SEEING THE FIELD

The big news this week is an obvious one, as the Supreme Court struck down PASPA – enabling each state to evaluate/enact its own sports gambling regulations. How quickly things change will vary. In New Jersey and Delaware, we could see legal sports betting in a matter of weeks, but for most states a 2019 or 2020 timeline is more realistic. In all, it’s expected that 32 states (a moving target) will introduce sports betting legislation over the next few years.

For outsiders, it may seem like the ruling has created a mad scramble – when in reality most stakeholders have long jostled for position in anticipation of the SCOTUS ruling. Many states have already started the legislation process, existing international sportsbooks like William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair (see below) have already dumped millions into the US market, Adam Silver notably called for leagues to receive an “integrity fee” for bets placed, DraftKings has a Head of Sportsbook, etc., etc.

This is generally good news for sports technology companies, with increased opportunity in related sports media, data (collection/use/distribution), and fan/consumer engagement. And for the hundreds of fantasy/betting apps that were “gaining users while waiting for the law to shift” – it’s time to fish or cut bait.

While there are reasonable concerns around the ensuing increase in (legal) gambling in the US and the process will take time, overturning PASPA is a transformative event in the sports industry and one that should expand the overall segment.


TOP PLAYS
  • Minute Media, the media tech platform and publisher of 90min (soccer), 12up (sports/social), and DBLTAP (esports), raised $17M from Goldman Sachs and others. The round brings total funding to $77M for the company, which specializes in packaging fan-generated content with quality ad, content, and engagement tech.

  • First it was the DK merger, then a rumored big media acquirer, then a SPAC alternative – and now, it appears that FanDuel’s fate may lie with Paddy Power Betfair. The Irish bookmaker confirmed they have entered acquisition talks, with rumors on price in the $500-700M range. PPF is already relevant in the US market, having bought Draft for $48M in 2017, owning the largest horse racing TV and betting network, and running an online casino business in New Jersey.

  • Eyellusion, an entertainment company that makes holograms of musical artists for live event tours, raised $2M from Thomas Dolan (of the MSG family).

  • Matchroom Boxing and Perform Group (with new Executive Chairman John Skipper) have announced a $1B rights deal to bring 16 fights per year (eight-year deal) to the US and distribute the broadcasts through Perform’s DAZN service. The fights won’t make it to PPV, with DAZN instead charging monthly fees for the streaming service.


THE SPRINT
  • The NCAA announced a 10-year partnership with sports data company Genius Sports to collect, manage, and distribute real-time data and stats for NCAA events. With the emergence of sports betting, this timing isn’t surprising. The NCAA will need to get out in front of potential integrity and monetization issues, and Genius does provide data services to sportsbooks.

  • This week the sale of the Carolina Panthers to David Tepper was finalized with an NFL record price of $2.27B. The preferred buyer for the league and many of the owners – despite not being the highest bidder. Tepper previously was a minority owner of the Steelers.