FanDuel Group recently rebranded its 24-hour cable and satellite TV network, TVG Network, to FanDuel TV and introduced a new OTT service, FanDuel TV Plus. The deployments make FanDuel the first gaming operator in the United States with a linear and digital media platform dedicated to sports betting content.
As explored in a recent JWS column, the industry as a whole is reallocating resources to content-based customer acquisition and retention strategies. But FanDuel does not follow the crowd. The company, which first signed Pat McAfee to an exclusive content deal in 2019, has seen firsthand how it can leverage authentic, personality-driven programming that weaves into sports betting, and it sees the introduction of its own platforms as the “next logical evolution”. of this approach.
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Mike Raffensperger (Director of Marketing, FanDuel) said the company was looking to FanDuel TV to help “build a brand, create betting opportunities and build FanDuel loyalty”. Media channels should also help diversify revenue streams and maintain the level of investment needed to maintain its leading position in the market.
Taken from JWS: FanDuel believes that having a 24-hour cable network and an OTT platform will help it continue to acquire new customers effectively. Earlier this year, the company became the first US-based online sportsbook operator to post a profitable quarter.
The company expects its media efforts to also generate brand loyalty. “We have very good data, we have been doing TVG for 20 years. As people consume and watch live sports and gaming content [on our platform]they are more likely to choose our brand to bet with,” Raffensperger said.
The revamped network strategy is also expected to create additional revenue streams. “As we are able to give to others [sports] opportunities, such as in the middle of the day when there are no major stick and ball sports, it creates betting-friendly times that people can participate in that might not otherwise be available,” said said Raffensperger.
Although niche sports seem unlikely to move the needle for FanDuel, regardless of when games are shown, evidence suggests punters are more likely to bet on games they can watch. “Whatever new betting handful is generated overnight adds to the overall equation and over time should grow somewhat as some of these sports become more familiar to the endgame crowd. evening,” said Benjie Cherniak (Director, Avenue H Capital).
The 24-hour sports betting-focused network also offers FanDuel valuable new video assets for sale. Historically, the company only had free games, branded sports betting promotions and digital inventory to offer potential brand partners.
Raffensperger declined to comment on details of the company’s transportation arrangements. But if the pivot increases the network’s audience, FanDuel Group would own a more valuable channel down the line. “Any audience growth beyond basic horse racing coverage will increase the value of the network,” said Ed Desser (President, Desser Sports Media). “However, this comes at a time when linear networks have matured and are generally in decline. Even if they improve the lineup, I don’t know how many viewers there will be. The only way to generate a large audience is to schedule additional medium-demand sports live that broaden the audience base.
While there is a $3.99/month subscription fee associated with the FanDuel+ app, the company doesn’t expect the revenue generated from paid subscribers to move the needle. Indeed, anyone with a FanDuel game account can download the app, log in and watch for free.
The TVG brand remains “very important and really impactful” to the endemic horse racing community. But with FanDuel Group having invested north of $1 billion to grow the FanDuel brand, and mobile sportsbook approaching a “tipping point of being available nationwide in a significant percentage of the country,” Raffensperger said. that it made sense to rename the linear network. The TVG betting app will remain as is.
FanDuel TV and FanDuel TV Plus will host all racing content previously found on TVG. But the media network will air a menu of other lightly covered live sports alongside it. “These are sports and these are times of the programming day that don’t get as much attention as [they] deserve. So we can offer a unique new sporting proposition to the fans,” said Raffensperger.
The company recently signed a licensing deal with Sportradar that gives it access to 3,000 hours of live programming per year, mostly international basketball games. Table tennis is another sport that FanDuel has found popular in betting circles and is likely to find time on the network.
Naturally, the revamped cable channel will also feature sports-, entertainment-, and lifestyle-focused – and personality-focused – shoulder programming, like The Pat McAfee Show and The Kay Adams Show.
Don’t expect FanDuel to be a player for all Tier 1 sports rights packages, at least not any time soon. The company does not have the financial resources to devote billions of dollars to the right to life.
FanDuel TV and FanDuel TV Plus are only available to customers in the United States. So why is the company scheduling around the clock? Raffensperger explained that there are punters – albeit a smaller number of them – who are looking for action outside office hours and that “the result is [the company] can use time zones to [its] advantage. Where international horse racing or international sports are happening at night, we can take those feeds and very cost effectively connect them to FanDuel TV,” he said.
It’s also worth asking why the company is investing in linear TV at a time when the cable TV universe is shrinking. Raffensperger said that about half of all bets FanDuel takes are “live” or in-play, so it makes sense to have a linear platform that can stream shows with less latency than its OTT counterpart. .
The company sees having a wired network as a differentiator. “We have a terrific television studio based in Los Angeles. We have a distribution network in 50 million homes. This is a phenomenal asset that would be impossible for sports betting competitors to replicate,” Raffensperger said.
The FanDuel executive believes it is necessary for US carriers to differentiate themselves to succeed in the market over the long term. “You need a real reason beyond that promotional offer to entice a new customer to stick around,” Raffensperger said.
Cherniak agreed and said the media platform should help the operator achieve this goal. “It’s about creating a complete and synergistic digital user experience. It’s about building a brand that will resonate for the long haul. FanDuel stacks the deck in order to give their customers more reason to stay in their ecosystem rather than leaving a competitor’s.
Scale is also critical to success, as the larger an operator, the more efficiently they can run the business. Size can be a significant differentiator in a low margin business like sports betting.
It is likely that there will be more consolidation in the industry as some smaller operators realize they cannot compete and the larger players seek to retain a larger share of the market.
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