The growing relationship between legal sports betting and US professional sports leagues just took an interesting step forward.
While US industry heavyweights FanDuel and DraftKings have already created strong business relationships with major pro leagues such as the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB, these are classified as strategic partnerships.
Bally’s Corp just raised the ante by actually buying the Association of Volleyball Professionals. This US pro sports league is better known as AVP.
This is not to compare the NFL to the AVP given the disproportioned size of each organization. However, the idea of a gaming company buying the top US beach volleyball tour is a bold move in a new direction.
Bally’s intends to broadcast AVP content through the Bally’s Regional Sports Network. This is an earlier partnership that was formed between the company and Sinclair Broadcast Group.
In a company press release on the deal, it was described as:
“A significant opportunity for the company to gamify and incorporate interactive content into beach volleyball, which, in turn, will drive traffic to Bally’s platforms and promote customer acquisition.”
Donald Sun was the previous owner of AVP. As part of the deal, he will stay on to help with the transition. He expects Bally’s role as the new owner to help “grow the sport” while expanding its fan base as well. He also believes that Bally’s will “better elevate the game and its athletes.”
The league was first formed in 1983. The AVP grew to become the premier beach volleyball tour in the country.
Financial issues forced the league into bankruptcy in 2010. After emerging from those proceedings, Sun bought the tour in 2012 in order to capitalize on the sport’s appeal as an Olympic sport.
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After remaining idle in 2020, there are three events on this year’s schedule with the possibility of adding a fourth one at a later date. Play is expected to begin a week after the Summer Olympic Games in Japan.
As senior vice president of Bally’s, Adi Dhandhania had this to say about the acquisition:
“The AVP is an attractive asset that complements our rapidly expanding US sports betting vision. Donald and the entire AVP team have done a tremendous job developing the league and transforming it into what it is today.”
While Bally’s maybe stepping outside the box a bit with this latest move, it is consistent with the company’s long-term vision. The Rhode Island-based company is looking to compete across a number of gaming verticals.
Along with a chain of land-based casinos, the company’s interactive division is committed to expanding Bally Bet as its mobile sportsbook app. Trading as BALY on the New York Stock Exchange, it continues to take an aggressive stance on strategic acquisitions.
Along with expanding its land-based casino group, the addition of Bet.Works as a sports betting platform boosted its online gaming presence. The addition of Monkey Knife Fight gave Bally’s an immediate presence in the DFS (daily fantasy sports) industry.
The most recent deal to buy AVP includes all the league’s trademarks, promoter agreements, and membership revenue along with all its tangible assets.