Sportradar Reportedly Mulling Going Public, Stoking More SPAC Speculation

Posted on: July 15, 2020, 05:10h. 

Last updated on: July 16, 2020, 11:01h.

Sports data provider Sportradar is reportedly mulling life as a publicly traded entity, stoking talk the Swiss company could consider joining the growing list of firms using special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) to attain that status.

Sportradar Mulls Going Public
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is among the Sportradar investors that could hit a big payday if the company goes public. (Image: CNBC)

Sportico, a sports business journal, reported the Sportradar news earlier Thursday, noting that the company, which counts three NBA owners among its roster of well-known early investors, could pursue the SPAC route rather than a more time-consuming traditional initial public offering (IPO).

SPACs — also known as blank-check companies or special purpose vehicles (SPVs) — are all the rage in the financial community these days, and that ebullience extends to the gaming industry. In April, DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) became a public company via a blank-check firm, while Tilman Fertitta’s Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG) recently announced plans to do the same.

While there have been 32 SPAC IPOs this year, the audience of potential suitors for a deal with Sportradar is limited because the data company sports a large valuation.

The company was last valued at $2.4 billion in the private markets in 2018,” said Roundhill Investments CEO and co-founder Will Hershey in remarks emailed to “The regulatory environment and general momentum for the industry likely suggests a significantly higher valuation today. At that size, the number of potential SPAC suitors is limited.”

Hershey’s firm issues the Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF (NYSE:BETZ), among other products.

Rumors Abound

Sportico didn’t mention if Sportradar will list in Europe or in the US. But Hershey told it makes sense for the Swiss company to list in New York, a strategy used by other European companies with exposure to the technology side of sports betting.

“At the highest level, I think it makes sense for Sportradar to pursue a listing in the US,” said Hershey. “They are the official betting data partner of the major US sports leagues, and the US betting market represents a significant future growth opportunity.”

In the US, Sportradar has data distribution deals with all four of the major athletic leagues — Major League Baseball (MLB), NBA, NFL, and NHL. The company also has agreements with NASCAR and the PGA Tour. Plus, it’s likely Sportradar executives and investors are seeing the premium multiples assigned to sports betting equities trading in the US, potentially making a New York listing even harder to pass up.

That’s not the end of the chatter. Hershey notes, given the dearth of SPACs with the resources to do a deal with a company like Sportradar, the field could potentially include Flying Eagle Acquisition Corp. (NYSE:FEAC). That blank-check firm is backed by the same investors that facilitated the aforementioned DraftKings deal. Hershey is simply speculating on that point and not making a recommendation regarding a specific security.

Another DraftKings Similarity

Sportradar shares something else in common with DraftKings — an investor roster littered with high-profile names.

With the Swiss company, there’s the usual smattering of titans of finance, including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and private equity firm TCV, and three NBA owners — Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Bobcats, and Ted Leonsis of the Washington Wizards.

Hershey said Sportradar investors are likely supportive of the firm becoming publicly traded due to the liquidity advantages associated with such a move.