An attempt to generate excitement
Wynn Resorts announced on Thursday that it has invested $3.5m in the sports podcasting network Blue Wire with an eye on promoting WynnBET. This relationship will include the construction of a podcasting studio in the lobby of the Wynn Las Vegas.
Podcast personalities from the Blue Wire network will use the studio, speaking with sports stars and other celebrities in an attempt to bring people to the resort and hopefully get them to place bets through WynnBET.
Wynn Resorts president Craig Billings explained that the studio will be up and running during major sporting events like March Madness and the start of the NFL season in an attempt to drum up excitement and attract bettors. The studio is expected to be ready for its official grand opening in summer 2021.
expected to be ready for its official grand opening in summer 2021
With this three-year agreement, Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones said that the company will be hiring people on both the talent side of the new Las Vegas project as well as operations. In return for the investment, Wynn will receive equity in Blue Wire and get ad time during podcasts. Neither party revealed any details about a new WynnBET branded show, except that it will feature compelling and entertaining storytelling.
Media companies in sports betting
Blue Wire currently has over 140 shows as part of its network, focusing predominantly on sports. It also has relationships with different professional teams, such as the Baltimore Ravens. Some of the athletes featured on the network include MLB player Ian Happ and the recently retired NFL tight end Greg Olsen. During a round of series A funding in December, the company raised $5m, not including the Wynn Resorts investment.
Other operators in the US sports betting space have come to similar agreements with media companies. BetMGM partnered with The Athletic in January. The latter focuses on sports podcasts and articles, with a BetMGM betting hub now a fixture on The Athletic website. The sports betting operator also has a deal in place with Yahoo! Sports.
Some heavy hitters in the sports world are also eyeing the burgeoning market. A new ESPN studio opened at The Linq Hotel in Las Vegas last August in partnership with Caesars Entertainment. It is the new hub for recording ESPN’s sports betting content. PointsBet gave up a 4.9% stake in order to sign a five-year media deal with NBCUniversal last August. This agreement sees PointsBet get exclusive integration across the vast array of NBCUniversal assets, including NBC Sports.
WynnBET playing catch-up
WynnBET is a bit behind other major players in the sports betting space. The first WynnBET platform in the US only went live last summer in New Jersey. Since then, it has signed a flurry of market access deals in numerous states.
Currently, it only has online sportsbooks live in Michigan, New Jersey, and Colorado. In November, Wynn Resorts invested $80m into Wynn Interactive in order to accelerate its expansion in the sports betting space.
During a recent quarterly earnings call, Wynn CEO Matt Maddox expressed the company’s belief that Wynn Interactive will “be in a very good position by the back half of this year.”
Last week, WynnBET entered a multi-state data partnership deal with Genius Sports Group. This deal will help bolster the live betting part of WynnBET’s offerings.