SIS Purchases William Hill’s Newcastle and Sunderland Greyhound Stadiums
Sports Information Services Ltd. (SIS), the company that provides content and production services to the betting industry in the United Kingdom and Ireland, has entered into a deal with British bookmaker, William Hill Plc. The deal will see SIS take over two greyhound racing facilities from the betting giant. The company, which was founded in 1934, acquired the Sunderland Greyhound Stadium and Newcastle Greyhound Stadium in 2002 and 2003 respectively. Now about 15 years later, the properties are set to change hands one more time.
The deal demonstrates the commitment from SIS to provide a strong program of competitive racing for the future. It also reaffirms their position in the United Kingdom betting market. The aim of the deal is to continue to provide high quality greyhound racing. This is provided to the betting markets directly from the tracks, which are either owned by Sis or are under direct contracts with the company. SIS already specialises is supplying audio and video data from several racecourses to betting shops in the UK and Ireland. Their new goal will involve providing picture and data from the Sunderland and Newcastle Greyhound tracks and adding them to SIS’ existing portfolio of right from Monmore, Crayford, Hove and Romford.
Gary Smith, the CEO of Sports Information Services Ltd., expressed his excitement over the deal and said that the new acquisitions would be good for both the company and their customers.
He said, “The acquisition of Newcastle and Sunderland is very exciting for us and our customers and strengthens our position as a distributor of high quality pictures and data for greyhound racing.”
Commenting on the state of the facilities that were formerly owned by William Hill Plc., he further added, “Under William Hill’s ownership the facilities have been well maintained and the tracks have staged high quality competitive greyhound racing which has been popular with punters, both on and off track. SIS is committed to maintain and build upon the high standards that William Hill has set.”
Officials at William Hill were equally delighted by the deal that was reached with SIS. Their Retail Managing Director, Nicola Frampton, stated that the two Greyhound stadiums in question were some of the best maintained facilities in the country.
She said, “Newcastle and Sunderland greyhound stadia are among the best run in the industry and we would like to thank the teams at both tracks for all their hard work and success during William Hill’s period of ownership.”
She also added that she was delighted with the deal, as SIS was the perfect partner for taking over ownership of the stadia.
Frampton had the following to say in her statement, “In looking at options for the tracks the continuation of greyhound racing at the stadia and the safeguarding of employment were paramount. We are therefore pleased to have reached agreement with SIS, who is the right owner to take the business forward over the long term.”
One would expect changes to follow such a significant takeover, but SIS has ensured the greyhound racing fans that no significant changes will be made to the venues. The deal still has to clear some regulatory authority approvals before the properties can exchange hands. The stadia are expected to be run as a separate subsidiary of SIS provided the deal passes.
Sports Information Services (SIS)
Sports Information Services (SIS) is a privately owned company that provides news gathering services for the betting industry; mainly in the UK and Ireland. The company provides a plethora of provisions; they specialise in broadcast solutions and provide content and production services for the industry. The content and production services are extended to horse racing, greyhound racing and to betting shops in the United Kingdom and Ireland and other numerous worldwide destinations
SIS was formed in 1986 under the name, Satellite Information Service. They were the first to facilitate live broadcast from racetracks to betting shops. This allowed bookmakers the amenities to broadcast live racing data to their betting shops all around the country for the first very time. Before the arrival of video transmission, only live audio commentary was broadcast to licensed betting offices (LBOs) with what was known as the ‘whiteboard’ transcribing the shows and results in the LBOs. The video service was launched on the 5th of May 1987; Bristol was the first to have access to it. It was then subsequently rolled out to approximately 10,400 venues across UK and Ireland.
Many big betting companies have a stake in SIS. The company is 23 per cent owned by Ladbrokes Plc. Another 22.5 per cent is owned by Caledonia Investments Plc. Alternateport Ltd. owns a further 20.5 per cent, while William Hill Plc. has a 19.5 per cent stake in the company. Finally, a small fraction of 7.5 per cent belongs to Fred Done of Betfred Plc. and Tote has a 6 per cent stake through Leicester Racecourse Holdings Ltd. The Bibury Club Ltd., Stratford on Avon Racecourse Co. Ltd., Thirsk Racecourse Ltd., Catterick Racecourse Company Ltd. and Frontrelay Ltd. all contribute as minor shareholders to SIS.