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Jordan Levin: A new era for OpenBet

| By Marese O'Hagan | Reading Time: 3 minutes
Last month, Endeavor announced that it would integrate its sports betting brand with its data business, resulting in an unprecedented integration between OpenBet and IMG Arena. For Jordan Levin, CEO of OpenBet, this was simply a natural evolution.
OpenBet IMG Arena

The integration between OpenBet and IMG Arena means both businesses now exist under the OpenBet banner. The deal had been in the works for around 18 months before it came to the fore on 1 February, presenting a new competitor in the world of sports betting.

But none of this would have happened without Light & Wonder’s sale of OpenBet to Endeavor for $800m (£623.6m/€731.8m) in September 2022. This saw Endeavor pay $750m cash and 2.3 million in Class A shares worth $50m for OpenBet – $400m under the initial asking price, thanks to Light & Wonder slashing the price by a third.

Let’s fast forward to 2024, just over one month since the integration was announced. Levin reveals that while OpenBet and IMG Arena’s integration is clearly the result of painstaking detail and preparation, it also represents a natural conclusion.

“OpenBet was acquired a year and a half ago, so we’re really doing what’s natural and was always intended, which was to pull together these two businesses.”

Part of this comes down to the common-sense aspects of the arrangement, such as the business’ placements in the market. “We serve the same end market, which is betting, gaming and operators,” Levin explains.

“So it’s really just being able to develop and evolve to a single proposition and a very simple, straightforward thesis to our customers. We find great value in speaking to the market with one brand and offer product innovation too.”

“The next level”

On the subject of product innovation, OpenBet and IMG Arena look to have a real edge in the market – and it all comes down to their tried-and-tested, symbiotic relationship.

“Our trading system, which is our aggregation platform that takes all the feeds and marketplaces that we create ourselves in partnership with IMG Arena on the OpenBet side, allows us to develop and produce those to market in a seamless fashion.”

Perhaps most importantly, in an ever-competitive market, Levin firmly believes this integrated business will come out on top.

“Really when you look at OpenBet and IMG Arena together, it’s the most complete end-to-end solution that serves the betting market.” This covers anything the betting market could possibly want – live and interactive streaming, betting technology, data events and more.

But how exactly will this happen? For Levin, OpenBet and IMG Arena’s prior long-standing relationship gives this deal a boost. And IMG Arena’s standing in the eyes of leagues and federations, coupled with OpenBet’s betting and safer gambling capabilities, provides a valuable offering for the market.

After all, Endeavor’s purchase of OpenBet came down to having a value-added proposition for what IMG Arena and Endeavour were already doing. Levin poses that the addition of OpenBet had the aim of taking this to “the next level” by capturing the ever-changing, thriving world of betting and gaming.

“Which is again complementary to Endeavor’s overall ethos around media, sports and entertainment.”

Making space in a crowded market

To truly stand out in serving the betting market, it’s tempting to try and re-invent the wheel. Levin rejects this, believing that what OpenBet-IMG Arena offers stands on its own two feet.

“We’ll keep doing what we’re doing already,” he affirms, “and be able to offer value-adding products and solutions to leagues and federations.” But that’s not to say the potential or capability for new products isn’t there.

“I believe there’s more that we can then offer to leagues and federations on the betting side, through some of the betting innovation technology that we can produce, so that we can be viewed as a very attractive option when leagues or federations are making decisions about who their partners should be.”

While Levin admits competition is rife on both sides of the combined business, he says there isn’t much to go up against in terms of end-to-end combined solutions.

“There are competitors individually on the betting technology side of the business and there’s competitors individually on the streaming and data rights side of the business as well,” he continues. “But there’s not really competition when you think about end-to-end on a combined basis.”

In the end, it comes down to having a package that ultimately gives the market what it needs. And, crucially, this correlates with OpenBet’s core beliefs.

“It goes with the overall OpenBet ethos of being open and being able to offer a well-packaged complete solution that is also modular so that we can flexibly serve the marketplace when it makes sense.”

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