Endeavor has announced that it will integrate its sports betting brand OpenBet with its data business IMG Arena under the OpenBet banner, creating a complete sports betting ecosystem for operators.
Global sports and entertainment company Endeavor announced the move on Thursday. Endeavor aims to leverage OpenBet’s betting technology expertise with IMG Arena’s data.
IMG Arena will operate under the OpenBet banner and offer its data to operators, media companies and other rights holders.
OpenBet CEO Jordan Levin will lead the company and report to Endeavour’s President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Shapiro. Freddie Longe, former president of IMG Arena, will remain with the company as a strategic advisor during the transition period.
In the announcement, Shapiro stated that this move has been in the works for some time following Endeavor’s acquisition of OpenBet. The September 2022 deal was worth $800m (£633.4m/€740.3m).
“When we acquired OpenBet in 2022, we envisioned a holistic integration with IMG Arena that would create a leader in the global betting, sports data and technology industries,” Shapiro explained. “Today is the culmination of that ambition.
“By leveraging Endeavor’s complementary sports and entertainment capabilities, we will unlock significant value for the sports rights and intellectual property of our owned and operated properties and, most importantly, for our partners.”
Levin added: “We are uniquely positioned as a leading end-to-end sports data, technology and content ecosystem for betting operators, rights holders and media. Putting our customers and their players at the heart of our product and technology innovations remains key to our continued success.”
Endeavor’s growing interest in sports betting
The deal to acquire OpenBet from Light & Wonder in 2022 was another step in Endeavor’s push to expand its presence in the sports betting space, which has shown early promising signs.
Endeavor’s sports data and technology division generated revenue of $124.8 million in the third quarter of 2023, up 167.2% compared to the third quarter of 2022. Endeavor attributed this to the acquisition of OpenBet as well as growth at IMG arena back. The division’s adjusted EBITDA was $24 million in the third quarter, increasing an incredible 476.5% year-over-year.
OpenBet’s customers include DraftKings, FanDuel, SkyBet, Ladbrokes and William Hill. IMG Arena now works with more than 470 leading sports betting brands, leagues and associations worldwide.
The integration comes after takeover rumors
In October, Endeavor Group announced a strategic review that could have resulted in the company and its $10 billion portfolio being taken private. The company said it had initiated a review to evaluate strategic alternatives.
In addition to OpenBet and IMG Arena, Endeavor also owns entertainment agencies WME and IMG. It also includes the sports brands World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
In response to Endeavor’s announcement, $98 billion private equity firm Silver Lake said it was working on plans to acquire the group. Silver Lake owns 71% of the voting rights, with co-managing director Egon Durban and managing director Stephen Evans both serving on the board committee. However, no offer has been reported yet.