After FanDuel-AP Partnership, Possibilities Still Exist for Media Deals

Posted on: May 26, 2021, 06:53h. 

Last updated on: May 26, 2021, 10:53h.

The brewing battle royale in US sports betting media just added another chapter. On Tuesday, FanDuel and the Associated Press announced their partnership.

AP FanDuel
AP newsroom staffers at work at headquarters, New York, Nov. 2, 2010. The AP just announced a partnership with FanDuel. (AP Corporate Communications)

Effective immediately, FanDuel becomes the wire service’s exclusive provider of sports betting odds. That was previously handled by Pregame.com. (NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, the writer also serves as a seasonal correspondent for the Associated Press.)

The FanDuel deal goes beyond just providing odds and line information for AP wire stories. Per a joint statement, the two sides will work on adding FanDuel “widgets” to the Associated Press online sports pages.

In a statement, Barry Bedlan, the global director of text and new market products for the AP, said its readers and outlets that rely on the service’s coverage have wanted more sports betting information. That’s especially true over the last couple of years, as the sports betting landscape has widened significantly.

It makes sense to work with one of the largest reputable sportsbooks in the United States to provide a consistent, credible reference point for AP and its customers,” he added.

As Axios reported, the arrangement includes FanDuel paying an unidentified amount for the privilege of serving as the exclusive reporter. In addition, while AP copy will include links to FanDuel, those will go straight to its home page and not directly to any sports betting page.

FanDuel Gets Access, Exposure to Millions

The deal gives FanDuel an opportunity to get its name in newspapers and websites across the US. The sports betting company, in essence, is casting a very large net. The average AP reader may not be as engaged in sports betting as someone who hits VSiN or Action Network daily. Still, the wire service offers millions of readers. According to its 2020 annual report, 3.8 million people use its mobile app and 15.1 million follow the AP on Twitter.

The FanDuel-AP deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions and partnerships that have broadened the audience for sports betting content, and in some ways become too many to count.

Here’s just a few to highlight the trend.

Last November, Bally’s Corp. announced it acquired naming rights for the regional sports networks (RSN) – many of which were at one time Fox Sports entities – from the RSNs’ current owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group.

The move gives Bally’s a large presence with 19 networks that cover 24 states. However, only six of those have launched sports betting, though five more have recently approved the wagering products. In addition, Bally’s just launched its first mobile betting app in Colorado, a state where none of its networks are available.

Other deals have been focused on content, like DraftKings acquisition of the Vegas Sports Information Network (VSiN) and Better Collective’s $240 million purchase of Action Network.

Possible Partners in McClatchy, Gannett

The section above gave just a sampling of the recent partnerships and deals made between sportsbooks and media entities. However, there remain some green fields out there.

Perhaps the biggest green fields out there are journalism chains, companies that own daily newspapers, television stations, and websites in major or mid-sized communities across the country.

The biggest of those entities is Gannett, which owns more than 100 daily newspapers across the country. That includes dozens in states where sports betting has already been approved, as well as national publication USA Today.

Other possible targets for partnerships include McClatchy and Tribune Publishing.

On the TV side, there’s Sinclair, which owns nearly 200 stations in addition to the RSNs. Sinclair is actually the second-largest station owner, behind NexStar Media Group.

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