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NHL and Bally’s Form League Official Sports Betting Partnership

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NHL and Bally’s Form League Official Sports Betting Partnership
Scotiabank Arena. Claus Andersen/Getty Images/AFP

It was only a matter of time before Bally’s, perhaps the most aggressive recent sports betting provider in the US, signed on to become an Official Sports Betting Partner of a North America pro league. The inevitability came to fruition Thursday with an announcement that Bally’s and the NHL have entered into a multi-year strategic partnership.

It has been a common theme the last year of sports betting providers teaming up with major professional sports leagues in the US, in moves that are seen as mutually beneficial. It has become a necessary step for sportsbooks to partner with those leagues, as each race to take advantage of the sports betting gold rush currently taking place in the US market.

What’s the Deal?

The partnership deal between Bally’s and the NHL is not unlike any of the slew of similar deals that have been consummated the last couple of years. One possible difference is the relationship that Bally’s has forged with Sinclair Broadcasting.

Bally’s gets the usual rights to use league marks and logos and official NHL data on its sports betting products. The betting provider also gets valuable brand recognition that seems necessary in today’s market, on TV and with all of the league’s digital and media outlets.

“We are thrilled to enter into this partnership with the NHL, which represents an important milestone in our strategy to become a leader in the online sports betting and iGaming space,” George Papanier, president and chief executive officer of Bally’s Corp., said in the news release. “With access to the NHL’s official logos and brands, together with our first-of-its-kind media partnership with Sinclair, we will continue on our path to transform how fans engage with their favorite hockey teams.”

More on the Sinclair Broadcasting Angle

The NHL/Bally’s partnership will allow the Bally’s brand to flourish with the aid of Sinclair Broadcast Group, which last year formed its own relationship with Bally’s. The idea is to created stimulating content for NHL fans and broadcast it over Sinclair’s 19 regional sports networks, which already air NHL games in a host of important legal sports betting markets. Bally’s content will appear before, during and after live NHL game coverage on all of Sinclair’s NHL broadcasts.

“We’re thrilled to become the first national sports league partner of Bally’s Corp.,” Keith Wachtel, NHL chief business officer and senior executive vice president, said in the release. “With its Sinclair Broadcast Group partnership combined with a strong strategic vision for its portfolio of sports betting products, Bally’s is an ideal partner for the NHL to further engage our avid fan base on a national and local level.”

The Sinclair Broadcasting angle will allow for the beaming of NHL games and all that comes along with it into people’s living rooms almost every day of the NHL season, whether they are avid gamblers or not.

Bally’s Ascension

It wasn’t all that long ago that Bally’s was a middling name in the legal sports betting world but that has all changed within the last few months. First came the company’s November announcement of their $125 million acquisition of sports betting platform supplier, Bet.Works, giving Bally’s their own proprietary technology stack and turnkey solution in the mobile betting space.

Then came the word of an $85 million, 10-year agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group to rebrand all 21 of their Fox Regional Sports Networks to Bally’s Sports a couple of weeks later, and next came the company’s announcement of a definitive agreement to acquire the third-largest US daily fantasy company, Monkey Knife Fight.

All that seemed to be missing was a league to partner with in order to further their evolution as a top-tier US legal sports betting brand. With the NHL stepping in to fulfill that role, Bally’s has all-but concluded their ascension up the legal sports betting ladder, while at the same time declaring themselves as a top-tier US betting provider.

We likely haven’t heard the last from Bally’s sportsbook just yet. With wind at their backs, we can expect other expansion plans for the sports betting provider in the coming months. It could come in the form of more partnership deals or moves into participating legal sports betting states.