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NBC Sports wagers big on sports betting with PointsBet partnership, investment


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NBC Sports wagers big on sports betting with PointsBet partnership, investment

NBCUniversal Media LLC's NBC Sports has partnered with PointsBet Holdings Ltd. to help the programmer capitalize on the burgeoning sports betting market.

As part of a five-year deal that makes the Australian-based sports betting operator the official sports betting partner across its properties, NBC Sports has purchased a 4.9% stake in PointsBet. The sports programmer, whose properties include NBCSN (US), Golf Channel (US) and Telemudo Deportes, also has the option to obtain another 25% over the length of the deal.

PointsBet has committed to $393 million in total media spending on NBC Sports outlets, with the outlays escalating over the term of the deal. Many of those dollars will be expressed on regional sports networks, David Preschlack, president of NBC Sports Regional Networks and executive vice president of content strategy at NBC Sports Group, said in an interview.

Though the Supreme Court struck down a law in May 2018 that had limited sports betting to Nevada, it remains a regional business at this point. However, more states are expected to adopt sports betting, with revenue estimates ranging from $7 billion to as much as $10 billion by 2024-25. According to Preschlack, PointsBet currently has established sports betting operations in New Jersey, Illinois and Iowa, and has "line of sight" for businesses in Colorado, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Scott Robson, an analyst at Kagan, a research unit within S&P Global Market Intelligence, called the union "a logical partnership given NBC is heavily invested in sports," saying it provides the programmer "with a way to make a bet on sports gambling long term."

NBC Sports will not only benefit from spending by PointsBet but can continue to register spot advertising deals with other sports betting operators, a business that Preschlack previously said had already become "material" to the programmer.

Robson, already bullish on sports betting as a category that has propped up cable network ad revenue in markets where the practice is legal, noted that the addition of PointsBet ad dollars comes as some other verticals have pulled back on their budgets.

Preschlack said NBC Sports could also garner $100 million in affiliate-fee revenue through referrals for new PointsBet customers over the course of the deal.

SNL ImageThe NBC Sports Predictor app boasts 630,000 peak monthly users.
Source: PointsBet

One of the first visible elements of the pact will be content integrations into pre- and post-game shows covering MLB teams on its RSNs. From a digital perspective, Preschlack said users can click on a contextual banner ad, deposit money and then make a wager on the contest.

NBC Sports Predictor, a free gaming app that has drawn 1.1. million downloads, will integrate PointsBet content around questions related to NBC's coverage of golf, NASCAR, the U.K.'s Premier League soccer and the NFL. The best scores earn prizes.

PointsBet also will become part of Rotoworld, the fantasy sports and betting tool website that NBC owns and Preschlack said draws upward of 4 million unique visitors on a monthly basis.

From a national perspective, Preschlack said it is possible that a PointsBet sports betting show could find a home on NBCU's Peacock, its new streaming service that is looking to differentiate itself in the space with live events, including upcoming coverage of the U.S. Open golf championships, as well as sports talk fare.

PointsBet Managing Director and Group CEO Sam Swanell in a press release said NBC Sports linear and digital assets will be the cornerstones of the company’s marketing strategy and will combine with its technology to drive client acquisition and retention.