Virginia beat Texas Tech to win the NCAA basketball championship Monday. Fans have unprecedented access to online sportsbooks, and dealmakers are getting in on the M&A action. This year, March Madness offers fans unprecedented access to online betting, thanks to a May 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. More Americans are expected to place bets on the college basketball tournament than the Super Bowl, with the American Gaming Association's predicting that about $8.5 billion in wagers will be placed on the tournament. Online betting and data companies, including sportsbooks from DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars, are drawing basketball fans and interest from investors. M&A is rampant throughout the sector. Here's a look at recent online gaming and sports data deals.
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Action Network goes to the big leagues
Sports gambling data provider Action Network has received funding from a group that includes private equity firm Feritta Capital, which is led by former Ultimate Fighting owners brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta; Blackstone Group’s (NYSE: BX) David Blitzer, co-owner of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL's New Jersey Devils; and the owners of the MLB's Chicago Cubs.
Apax plays the numbers
Apax Partners bought sports data company Genius Sports Group from Three Hills Capital Partners. Genius Sports buys the rights to collect, package and distribute official game and player data. The company has agreements with a number of sports leagues including the NCAA. “We have been attracted to the sports data market for some time, having seen live data and technology as key drivers of growth," says Apax Partners partner Gabriele Cipparrone.
Boyd Gaming and FanDuel team up
Casino operator Boyd Gaming Corp. (NYSE: BYD) and fantasy sports company FanDuel Group formed a strategic partnership in which the two companies will leverage each other's brands and technology to pursue online gaming across the U.S. The two recently opened a FanDuel Sportsbook at the Valley Forge Casino Resort in Pennsylvania.
CPPIB bets on basketball
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), through its subsidiary, CPP Investment Board Europe S.à r.l., and Silicon Valley-based growth equity firm TCV together are acquiring a minority stake in sports data provider Sportradar from private equity firm EQT and minority shareholders. Sportradar recently signed a partnership with the NBA to provide data from the league to bookmakers and betting firms.
Scientific Games gets in on the action
Scientific Games Corp. (Nasdaq: SGMS) bought sports betting data provider Don Best Sports Corp. The deal comes on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning a 1992 federal law that barred most states from authorizing sports betting. “As sports betting rapidly gains popularity in the U.S., we’re ready to help our customers capitalize on the new U.S. market while solidifying our long-held leading global position,” says Scientific Games CEO Barry Cottle.