Sinclair Broadcast Group is now a major player in the world of sports and sports betting. The company recently purchased 21 regional sports networks (RSN’s) that Disney acquired when they purchased from Fox last year. According to Sinclair, the valuation of the RSN’s in the deal was approximately $10 billion.
Sinclair owns approximately 200 local TV stations with various affiliations (NBC, ABC, Fox, CBS, etc.) and programming. There are two ways they plan on using the new RSN’s to increase profits.
First, they’ll bundle the stations to increase revenue from cable companies. Second, and more important, is that they will eventually integrate sports betting into the RSN’s.
Sinclair looks to sports betting
Sinclair’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Chris Ripley, explained their sports betting plans to Reuters last week.
Ripley also plans to eventually allow viewers to place bets right from their screens during live games, similar to how fans can wager in Europe now.
“If you’re interested in gaming, we’re going to add on extra stats, the ability to do prop bets in the game, pitch by pitch, play by play,” he said. “You can play along and wager while you watch.”
The in-game, on-screen wagers would be done in partnership with sportsbook operators, but Sinclair would not want to become a bookie itself.
“Our preliminary conclusion is that it doesn’t make sense to be the licensee and run the book,” he said.
According to Reuters, Sinclair is already in talks with sportsbook operators about creating in-game wagering for the Tennis Channel. FanDuel Sportsbook recently started integrating live tennis on its app. This could be a perfect match (pun intended).
Financially, Sinclair expects to generate $1.5 billion to $2 billion in ad revenue from sportsbook operators and companies targeting sports bettors.
Sinclair and sports
Disney put these RSN’s up for auction after purchasing Fox. The bidding was open to the public and Fox could have re-purchased the stations if they wanted. Even though these RSN’s could have helped create exposure for the recently announced Fox Bet, the former owner chose not to bid for the stations.
This deal gives Sinclair exclusive local broadcast rights to 42 professional major league teams. The various RSN’s air games from the following leagues:
- 14 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams
- 16 National Basketball Association (NBA) teams
- 12 National Hockey League (NHL) teams
Sinclair has been making their way into the world of sports. Earlier this they announced a partnership with the New York Yankees YES Network. Next year they will launch Marquee Sports Network with the Chicago Cubs.
They also own the Tennis Channel, Stadium, and Ring of Honor Wrestling. Fox College Sports was also included in the deal with Disney.
The sports networks will be spun off to their own company called Diamond Sports Group LLC. Don’t be surprised if the RSN’s are rebranded with the Stadium monicker.
All together Sinclair now owns at least part the following RSN’s :
- Fox Sports Arizona
- Fox Sports Detroit
- Fox Sports Florida
- Fox Sports Sun
- Fox Sports North
- Fox Sports Wisconsin
- SportsTime Ohio
- Fox Sports Ohio
- Fox Sports South
- Fox Sports Carolina
- Fox Sports Tennessee
- Marquee Sports Network (launches 2020)
- Fox Sports Southeast
- Fox Sports Southwest
- Fox Sports Oklahoma
- Fox Sports New Orleans
- Fox Sports Midwest
- Fox Sports Kansas City
- Fox Sports Indiana
- Prime Ticket
- Fox Sports San Diego
- Fox Sports West
Huge gambling potential
Sinclair now has a massive footprint in live sports programming with their existing and new roster of TV stations.
In addition to the RSN’s and dedicated sports networks, some of Sinclair’s local TV stations air other sports from the NFL, college football, college basketball, and other sports. While they can’t alter national broadcasts, they could have local programming before and after games geared towards sports betting.
- Approximately 200 local TV stations
- Approximately 25 regional sports networks
- Tennis Channel
Whichever plans actually come to fruition there’s one thing for sure. Sinclair Broadcasting is banking that sports and sports betting will be a big part of their future. Sports bettors could have new sports betting media outlets all over the country.