SEEING THE FIELD

Throughout their complicated regulatory histories, New York has been an important battleground state for DraftKings and FanDuel. It’s widely viewed as the second largest gaming market in the U.S. (trailing California) and is important in forming legal precedent. So it’s no surprise that this week, DraftKings announced a partnership to run the sportsbook at Del Lago Resort, one of the state’s four commercial casinos. Most importantly, the deal will allow DK to launch state-wide betting via its app once the law allows. FanDuel, fresh of its acquisition from Paddy Power Betfair, announced similar arrangements with casinos in New York and New Jersey last month.

We’re starting to see the post-PASPA sports betting landscape take form. Often, state gaming licenses are limited to land-based casinos – making partnerships like these imperative for digital betting providers. While it’s unlikely legal wagering will take place in NY until ’19 (waiting on legislation in the state assembly), these are important developments.


TOP PLAYS
  • Stack Sports (fka Blue Star) acquired GetMeRegistered.com and The End Result Company. After rolling-up companies in the youth sports space, Stack’s more recent focus has been on the event segment – specifically in race management and timing businesses. Across both areas, the theme of obtaining athlete (user) information is consistent.

  • Blast, a gaming/fintech mashup, raised an additional $12M in funding (after announcing a $5M raise earlier this year). The company helps gamers (whether playing competitive games or simply Candy Crush) win and save money via micro-payments. While critics often point to the addictive nature of games, Blast aims to turn that around by rewarding continued play/engagement with savings (both personal and rewards from developers).

  • NEX Team, the software company behind Homecourt, raised $4M from a group including Mark Cuban, Steve Nash, and Jeremy Lin. Homecourt is a smartphone app that tracks basketball shots using computer vision. It’s a leaner tracking solution compared to other permanent video services or wearable devices.

  • BSN, a leading distributor of team apparel and equipment (and part of Varsity Brands), acquired smaller competitor Teamline. The deal will expand BSN’s salesforce by ~25% and provide meaningful geographic growth.

THE SPRINT
  • Overwatch League and Disney agreed to a multiyear deal to broadcast OWL competitions this season and next. Media is a hugely important driver for esports monetization and this deal is a continuation of esports into mainstream media. It will be interesting to follow how this deal impacts OWL’s relationship with, and audience on, Twitch. With a two-year, $90M agreement, Twitch is a substantial partner for the league.

  • Suning Sports, the sports arm of the Chinese holding company of the same name, raised $600M from Goldman Sachs and Alibaba at a $2.6B valuation. Suning’s assets include three soccer clubs (most notably Inter Milan), and the EPL, Bundesliga, and La Liga media rights in China. They’re aggressively grabbing market share in the Chinese sports market and expect to raise another round of financing “soon.”