‘In-game betting but on steroids’: Sinclair’s sports broadcast of the future

‘In-game betting but on steroids’: Sinclair’s sports broadcast of the future

Could some NBA, NHL and MLB games next year be served up akin to a Las Vegas sportsbook screen, with changing odds and heavy gamblers comped the subscription to the service?

That is the vision at least outlined Wednesday by Chris Ripley, CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose Bally Sports Regional Networks are negotiating with those leagues to obtain streaming rights for a planned direct-to-consumer (DTC) launch next year. Ripley told investors on an earnings call Wednesday morning the service would be “like in-game betting but on steroids.” Sinclair’s RSNs currently broadcast 42 teams: 14 in MLB, 16 in the NBA and 12 NHL teams.

“For a person who is heavily engaged in sports betting, I envision a significant amount of income coming from watch-and-play, which is the gamification, real-time gamification of a sporting event, where they can play it like a video game,” Ripley said. “They can be having at risk at … money on the line, positions that are changing … every 10 to 20 seconds, based on their actions.

“And, actually, the first we’re working on that experience with Ballys, first up in tennis, tennis, you know, is … set up very, very well to do that. But we’re going to move that same philosophy through MLB, NBA, NHL too, and … we think that ends up being a very significant revenue driver, not only for this enterprise, but we also see a world that you alluded to where people engaged in that type of activity will get subsidized or comped subscriptions from the sportsbooks.”

Sinclair owns the Tennis Channel.

Ripley’s streaming service, let alone one that is gamified, has some rather significant hurdles.

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