Posted on: October 22, 2021, 12:47h.
Last updated on: October 22, 2021, 01:12h.
SportsMap Tech Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ:SMAPU), a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), raised $115 million in its initial public offering (IPO) as it prepares to hunt for merger partners.
Blank-check companies encountered some headwinds earlier this year. But the vehicle remains popular in the gaming arena. Operators are embracing SPACs as an avenue for quickly bringing to market iGaming and sports wagering businesses, unlocking value for investors in the process.
SportsMap is led by CEO David Gow, the founder and CEO of Gow Media, a multi-platform media company with a portfolio of platforms, including ESPN Radio Houston and the SportsMap Radio Network and digital content sites, among others. The company plans to leverage management’s experience and target opportunities in sports tech, with a focus on fan engagement, health and wellness, esports, and fantasy sports and gambling,” according to Renaissance Capital, an IPO research firm.
Gow Media is the largest privately held media company in Texas.
Betting Deals Make Sense for SportsMap
While SportsMap declared an intent to focus on possible merger partners in specific segments, including fantasy sports and wagering, blank-check companies aren’t bound by any obligation to find a merger partner in a particular sector or industry.
That said, a SportsMap/betting marriage makes sense, as the media company already features multiple sports wagering programs on its radio network. For example, “Pushing the Odds” is a dedicated wagering show, while the popular “Ferrall Coast to Coast” frequently delves into betting chatter, particularly during football season. “College Football Full Circle” — a podcast hosted by Mike Carver and Joe Lisi — focuses on NCAA football wagering.
Houston-based SportsMap also operates the SportsMapBets web site, which includes betting education content, simulations, analysis, and fantasy sports insight.
Enthusiasm for Sports Betting/Media Deals
SportsMap Tech Acquisition, like any other SPAC, has two years to execute a transaction or risk liquidation. Should the blank-check firm opt for a media deal, it could be met with enthusiasm by investors.
Earlier this year, Macquarie Research forecast more than $30 billion worth of iGaming and sports wagering revenue by 2030 attributable to accords with media companies. The research firm estimates a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33 percent over the coming years for online casino and sportsbook operators by way of agreements with media companies.
Gaming companies are responding accordingly. For example, DraftKings acquired Vegas Sports Information Network (VSiN) and signed a $50 million deal with Meadowlark Media, the owner of Dan Le Batard’s network of shows. Earlier this week, Penn National Gaming completed its $2 billion cash and equity purchase of Score Media and Gaming.