MSG Networks Pick ‘Em will launch in March, featuring challenges tied to the Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Devils and Sabres games MSGN airs.
“We’ve been offering trivia and pick ’em games on our MSG GO streaming app since 2018 and have seen firsthand how interactive games can help increase viewer engagement,” MSG Networks SVP, digital products and distribution, Peter Tulloch said in a statement. “MSG Networks Pick ‘Em will further deepen our connection with viewers … while providing MSG Networks with new revenue opportunities.”
In particular, the app creates new possibilities for sponsorship deals, either with gaming operators hungry to reach gamblers in New Jersey, or in other categories. Previously, MSGN has offered betting-related content across its platforms.
MSGN brought in New York-based gaming developer Boom Sports as a partner on the project. Most notably, Boom is behind the NBC Sports Predictor app, which will be similar to MSGN’s offering.
“We are excited to be working with MSG Networks to create an app that will enrich the viewing experience, and also offer unique value in the form of user insights and a strategic digital asset,” Boom Sports VP of partnerships Greg Viverito said in a statement.
NBC and MSGN will be two of many in a space that has grown up alongside the legal wagering marketplace. Fox has pushed free-to-play prediction app Fox Bet Super 6 through its sports and news assets. Teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers have launched their own pick ’em contests via their proprietary apps. Meanwhile, venture-backed GreenPark recently unveiled its own spin on the guessing games.
MSGN’s announcement comes ahead of its discussion of second quarter financial results Thursday. During the previous quarter, MSGN suffered a 2% year-over-year decrease in revenues. Affiliate fees generated $7.2 million less while ad revenue increased $3.6 million.
MSG Networks is one of three related but separate companies controlled by the Dolan family. MSG Sports is the holding company for the sports teams, including minor league teams and an esports franchise. MSG Entertainment owns the arena, among other properties.
On Wednesday, MSG Sports announced its earnings for the period, which ended Dec. 31, 2020. MSG Sports saw a 90% decrease in revenues to $28.8 million due largely to changes in the NBA and NHL schedules. It posted a $19 million adjusted operating loss.