Nexstar Media said it has made a deal with SportsGrid Inc., to launch SportsGrid Network, a digital broadcast channel devoted to sports wagering and fantasy sports.
SportsGrid Network will debut Sept. 1. Nexstar will distribute it in nine of its markets where it has digital subchannels: San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Tampa, Portland, Nashville, Norfolk, Grand Rapids, Knoxville and Des Moines. More markets might be added in the future.
National networks and local TV outlets have been adding gambling content as sports wagering becomes legal in more states. Gambling has also become a fast-growing advertising category for local broadcasters and regional sports networks.
Nexstar said the network is the first devoted to sports gambling.
"Our nation is sports obsessed and we are delighted to deliver SportsGrid’s programming to address the rapidly growing interest in sports betting and fantasy sports," said Sean Compton, president of Nexstar Media’s networks division. "Distributing SportsGrid's programming across digital subchannels in nine of our markets will enable us to connect with new audiences and continue expanding a new and fast growing revenue stream. As the nation's #1 provider of content to fans of sports wagering and fantasy sports, SportsGrid is the perfect partner for this effort.”
Nexstar, one of the biggest broadcast groups with 199 TV stations, has been beefing up its digital assets. Last week, it bought The Hill, the political news platform, for $130 million. Last year Nexstar bought BestReviews, a digital product review site. On Sept. 1, Nexstar will also be launching Rewind TV, a digital over-the-air network focused on classic sitcoms.
The company said it will continue to make strategic, accretive digital investments to scale its digital offerings.
At launch, SportsGrid Network will air 18 hours of exclusive live programming designed to provide real time sports news, data analytics and statistics to viewers interested in wagering lines, point spreads and injury reports.
The shows will be hosted by a team of on-air personalities, sports and gambling experts and guest contributors.
SportsGrid is a 24-hour sports wagering and fantasy sports program service with content on broadcast and cable TV, connected smart TVs, streaming platforms and the internet.
SportsGrid's live programming originates from state-of-the-art television production facilities adjacent to Madison Square Garden in New York City and at the SG studios and production hub in New Jersey.
"Nexstar's national reach across 199 owned or operated television stations in 116 markets throughout the U.S. is a great platform for distributing our content to fantasy sports fans and gamblers everywhere," said Louis Malone, founder and president of SportsGrid.
"This initial nine-station launch of SportsGrid content will inform and entertain millions of sports fans across all screens and devices and provide them with expert reporting, commentary and analysis using our exclusive proprietary SportsGrid analytics platform," Malone said. "Finally, this agreement provides both companies the opportunity to share content and to strategically expand the network to additional Nexstar markets."
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting + Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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