US chicken chain to spread its wings through sports betting move

US chicken chain to spread its wings through sports betting move

Monday, August 13, 2018 Posted by Luke Massey
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Buffalo Wild Wings wants to use sports betting to attract new customers

Buffalo Wild Wings is actively looking for a sports betting partner to drive a unique 21st century turnaround for its ailing restaurant business.

The chicken wing and sports bar chain, which operates in 50 states, has set about providing a one stop shop for beer, wings, sports and sports betting.

A company spokesperson told ESPN: "As the largest sports bar in America, we believe Buffalo Wild Wings is uniquely positioned to leverage sports gaming to enhance the restaurant experience for our guests. We are actively exploring opportunities, including potential partners, as we evaluate the next steps for our brand."

Buffalo Wild Wings has been open about its struggles in recent years, after a sales slump was exacerbated by higher prices for chicken wings.

The firm lost a proxy fight with activist Marcato Capital Management in June 2017, just a few months before agreeing to a $2.4 billion sale. The deal, which was finalised on 5 February this year, saw Roark Capital Group expand its stable of eateries that already included Arby’s and Cinnabon.

With a tumultuous 2017 now somewhat behind them, sports betting is seen as an innovative way for Buffalo Wild Wings to attract new customers, especially given the amount of live sport it offers.

CEO Paul Brown added: "I think that if you look back when Buffalo Wild Wings was really, really, really successful, it was really the only one out there doing what it was doing.

“We had a nationalized local sports bar, and then more competition has come in, and I think that some of that competition has been a little bit more innovative. I think there's an opportunity to figure out the 21st-century incarnation of what made it so successful during particularly the early 2000s."

Totally Gaming says: Much of the post PASPA talk has centred around the quickfire legalisation of sports betting in states such as New Jersey, Delaware and Mississippi, but it is widely expected that over 30 will be part of that list within the next five years. Bringing sports betting into the restaurant experience is an interesting step, but the opportunity is there if Buffalo can find the right partners.

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