Sports Illustrated Prowling for Betting Partner
Posted on: August 12, 2020, 11:48h.
Last updated on: August 12, 2020, 01:06h.
Authentic Brands Group (ABG), the owner of Sports Illustrated, is reportedly looking to pair the sports media property with a betting partner.
The news was originally reported by the New York Post earlier today, which noted ABG is pushing to strike a deal with an unidentified betting company before the end of 2020.
If the venerable sports publication is successful in finding a sports wagering partner, it would mark the latest in a series of comparable deals struck over the course of this year.
In January, Penn National Gaming plunked down $163 million to acquire 36 percent of David Portnoy’s Barstool Sports, a transaction that sets the stage for the gaming company to eventually become the outright owner of the sports and pop culture site at a price tag of $450 million.
Just a few weeks later in February, ViacomCBS and William Hill revealed a partnership in which the sportsbook operator will be the official betting data provider on all CBS Sports platforms. Financial terms of that deal weren’t disclosed.
Looking to License
ABG licenses the Sports Illustrated name to digital publishing company Maven, which oversees day-to-day operators on the magazine and SI.com. The owner is aiming to do the same with the “SI Bets” brand and a gaming partner, according to the Post.
Amid the SI Bets rumor, industry observers aren’t commenting on specific financials. But they appear convinced a price tag won’t reach Barstool heights, regardless of what gaming company becomes the partner.
At the highest level, I think expectations for any sports betting partner should be subdued. Sports Illustrated isn’t the media property it once was. This isn’t Barstool Sports,” said Roundhill Investments CEO and co-founder Will Hershey in remarks emailed to Casino.org.
It’s not immediately clear what ABG could fetch in a transaction involving SI Bets and a sportsbook partner. The company paid just $110 million to buy Sports Illustrated last year. Immediately following the Penn/Barstool announcement in January, some analysts said the casino operator was paying too steep a price to join forces with a media brand.
The following is not investment advice, but Hershey notes smaller players, such as BetRivers — owned by Rush Street Interactive — or PointsBet could be sensible options for SI Bets.
While Sports Illustrated doesn’t have the cache it did a few decades ago, it’s still a recognizable brand and potentially useful to a sportsbook operator looking to expand its customer roster. Plus, the property isn’t foreign to betting, as there’s a dedicated gambling and daily fantasy sports (DFS) section of SI.com.
“I think it speaks to a broader trend for bookmakers that want to utilize media assets as their top of funnel,” said Hershey. “As we are in the early innings of the US betting rollout, any investment in growing your user base has the potential to be a worthwhile trade.”
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