Sinclair Broadcast Group is looking to strike more deals akin to the one media company reached last year with casino operator Bally’s Corp. (NYSE:BALY). The moves come as it’s scrambling to rework the debt load at its regional sports network (RSN) business.
Sinclair is reportedly actively engaged in discussions with creditors of its Diamond Sports Group LLC unit. Those talks allegedly involve the possibilities of new financing, with bolstered protections to the lenders.
The media company acquired 21 RSNs in 2019 from Walt Disney for $10.6 billion while that company was divesting assets to win regulatory approval of its takeover of 21st Century Fox. At that time, the RSNs were valued at $16 billion.
Of that $10.6 billion paid, Sinclair paid just $1.4 billion in cash, with the rest coming in the form of proceeds from high-yield bonds sales and loans. But debt coming due in 2026 and 2027 issued by Diamond Sports recently traded at distressed levels after cord-cutting, some cable providers dropping RSNs, and the sports shutdown forced by the coronavirus pandemic all weighed on the RSNs’ financial performance.
Sinclair is in discussions with two sports betting companies for marketing partnerships that resemble a deal the broadcaster made with Bally’s Corp. last year,” reports Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the matter.
That pair of gaming companies weren’t identified.
Could Bally’s Template Be Used Again?
It’s not yet clear how Sinclair’s new agreements with betting operators will shake out, or if those accords will come to fruition at all.
However, the media company could seek pacts that resemble its deal with Bally’s. Under the terms of that agreement, the Rhode Island-based gaming company is paying Sinclair $85 million over 10 years for naming rights on the aforementioned RSNs. Sinclair also got a 15 percent equity stake in the casino operator, which can grow to 30 percent over time if certain financial objectives are met.
It remains to be seen if Sinclair can gain similar terms with other gaming entities. But as far as the Bally’s deal goes, Diamond Sports creditors probably like it, because the media company has an appreciating asset it eventually can pare down to raise capital.
When Bally’s agreement was revealed last November, the operator had a market capitalization of about $913 million. Today, it’s $2.48 billion, meaning Sinclair’s 15 percent stake in the company more than doubled in value.
Wynn in the Mix
In the wake of the Bally’s/Sinclair announcement last November, it was reported that Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) was the company Bally’s beat out for the deal.
Though it’s not clear if Wynn is one of the two operators the media company is currently in talks with, two things are obvious.
First, the Las Vegas-based company is actively growing its sports betting business. Second, it’s one of the names in the space currently lacking a marquee media partnership.
Earlier this year, Macquarie estimated relationships between gaming and media entities will drive more than $30 billion worth of iGaming and sports wagering revenue by 2030.
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