Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling opening up the pathway to legalized sports gambling across the country. While it may take a while for operations in various states to get up and running, we will begin to see the effect across sports as gambling becomes much more mainstream and talked about more than just with a wink and a nod.
To that effect, Fox Sports is apparently eager to get the jump on the action. According to the Sporting News, plans are already underway for a new show to focus on the sports betting industry that will be added to the network’s daily lineup. But what may be even more interesting than the topic is the reported cast.
First, there’s gambling expert Todd Fuhrman… then there’s studio host Charissa Thompson… next is sportswriter turned political firebrand Clay Travis… and finally, the godfather of veiled sports gambling references – new Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders play-by-play man Brent Musburger. That’s quite the foursome to say the least.
Fox Sports is developing a sports gambling-driven show starring Charissa Thompson, Brent Musburger, oddsmaker Todd Fuhrman and ESPN bete noire Clay Travis, sources tell Sporting News.
The weekday show is expected to premiere this fall on Fox Sports 1 in the 5-6 p.m. hour after Jason Whitlock’s expanded “Speak for Yourself” (3-5 p.m.).
For as much as this may sound like a new idea, it really isn’t.
Way back in 2014, FS1 featured Thompson, Travis, and Furhman doing hits for Fox Sports Live from inside the Las Vegas Hilton sportsbook that were heavily focused on the various lines and odds. To Fox’s credit, they’ve been ahead of the curve and been a bit more eager to explore sports gambling even before the Supreme Court decision changed the landscape forever.
But again, that was back in 2014. Four years later and FS1 still hasn’t really made any more inroads as a competitor to ESPN, Travis brings a polarization that’s maybe unmatched in all of sports after his embrace of the alt-right, and Musburger has gone from ESPN’s lead voice in college football to one of the most prominent advocates of sports betting.
For what it’s worth, Musburger’s schedule suddenly looks like it’s filling up. He already hosts his own radio show from the South Point Casino in Las Vegas for VSiN and now looks to be adding these FS1 duties along with his new gig as the play-by-play radio voice for the Raiders.
It’s an interesting concept and probably something that fits with FS1’s original purpose of being in providing an alternative to ESPN. And while Musburger and Thompson might be enough of a draw to pull fans in, Travis’ political toxicity is enough to turn potential viewers away.
FS1 has struggled for years to find a consistent ratings draw in the early evening hours running through the likes of Crowd Goes Wild, America’s Pregame, and Speak For Yourself (now moving to an earlier timeslot). Can the presence of a regular sports gambling show finally become a mainstay?