Nexstar Media and SportsGrid Inc. have announced plans to launch what the companies are describing as the first 24-hour digital broadcast channel dedicated to sports wagering and fantasy sports.
Starting Sept. 1, Nexstar will distribute the SportsGrid Network in nine markets in which it has digital subchannels: San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Tampa, Portland, Nashville, Norfolk, Grand Rapids, Knoxville and Des Moines.
According to Nielsen, advertising spend on online gambling jumped to $154 million in this year’s first quarter, from just $10.7 million in Q1 2020, driven by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision striking down the federal law prohibiting states from legalizing sports gambling.
SportsGrid offers around-the-clock sports wagering and fantasy sports programming through broadcast and cable TV, connected smart TVs, streaming platforms and the internet. Its live programming originates from state-of-the-art television production facilities adjacent to New York City's Madison Square Garden and at the SG Studios & Production Hub in New Jersey.
"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,” stated Sean Compton, president of Nexstar Media’s networks division. “As the nation's #1 provider of content to fans of sports wagering and fantasy sports, SportsGrid is the perfect partner for this effort.”
The companies said they plan to expand the SportsGrid Network to more Nexstar markets.
Nexstar, which has 199 television stations, has been making strategic investments in digital assets. In addition to acquiring digital product review site BestReviews in 2020, Nexstar last week announced a deal to acquire political news site The Hill for $130 million. Next month, it plans to launch a digital broadcast network dedicated to airing 80’s and 90’s sitcoms, called Rewind TV.