Imagine this scenario: it’s the bottom of the third inning. Two on, two out. The pitcher goes into his windup. And here’s . . . the bet.
Well, thanks to Sinclair Broadcasting and Bally’s, come next season, this play will jump from the realm of fantasy into reality.
Sinclair and the 21 regional sports networks it owns nationwide in the USA are partnering with Bally’s to completely change the landscape of sports viewing on television. They intend to offer live in-play bets on the sporting events they carry over these channels during the broadcast.
“This arrangement represents an opportunity to revolutionize the U.S. sports betting, gaming and media industries,” Soo Kim, Chairman of Bally’s Corporation’s Board of Directors, said in a statement.
The Fox Sports Networks (FSN) group of 24-hour sports channels, previously known as Fox Sports Net, are owned by Diamond Sports Group, a partnership of the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios. They purchased FSN in 2019 for $10.6 billion.
Bally’s Corporation currently owns and manages 10 casinos across six states, a horse racetrack, and 13 authorized OTB licenses in Colorado.
As part of the 10-year deal, Sinclair will receive penny warrants to acquire 14.9 percent of Bally’s common shares, as well as warrants to purchase up to a total of an additional 10 percent of Bally’s common shares, contingent on the achievement of various performance metrics.
Where Will It Be Available?
Bally’s will integrate content into the 190 television stations that Sinclair owns, operates or provides services to across 88 markets and its sports networks. This will enable Sinclair and Bally’s to jointly market, design and integrate products on a state-by-state basis, and deliver one-of-a-kind online gaming experiences to local audiences. The 21 FOX RSN brands will be rebranded using the Bally name.
The transaction provides Bally’s with extensive access to Sinclair’s network of live sports content. The FSN channels account for more than half of the MLB, NBA and NHL teams located in the USA.
Bally’s will also be given premium integration opportunities across Tennis Channel, home to over 95 percent of all live tennis matches broadcast in the USA. They’ll also have access to Sinclair’s 24/7 multi-platform sports network, Stadium and STIRR, Sinclair’s direct-to-consumer streaming app that offers live and on-demand content.
How TV Betting Will Work
Betting on the game will be emphasized during telecasts. Interactive wagering will be provided on the TV screen or mobile devices on which the games are being seen, with Bally’s — through Sinclair — serving as the U.S. bookie.
“The overall vision is . . . to ‘gamify’ sports” and “to make watching sports like playing a video game,” Sinclair president and CEO Chris Ripley told STLtoday.com.
The hope is that by offering live in-play wagering odds accessible right on the screen while they watch the game, it will bring younger viewers who’ve drifted away to watching video via streaming and the mobile device back to network television.
“We think this will dramatically increase the attractiveness of (watching), especially for a younger generation,” Riley said.
In-play betting is fast becoming one of the most popular methods to bet on sports in the USA. It asks bettors to place a wager on the next event during a game. It could be the next batter to reach base in a baseball game, or the next player to score a goal in a hockey game.
The advantage to in-play wagering is that the action never ends and studies have shown that this offers significant appeal to younger bettors, who love the fast pace. The downfall is with so many opportunities to make a wager, a player can lose a significant amount of money in a short span of time.