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Score Media Added to Expanding Penn National Family

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A Barstool Sports helmet is displayed. Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images/AFP

Penn National Gaming is at it again. It wasn’t long ago that the company saw value in a somewhat unique sports betting brand, Barstool Sports, acquired it, and let it carry on under their own name and philosophy. On Thursday, it was announced that Penn has officially acquired Toronto-based Score Media with an eye on not only theScore’s US entities but also the Canadian brand’s status in a soon-to-be-launched Canadian market.

theScore has been around in the Canadian market since 2012 and holds the distinction of being Canada’s most downloaded sports app. They have brought their unique model of a sports media/betting model to the US market where they currently have a middling market share in the Heavyweight wagering states of New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana, and Colorado.

“We are thrilled to be acquiring theScore, which is the number one sports app in Canada and the third most popular sports app in all of North America,” Jay Snowden, the president and CEO of Penn National, said in a press release. “theScore’s unique media platform and modern, state-of-the-art technology is a powerful complement to the reach of Barstool Sports and its popular personalities and content.”

Some Details

The price tag for Penn National’s takeover of Score Media came in at $2 billion in cash and stock options. The Levy family, which started theScore nearly 10 years ago will still be a huge part of the company and keep running operations out of Ontario where the company is currently based.

The deal includes $17 USD in cash for current Score Media shareholders along with a chance to maintain 0.2398 shares of Penn National common stock, which takes the total transactional share price of $34.

The deal gives Penn National a brand that spans the technology side of sports betting, the media side and almost unparalleled experience operating within the ever-evolving sporting world.

“Users will enjoy a unique mobile sports betting and icasino platform with highly customized bets and enhanced in-gaming wagering opportunities, along with highly engaging, personalized sports and entertainment content, and real time scores and stats,” Snowden said. “We believe this powerful new flywheel will result in best-in-class engagement and retention.”

The Value of theScore for Penn National

theScore, as mentioned has been around for almost a decade, providing mostly sports content and odds to their viewers and users. They were the first mobile sportsbook in North America that was borne as a media company first and married sports betting information into their platform. Other media outlets such as Fox, ESPN and even Sports Illustrated to name a few have followed the model set out by theScore in attempts to cash in on the lucrative and immense mainstreaming of legal sports betting platforms.

theScore still boasts an incredibly complete and effective technology stack, one that will help Penn National bolster their offerings in the future. It continues to be a learning situation for all involved in the relatively new US legal sports betting industry – theScore brings Penn National nearly 10 years of innovation in the space.

As Jay Snowden said, this deal gives Penn National “a path to full control of our own tech stack.’ He went on to say: “theScore has developed a state-of-the-art player account management system and is finalizing the development of an in-house managed risk and trading service platform. This should lead to significant savings in third party platform costs and allow us to broaden our product offerings – providing the missing piece for operating at what we expect to be industry-leading margins.”

theScore also, perhaps as importantly, gives Penn National a head-start into the yet-to-be-launched Canadian market.

The Value of Penn National for theScore

With all of their successes, theScore, with their proprietary technology and ability to provide a one-stop shop of sports betting content and wagering opportunities, has had a difficult time gaining a strong foothold into the US market. Penn National backing should help out with that.

Penn National essentially brings theScore on as part of a huge team that has had success in the US market. Having Penn and Barstool Sportsbook in their corner should assist theScore going forward as they try to carve out a bigger market share in the lucrative US scene.

Benjie Levy, President and Chief Operating Officer of theScore, commented, “The combination of theScore and Penn National creates a first-of-its-kind vertically integrated media and omni-channel gaming business, which brings together world-class technology, highly engaging sports content and unparalleled reach. With our accomplished team in place, this deal bolsters our ability to grow our already strong North American presence from our base in Canada and primes us even further to capitalize on the huge upcoming betting opportunity in our home country. Over time, we’ve built our loyal user base and relationship with fans by authentically delivering deeply personalized products. That is an approach that seamlessly fits with Penn’s current strategy and digital offerings and will provide for material long-term benefits as we collaborate to even more deeply integrate across our platforms.

“The transaction will provide theScore with immediate scale and resources, the benefits of which will enable employees to better execute on the combined companies’ business plan and deliver enhanced integrated product offerings to our customers,” continued Mr. Levy. “The transaction also provides theScore shareholders immediate liquidity at a substantial premium and an opportunity to participate in any future upside of the combined company.”

Win-Win

Both Penn National and theScore come out as winners in the latest legal sports betting merger. theScore gets to keep its name and gains the backing of one of the biggest and most respected providers in the US and Penn gains an innovator to add to its portfolio. There is, of course, theScore’s position to have an immediate impact in the Canadian market.

The Penn National/Score Media deal underscores just how fluid the North American legal sports betting industry has become. Every provider is trying to get a leg up on each other and is scrambling for any entity to give them a bigger part of the massive marker share.

The long line of win-win deals we have seen since the US Supreme Court overturned its blanket ban on legal sports betting keeps adding to its total. Expect more ground-breaking mergers to come.