Published: August 25, 2022

FanDuel becomes first sports gambling company to launch own broadcast network

FanDuel (PDYPF) is launching a first-of-its-kind nationally distributed television network, FanDuel TV, the company announced on Thursday.

FanDuel TV will include a linear cable television network and a new OTT Platform called “FanDuel+,” which will be free to download for FanDuel users.

The network will be flanked by popular sports media personalities including former NFL Network star Kay Adams, Pat McAfee, and Bill Simmons.

"I feel like we're the first and only network that is designed from the ground up to be watched at all times with a phone in your hand," FanDuel Chief Content Officer Mike Raffensperger told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). "There will be something to bet on, content to engage with, social media communities that you can be a part of."

The new network will be “broadly distributed” on linear television through relationships with Comcast Xfinity (CMCSA), Spectrum (CHTR), Verizon FIOS (VZ), DirecTV, and others while the streaming platform will be featured on staples such as YouTube TV (GOOG), Hulu (DIS), AppleTV (AAPL), Roku (ROKU), and Amazon (AMZN).

Other highlights of FanDuel TV include a daily 11 a.m. ET show hosted by Adams, more than 3,000 hours of live sports including international basketball games, horse racing analysis, and further content from McAfee and Simmons that will be announced later.

The program schedule will line FanDuel against some of sports medias largest shows such as ESPN's First Take with Stephen A. Smith. But Raffensperger didn't take to the notion that ESPN is a direct competitor.

"Obviously I have a ton of respect for ESPN and other sports networks, which are great marketing partners and content partners of ours, so I think there's a big ecosystem and a big appetite for this kind of content," Raffensperger said. "I think what FanDuel is doing is unique in the space. No one has that second screen experience, that phone experience, whether that's gaming content or something else, that is really designed hand-in-glove to go with the network."

'The acquisition engine is getting stronger for us'

Competitors in the space, including DraftKings (DKNG) and Penn Entertainment (PENN), have invested heavily on the content side but have yet to reach the scale of an entire network.

Last week, Penn announced it expects to complete its purchase of Barstool Sports in February 2023.

For gambling companies, original content is another way to draw users to the betting platform. The strategy centers around consumers attaching to media personalities like Simmons or McAfee and following their gambling plays or promotions on the FanDuel Sportsbook.

FanDuel views this network as more than that, though, as it hopes to generate meaningful revenue from the additions to its already existing media arm, further diversifying the business from a strict gambling operation. Raffensperger cited already existing partnerships with Hulu, Pepsi, and Budweiser as examples of how the company had already gained advertising revenue.

"This is an entirely new and I think very expansive portfolio of media assets that will just help brands partner with us to reach our viewers and our customers in an even more interesting way," Raffensperger said. "It drives gaming revenue and it creates sponsorship and advertising opportunities for our partners."

FanDuel has already been a dominant player in the space. The company boasts 51%market share of gross gaming revenue among sportsbooks in the states where it operates, according to the company’s most recent earnings release, and just posted its first profitable quarter with an adjusted EBITDA of $22 million for the second quarter. Raffensperger believes the addition of the network will contribute to further market share gain moving forward but declined to specify where the company hopes those numbers will reach.

In a sector where cost of acquisition per customer is watched very closely, the Street will be closely monitoring how much investment FanDuel puts into the new network and what the returns will be.

“We’ve always been very efficient at how we bring customers onto the platform,” FanDuel CEO Amy Howe told Yahoo Finance on Aug. 12. “We’ve always had a strong brand, one we’ve engaged with phenomenal talent like Pat McAfee. We have innovations with TNT and Turner. The NBA was a big part of Q2 this year. The acquisition engine is getting stronger for us everyday.”

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