favored team won by enough to beat the spread." And while the net has added gambling-themed content such as ESPNews' "Daily Wager," ESPN and Disney Exec VP/Affiliate Sales & Marketing Justin Connolly said that "taking bets and paying wagers are off the table for ESPN." Fox, however, is "looking to compete with apps including FanDuel and DraftKings directly by launching Fox Bet." Turner has a content partnership with Caesars, and Bleacher Report has become WarnerMedia's "primary outlet for sports-betting information" (WSJ.com, 6/10).