BEASLEY BROADCAST GROUP SIGNIFICANTLY EXPANDS ESPORTS PLATFORM WITH ACQUISITION OF OVERWATCH LEAGUE’S HOUSTON OUTLAWS
NAPLES, FLORIDA and HOUSTON, TEXAS (November 14, 2019) – Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: BBGI) (“Beasley” or the “Company”), a multi-platform media company providing advertising and digital marketing solutions across the United States through its radio broadcast and digital operations, announced today that it acquired the Overwatch League’s Houston Outlaws esports team from an affiliate of Immortals, LLC (d/b/a Immortals Gaming Club).
The Overwatch League is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams across Asia, Europe, and North America. Overwatch was created by globally acclaimed publisher Blizzard Entertainment (a division of Activision Blizzard—NASDAQ: ATVI), whose iconic franchises have helped lay the foundations and push the boundaries of professional esports over the last 15 years. Overwatch was built from the ground up for online competition, with memorable characters and fast-paced action designed for the most engaging gameplay and spectator experiences. The Overwatch League will begin its third season in February of 2020, with each of the league’s teams hosting matches in their home markets. The Outlaws will remain officially based in Houston, Texas and will continue to represent the Houston, Austin, and San Antonio markets.
Beasley’s acquisition of the Houston Outlaws again expands its role in the fast-growing esports space and reflects the Company’s focus on premium esports programming and content. Beasley’s other investments in esports include Team Renegades (investment in April 2019), an esports organization consisting of five teams, based in Detroit, Michigan and CheckpointXP (acquired Fall of 2018), a weekly syndicated esports lifestyle show. CheckpointXP programming is currently featured on approximately 70 radio stations across the United States on the Sun Broadcast Network; on daily podcasts on Amazon’s video game streaming platform, Twitch; and, on CheckpointXP On Campus, the first collegiate-based esports show in the US.
Commenting on the transaction, Caroline Beasley, Chief Executive Officer, said, “The acquisition of the Houston Outlaws significantly expands our growing esports platform. The Houston Outlaws represent a rare investment opportunity, as there are only 20 Overwatch League teams in the world, and the transaction partners Beasley with Blizzard Entertainment and its parent company, Activision Blizzard, a leading global developer and publisher of interactive entertainment content and services.
“Beasley is very excited to expand its operations to Houston, which is home to one of the largest esports fan bases in the US. Our growing esports infrastructure and management combined with our experience with team Renegades, success in hosting and promoting large events and our national esports content hub—BeasleyXP—are key factors in our expectations for long-term returns from this investment. We look forward to initial contributions from this exciting development when the league’s third season begins in February.
“The acquisition of the Houston Outlaws furthers our revenue and cash flow diversification strategies. We believe the power of our media footprint, including 65 highly-rated radio stations in large- and mid-sized markets, combined with our 24/7 coverage of esports news, will allow us to build the value of the Outlaws franchise through a range of revenue sources, including ticket sales, advertising, sponsorship, licensing, e-commerce, and other partnerships.”
“The Houston Outlaws have a fantastic new ownership team and we’re excited to welcome the Beasley Media Group to the Overwatch League,” said Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports and Overwatch League commissioner. “We look forward to working with them and ensuring a smooth transition for the team, the players, and the fans. Outlaws fans are incredibly passionate and 2020 is going to be an exciting year for the entire league.”
Caroline Beasley concluded, “This opportunity is another meaningful step forward as we expand Beasley’s involvement in esports, one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment in the US and the world. We look forward to realizing the strategic benefits of the Houston Outlaws transaction in 2020 as we continue to advance BeasleyXP’s esports initiatives focused on leveraging our premium content and brands across all platforms. We believe this approach will enable us to deliver great local, national, and global content, while creating an even stronger marketing platform for advertisers and enhancing shareholder value.”
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
About Beasley Broadcast Group
Celebrating its 58th anniversary this year, Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc., (www.bbgi.com) was founded in 1961 by George G. Beasley who remains the Company’s Chairman of the Board. Beasley Broadcast Group owns and operates 65 stations (47 FM and 18 AM) in 15 large- and mid-size markets in the United States. Approximately 19 million consumers listen to Beasley radio stations weekly over-the-air, online and on smartphones and tablets, and millions regularly engage with the Company’s brands and personalities through digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, text, apps and email. For more information, please visit www.bbgi.com.
Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Statements in this release that are “forward-looking statements” are based upon current expectations and assumptions, and involve certain risks and uncertainties within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words or expressions such as “looking ahead,” “look forward,” “intends,” “believe,” “hope,” “plan,” “expects,” “expected,” “anticipates” or variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements by their nature address matters that are, to different degrees, uncertain, such as statements about expected income; shareholder value; revenues; and growth. Key risks are described in our reports filed with the SEC including in our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Readers should note that forward-looking statements are subject to change and to inherent risks and uncertainties and may be impacted by several factors, including:
- external economic forces that could have a material adverse impact on our advertising revenues and results of operations;
- the ability of our radio stations to compete effectively in their respective markets for advertising revenues;
- our ability to develop compelling and differentiated digital content, products and services;
- audience acceptance of our content, particularly our radio programs;
- our ability to respond to changes in technology, standards and services that affect the radio industry;
- our dependence on federally issued licenses subject to extensive federal regulation;
- actions by the FCC or new legislation affecting the radio industry;
- our dependence on selected market clusters of radio stations for a material portion of our net revenue;
- credit risk on our accounts receivable;
- the risk that our FCC licenses and/or goodwill could become impaired;
- our substantial debt levels and the potential effect of restrictive debt covenants on our operational flexibility and ability to pay dividends;
- the failure or destruction of the internet, satellite systems and transmitter facilities that we depend upon to distribute our programming;
- disruptions or security breaches of our information technology infrastructure;
- the loss of key personnel;
- the fact that we are controlled by the Beasley family, which creates difficulties for any attempt to gain control of us;
- our ability to integrate acquired businesses and achieve fully the strategic and financial objectives related thereto and their impact on our financial condition and results of operations; and
- other economic, business, competitive, and regulatory factors affecting our business, including those set forth in our filings with the SEC.
Our actual performance and results could differ materially because of these factors and other factors discussed in our SEC filings, including but not limited to our annual reports on Form 10-K or quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, copies of which can be obtained from the SEC, www.sec.gov, or our website, www.bbgi.com. All information in this release is as of November 14, 2019, and we undertake no obligation to update the information contained herein to actual results or changes to our expectations.