Australian-based sportsbook PointsBet finalized a groundbreaking partnership with NBC Sports Thursday. The deal involves a combination of branding, ad buys, and equity worth around $500 million.
NBC’s rivals – CBS and FOX – have their own partnerships already with sports betting companies as CBS is joined with William Hill, and FOX has its own branded book via Stars Group in FOX Bet.
What the deal means for sports bettors
PointsBet/NBC will seek to build its customer base through the Comcast-owned platform of national and eight regional sports networks, along with a variety of websites and internet-based services. Six of NBC Sports’ eight regional networks broadcast in areas where there is some form of legal betting. Fans can expect to see PointsBet signage and odds in games and studio shows going forward. For some, like in Philadelphia, that likely means replacing incumbents like Rush Street’s Rivers Casino.
PointsBet will also brand the “NBC Sports Predictor” and their name will also be prominent on Golf Channel, Telemundo, and the new Peacock streaming service – which already hosts live games and daily sports talk shows like “The Dan Patrick Show” and “The Rich Eisen Show.” PointsBet has pledged a reported $393 million in ad buys over the five year term of the deal, a significant investment that will help offset the $1 billion in estimated ad losses for NBC with the delayed Tokyo Olympics.
“We are excited to begin this partnership with PointsBet, which will deliver unmatched sports betting engagement opportunities across multiple platforms,” said David Preschlack, President, NBC Sports Regional Networks, and Executive Vice President, Content Strategy, NBC Sports Group, in a release. “For NBCUniversal and PointsBet, this agreement provides considerable opportunities in the fast-growing sports betting marketplace, which is unique to this extensive and robust, multi-year arrangement. Looking ahead, we’re also excited about the significant activation opportunities that will come to fruition as sports betting continues to proliferate across the US.”
PointsBet becoming more and more familiar in the US
While being a late arrival to New Jersey when sports betting became legal in June 2018, PointsBet has made up ground on competitors and has begun to launch retail and online operations in other states. PointsBet has made waves with partnership deals for sports betting in Michigan with the Tigers and in Colorado with the Kroenke-owned properties like the Nuggets and the Avalanche.
In addition to a major cash element, PointsBet has offered 4.9% of their current shares as equity as part of the deal. NBCUniversal will have a chance to own up to 25% of the sportsbook company during the deal.
To pull this size and scope of a deal, despite the revenue losses from the lack of traditional sports, and in an increasingly competitive market with media partnerships happening more frequently, is perhaps the biggest coup in the first few years of expanded sports betting. Of the four network deals, PointsBet is the least established brand in the US. But they’ll now be featured on the most watched TV series in the US: “Sunday Night Football.” Knowing Al Michaels’ style, that’s going to get some mileage.
Not only is this a huge win for the Aussie-based book, this signifies a major step in further legitimizing sports betting in America. This deal doesn’t happen if players put their trust in regulated vendors and demand that level of transparency, fair pricing, and customer service that’s in the market. And it could be the death knell to other media outlets listing offshore prices for articles and conversations.