888 links up with Sports Illustrated

888 links up with Sports Illustrated

Online gambling giant 888 Holdings has taken another significant step forward with its ambitious growth plans, following a deal to have exclusive rights with the flagship Sports Illustrated brand for online casino and sports betting.

 

Sports Illustrated, which is owned by the Authentic Brands Group, has signed a deal with 888 that will last up to 20 years and this also includes the right to be featured in any future brick-and-mortar business that 888 develop around the globe in the future.

 

The implications of this agreement mean that Sports Illustrated will have a 4.9 percent stake in 888 Holdings’ ever-growing US business and this could well increase to 19.9 percent in the coming years.

 

Over the last year, partnerships between gambling operators and media businesses have increased substantially and these are being seen as a benchmark for future success in the industry.

 

It has been particularly successful in the US for media companies, who have identified the gambling industry as one where they can take advantage of a potential $3.9 billion marketplace, with the US still very much in its infancy, following the approval of new legislation in a number of states.

 

During the first quarter of 2021 alone, 888 reported revenue figures of $272.5 million which represents a 66 percent increase on the year before. 

Other similar partnerships

This is certainly not the first deal of its kind between a gambling operator and a media company, with many other big names taking advantage of the potential that such collaborations can have. 

 

  • William Hill and US network CBS agreed to a deal in September 2020 for the integration of a diverse amount of content, plus data and statistics to aid and complement a fantasy football offering.

  • NBC and Points Bet committed to a five-year contract worth $500 million in August 2020, for the Australian sportsbook to be the exclusive supplier of betting tools for media giant NBC.

  • In January 2020, Barstool Sports sold a 36 percent stake in its company to Penn National Gaming for $163 million in a bid to increase its awareness, which subsequently valued the company at $450 million.

 

What does this mean for 888 Holdings?

Having always been right at the forefront of development and growth in the online gambling industry, 888 have never been keen to sit still and let their competitors grab the initiative. This latest move means that they are the only European gambling operator to seal a deal with a media business (William Hill is now exclusively US-based as a business). 

It means that they can steal a significant march on other companies who operate in their arena, not least those who are under the behemoth Entain (previously GVC Holdings), of which there are over 20 prominent brands.

 

There has been a substantial amount of pressure for UK-based gambling companies to find ways of increasing their revenue, due to recent changes in legislation to the UK market which could affect the balance sheet. It seems that 888 Holdings have seized the initiative by agreeing to a deal with a prominent US media company to increase their awareness and reach. 

 

Chief Executive of 888 Holdings, Itai Patzner has been particularly vocal about this latest move, indicating that it is a great leap forward from the company and will help them to form a relationship with the US market, via a local (US) brand that is trusted by US customers.

 

The deal ultimately will give 888 the chance to take its customer strategy tactically into the US market and help to create a platform for further success to complement its already thriving European offering.