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Bally’s Chair: RSNs Could Shift to Streaming Model

  • Bally's chair Soo Kim told Front Office Sports how he views the future of regional sports networks and the sport-watching experience.
  • He sees sports moving toward an interactive, single-screen experience.
Bally Sports/Design: Alex Brooks

While regional sports networks face an uncertain future due to cord-cutting, Bally’s chair Soo Kim told Front Office Sports he sees ample present and future value in them.

Bally’s bought the naming rights to 21 regional sports networks owned by Sinclair in November 2020 in a 10-year, $85 million deal.

Sinclair is seeking to bundle those RSNs into a streaming service, which it told potential investors could attract 4.4 million subscribers and bring in $2 billion annually.

  • This would be an attractive proposition for Bally’s because it would allow the company to integrate watching and gaming into a single screen.
  • “You can create a very different kind of experience of how sports are consumed,” Kim said. “It could potentially be a lot more interactive, a lot more engaging, and we think that’s where the future of sports is going to go.”
  • In the meantime, the RSNs provide brand exposure for Bally’s. “Last year, there were something like 4 billion impressions of the words ‘Bally Sports,’” he added.

Drawing from the more mature European market, Kim foresees in-game betting — “about 70% of the action in Europe” — as a major source of growth in U.S. sports betting.

However, part of the value in bringing sports bettors to Bally’s is converting them to iGaming.

“Sports gaming itself is not actually the best gambling product for the house” said Kim. “There’s variable margins, informational advantages, and liquidity is hard to match sometimes. iGaming is a much better business.”