Sports data provider Sportradar landed a long-term issuer default rating of “B” with a “stable” outlook from Fitch Ratings after the privately held company sold $494.36 million in debt. That senior secured loan issue was graded “B+” by Fitch.
Both marks are in junk territory and considered highly speculative in the credit universe. Switzerland-based Sportradar is one of the dominant providers of data to professional leagues in Europe and in the US. In the states, the company has distribution deals with the “big four” of Major League Baseball (MLB), NBA, NFL, and NHL as well as NASCAR and the PGA Tour.
Fitch notes the non-investment grade ratings assigned to Sportradar are consistent with companies of similar financial profiles.
“The company is small in size relative to its publicly rated data analytics peers and has a weaker EBITDA margin at below 20%, driven predominantly by expensive audiovisual (AV) sports rights,” said the research firm. “The leverage profile is more consistent with a ‘B’ rating, with initial funds from operations (FFO) leverage expected at 7.5x at December 2020 before falling to 5.4x by 2022.”
Sportradar has almost $99 million in cash on hand and currently generates just six percent of its revenue from US customers, indicating there’s plenty of room to grow in the booming US sports wagering market.
Dominant Global Positioning
“Sportradar is the global market leader in sports data and content-related services with a 40% market share in its largest segment, sports betting data and odds services,” said Fitch. “The company has established a breadth of coverage that is unparalleled with over 400,000 matches covered annually from over 70 sports.”
Its strong content base and audio/visual rights make the Swiss company a compelling partner and with demand for related fare soaring, its customer retention is nearly 100 percent, according to the ratings agency. Sportradar’s revenue stream is also diversified as its 10 largest clients combine for just 18 percent of its top line.
The company was last valued at $2.4 billion in 2018 and in July, speculation swirled it was mulling a deal with an unidentified special purposed acquisition company (SPAC) to go public. News on that front is scant over the past several months.
Sportradar is backed by some high profile investors, including three NBA owners — Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Bobcats, and Ted Leonsis of the Washington Wizards.
Big Growth Ahead
Whether Sportradar becomes a publicly traded entity remains to be seen, but what isn’t debatable is that the data provider is at the corner of some significant growth opportunities.
“The company has been well placed as the largest player in the market to outpace the market, with average organic revenue growth of 29% between 2014 to 2019,” notes Fitch. “Positive sector trends, such as the continued growth in online betting with its 24-hour betting options, e-sports and simulation sports gambling should mean more data points for Sportradar and its competitors to sell on the pre-game and live data markets.”
Additionally, the company proved sturdy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic with revenue falling just one percent in the first half of 2020 owing to visibility supported by client contracts, which typically run one to five years.