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The live sports space has been a key story in the process of the pandemic. Now, with multiple vaccine candidates moving toward emergency use authorization, that reality is heightened. Normality is nearing a return.

In the past three weeks, we have seen COVID-19 vaccine candidates from Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna, and Oxford/AstraZeneca all report strong data and promising safety/efficacy profiles, which shapes the market’s view and discounting mechanism powerfully. Now, we are seeing new announcements from both Russia and China ringing the same bell.

The reopening trade is on in a big way right now, and investors will likely be searching to mop up every available opportunity to take advantage of the shift.

With that in mind, we take a look here at some of the most interesting and active names in the space, including: Churchill Downs Inc. ($CHDN), World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. ($WWE), B2Digital Inc. (OTC US:BTDG), and Madison Square Garden Sports Corp ($MSGS).

 

Churchill Downs Inc. ($CHDN) bills itself as an industry-leading racing, online wagering, and gaming entertainment company anchored by our iconic flagship event – The Kentucky Derby. The company owns and operates Derby City Gaming, a historical racing machine facility in Louisville, Kentucky.

It also owns and operates the largest online horse racing wagering platform in the U.S., TwinSpires.com, and sports betting and iGaming through its BetAmerica platform in multiple states. CHDN is also a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming with approximately 11,000 slot machines and video lottery terminals and 200 table games in eight states.

Churchill Downs Inc. ($CHDN) most recently announced that, after 11 years at the helm of the world’s most legendary racetrack, T. Kevin Flanery has decided to retire as President of Churchill Downs Racetrack at the end of 2020.

According to the company’s release, Flanery’s 15-year tenure at CDI began in December 2005 as vice president of national public affairs. He was named senior vice president of national public affairs and communications in March 2008 before being named the 13th President of Churchill Downs Racetrack and a Senior Vice President of CDI in July 2009. As President of Churchill Downs Racetrack, Flanery led a number of significant capital investments that greatly improved the live racing experience including permanent track lighting and the Big Board. He also spearheaded major expansion projects including the Paddock Plaza, The Mansion, the Starting Gate Suites and Rooftop Lounge, the Colonnade, the new Infield Gate and, most recently in 2020, the completion of the equine medical center and Matt Winn’s Steakhouse.

Even in light of this news, CHDN hasn’t really done much of anything over the past week, with shares logging no net movement over that period. Shares of the stock have powered higher over the past month, rallying roughly 13% in that time on strong overall action.

Churchill Downs, Inc. ($CHDN) managed to rope in revenues totaling $337.8M in overall sales during the company’s most recently reported quarterly financial data — a figure that represents a rate of top line growth of 10.3%, as compared to year-ago data in comparable terms. In addition, the company has a strong balance sheet, with cash levels far exceeding current liabilities ($679.6M against $471M).

 

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. ($WWE) is an integrated media and entertainment outfit that engages in the sports entertainment business in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific, and Latin America. It operates through three segments: Media, Live Events, and Consumer Products.

The Media segment engages in the production and monetization of long-form and short-form media content across various platforms, including WWE Network, pay television, and digital and social media, as well as filmed entertainment. The Live Events segment is involved in the sale of tickets, including primary and secondary distribution; provision of event services; and sale of travel packages related to its live events.

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. ($WWE) recently announced a partnership with Credit One Bank that will include a themed credit card featuring must-have benefits tailored for ultimate WWE fans.

“Credit One Bank is now a proud partner of WWE, a leader in global sports entertainment, which will allow us to leverage WWE’s broad media platform through integrated content that will be sure to amaze and delight fans. This relationship will help us reach new consumers, extend our leading product and service offerings to our millions of card members, and ultimately give people more of what they love—something that aligns well with WWE’s approach to developing family-friendly entertainment accessible to fans across multiple platforms,” said John Coombe, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Credit One Bank.

It will be interesting to see if the stock can break out of its recent sideways action. Over the past week, the stock is net flat, and looking for something new to spark things.

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. ($WWE) pulled in sales of $221.6M in its last reported quarterly financials, representing top line growth of 18.9%. In addition, the company has a strong balance sheet, with cash levels far exceeding current liabilities ($638.3M against $557.4M).

 

B2Digital Inc. (OTC US: BTDG) styles itself as the farm league for the global mixed martial arts space. The company operates live events, pay-per-view media, gyms, and other resources to maximize the development of future stars in the MMA sport.

BTDG has been showing off a strong run of late, with a series of innovations and very successful live events, suggesting this more speculative name may have more potential for upside than others named here.

B2Digital Inc. (OTC US: BTDG) recently announced the live launch of the new B2 Fighting Series App for Over-The-Top (“OTT”) distribution on Apple TV.

According to an Ampere Analysis study from earlier this year, the Apple TV Plus service has grown to an audience of over 33 million viewers in the U.S. Management notes that the Company has now added access to a total audience of over 70 million new potential OTT viewers for its Live and Archived MMA events this month. Analysts calculate the OTT live sports market to be worth an estimated $6.8 billion annually.

Greg P. Bell, Chairman & CEO of B2Digital, commented, “Earlier this month, we added access to 40 million new potential viewers by integrating B2 MMA into Amazon Fire TV. We have nearly doubled that OTT reach this week by adding access to the Apple TV audience. At the same time, we have a series of top Live pay-per-view MMA events ready to roll out over coming weeks, and we have an improved model for marketing and delivering that content that allows us to capitalize on the pent-up demand factor in place right now for live sports entertainment.”

B2Digital Inc. (OTC US: BTDG) pulled in sales strong sales in its last reported quarterly financials, with top line growth of 155%. In addition, the company holds strong cash on hand in liquid cash assets, which will now be powerfully augmented by its recent agreement with Triton, granting BTDG even more resources with which to position itself in a dominant tier in one of the fastest growing segments of the live sports space (MMA) over the past few years and into the future.

 

Madison Square Garden Sports Corp ($MSGS) is a professional sports company with a collection of assets that includes the New York Knicks (NBA) and the New York Rangers (NHL); two development league teams, including the Westchester Knicks (NBAGL) and the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL); and esports teams.

The company also owns two professional sports team performance centers, including the MSG training center in Greenburgh, New York and the CLG performance center in Los Angeles, California. Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. was formerly known as The Madison Square Garden Company.

Madison Square Garden Sports Corp ($MSGS) recently announced that David Hopkinson – an accomplished executive with more than 25 years of diverse sports industry experience – has been named Executive Vice President MSG Sports, President Team Business Operations.

According to the release, in his role, Mr. Hopkinson will lead the commercial strategy for MSG Sports’ portfolio of assets, which includes: the New York Knicks (NBA) and New York Rangers (NHL); two development league teams – the Westchester Knicks (NBAGL) and Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL); and esports teams through Counter Logic Gaming, a North American esports organization, and Knicks Gaming, an NBA 2K League franchise.

It will be interesting to see if the stock can break out of its recent sideways action. Over the past week, the stock is net flat, and looking for something new to spark things.

Madison Square Garden Sports Corp ($MSGS) pulled in sales of $57M in its last reported quarterly financials, representing top line growth of -73.4%. In addition, the company is battling some balance sheet hurdles, with cash levels struggling to keep up with current liabilities ($26.2M against $312.4M, respectively).

 

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