It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad). Here’s the weekend Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top U.S. sports betting stories, highlighting some fresh news, and rounding up key stories. Also check out this week’s Wild World of Gambling at US Bets.
Top stories from around our network
Not exactly the dog days of summer around here as this week delivered another flurry of developments in the regulation, business, and legal fronts, as well as activity in many of the high-population states. And we gained a little bit more clarity — or affirmation that there is none — around what’s to come in the newest batch of soon-to-launch states in Arizona, Louisiana, and Maryland.
Here are the top stories followed by an overview of Sportradar’s IPO filing, a bit on BetMGM and more weekend reading suggestions.
The Matrix: New York edition
Dad joke headline of the week
Standing on the train tracks of the week
Competing visions quest of the week
Three $20 million tickets to ride of the week
Feature story of the week
Least surprising, interesting study of the week
The Arizona State University of sportsbook states
I’ve been everywhere, man
Sportradar files for $100M IPO
Sportradar filed for a $100 million IPO on Tuesday, opting for a traditional route to go public after talks on a potential SPAC deal collapsed earlier this year.
Reports surfaced in June that Sportradar had abandoned a merger with a prominent special purpose acquisition company after the Switzerland-based global sports betting data provider lost out on a lucrative deal with the NFL. Months earlier, Sportradar reportedly agreed in principle on a planned merger with Horizon Acquisition Corp. II (HZON), a SPAC led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly. The proposed transaction valued Sportradar at $10 billion, according to various media reports.
In March, Sportradar signed a letter of intent with HZON that gave the SPAC an exclusive negotiating window to hammer out a deal. The two sides were unable, however, to formalize an agreement. Then, in April, Genius Sports, Sportradar’s archrival, signed a historic partnership with the NFL for exclusive distribution of the league’s official sports betting data, in a cash and equity deal that could be worth more than $1 billion over the life of the contract.
Although Sportradar and HZON resumed negotiations in May in attempts to secure funding through a Private Investment in Public Equity (PIPE), the sides could not reach an agreement. A revised deal without the NFL contract may have resulted in a considerably lower valuation, a source told Sports Handle.
The SPAC market has dried up in recent months, as investors have grown more selective about the type of PIPEs under consideration. A tough stretch for newly formed public companies has also prompted some to think twice about partnering with a SPAC. As of Friday, the CNBC Post SPAC index is down 43% from February highs.
For the six months ended June 30, 2021, Sportradar had revenue of €272.1 million ($317.9 million), representing growth of 42% from the same period a year earlier, the company disclosed in an SEC filing dated Aug. 17. Sportradar also reported adjusted EBITDA of €59.8 million ($69.9 million), up 46.5% from the year-ago period.
Despite the loss of the NFL contract, Sportradar entered into a 10-year agreement with the NHL last month under which it became the official betting data rights holder of the league. Sportradar has strategic relationships with more than 150 global sports leagues, including the NBA and MLB. In Tuesday’s filing, Sportradar described the intensely competitive nature of the global sports data marketplace, noting that a failure to obtain and maintain “sufficient data rights from major sports leagues, including exclusive rights” represents a risk factor to potential investors. For instance, Sportradar disclosed that a key partnership will expire over the next 12 months, one the company said it is currently renegotiating.
Following the IPO announcement, Sportradar extended a multi-year data agreement with FanDuel through 2028. The deal is worth $150-$200 million, CNBC reported. On Friday, Genius Sports traded around $17 a share, resulting in a market capitalization of $3.3 billion.
Sportradar plans to list on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol SRAD. J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley are lead underwriters on the deal. No pricing terms were disclosed, Sportradar said in a statement.
In the filing, Sportradar also addressed the company’s operations in markets outside the U.S., notably in certain so-called gray markets, where the company indicated that the “legality of various forms of gambling is open to interpretation.”
Among other risk factors, Sportradar noted that regulatory changes that may result in a jurisdiction being “re-assessed as a restricted territory,” could have an adverse effect on its ability to generate revenue, and further that “there is a risk that regulators or prosecutors in jurisdictions where we provide online gambling and/or betting services to customers without a local license or pursuant to a multi-jurisdictional license may take legal action against our operations and any defense we may raise may not be successful.”
— Matt Rybaltowski
BetMGM adds one more in the middle
BetMGM announced Thursday a partnership to offer sports betting in South Dakota, one of three states that has plans to go live in September. BetMGM gained market access to the retail-only marketplace through a deal with Liv Hospitality, which operates the Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort and Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort. A press release says the company will offer “future retail and mobile sports betting in Deadwood.” Digital wagering — other than on site — is not currently legal in South Dakota.
Voters legalized sports betting last November, and the state legislature later approved a framework for it. Regulators are aiming for a September go-live date and have been taking applications through the summer.
Regulators in Arizona and Wyoming — both of which will offer statewide mobile wagering — are also aiming to launch operators next month.
— Jill R. Dorson
More of the most important, interesting stories
— one.fan (@onefanaticguy) August 21, 2021
A great listen with Roger Gros visiting with Captain Jack @capjack2000. Back in the day at the Stardust Book, I was always glad that 11 was bigger than 10 because of people like Jack. When a guy like Jack came into the book, I generally learned something.https://t.co/3KvWJ5hjzD
— Richard Schuetz (@Schuetzinc) August 18, 2021
‘VOLUNTARY TAX’: Enough North Carolina Senators agree sports gambling bill is good bet [AP]
FANATICS: Closer look at hype around the online sports retailer’s recent betting ambition (paywall) [Gambling Compliance]
DON’T LET DOOR HIT YOU: Lawmakers rip outgoing governor over sports betting. [Times Union]
TRIPLE COMMA CLUB: Sightline Payments now valued at more than $1 billion. [SBC]
NEW PARTNERSHIP: DraftKings, Baltimore Ravens announce a deal. [Baltimore Sun]
BRAIN GAIN: ESPN’s Bornstein heading to Genius Sports. [Sportico]
NEW IN TOWN: Nevada regulator starts process for eSports wagering expansion. [CDCGaming]
INSIGNIA: NHL team jerseys can have ads starting ‘22-23 season [ESPN]