The linear and streaming channel now known as “FanDuel TV” isn’t actually new in and of itself, as it replaced the existing TVG (which was owned by FanDuel parent Paddy Power Betfair, now Flutter), and that channel had had FanDuel-branded content as early as 2018. But the September rebranding to FanDuel TV was notable for it increasing the channel’s branching out from its original mainstay of horse racing, with new shows such as Up and Adams with Kay Adams and Run It Back with Michelle Beadle, Shams Charania, and Chandler Parsons, plus programming from The Ringer and Pat McAfee.
That FanDuel TV rebranding also included the acquisition of many more live sports rights, including the (U.S. West Coast-based) International Basketball League, Australia’s National Basketball League, the Chinese Basketball League, and more. Quite a few of those came in via a deal with Sportradar. And as FanDuel chief commercial officer Mike Raffensberger said in an investor call Wednesday, they’re looking to pick up more live rights still. Here’s more on that from Gerry Smith at Bloomberg:
FanDuel is considering expanding the lineup of live sports on its new TV network, seeking to spur interest in betting on less-followed games and matches.
The No. 1 US sports betting app, a division of Ireland’s Flutter Entertainment Plc, is interested in acquiring “under-loved sports” and airing them on its newly rebranded FanDuel TV network, Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger said during an investor presentation Wednesday.
Fans can watch and bet on games from such leagues, which may have trouble reaching distribution agreements with traditional media companies, he said.
Smith’s story goes on to note that FanDuel TV already plans to air more than 3,000 hours of live sports already, but that a slide during Raffensperger’s presentation said “more sports would be coming soon.” And it’s definitely interesting to hear that, and it’s worth pondering that in the context of what FanDuel TV is trying to do. Yes, many of the sports they already have or are chasing are unlikely to do huge viewership numbers. But their network isn’t just about viewership, it’s about driving people to bet via their app, and about integrating on-screen content with that app. So their metrics are a little different than many networks. Along those lines, it’s interesting to read what FanDuel TV Executive Producer/SVP (TV) Kevin Grigsby told Jason Dachman of Sports Video Group in an interview this week, specifically with what he had to say on betting integration and latency:
“Essentially,” says Grigsby, “what you see on screen from a betting perspective are the same industry-leading betting lines that you can see and bet on within the FanDuel Sportsbook app in the 17 states [where sports-betting is legal]. Integration of that live data into our broadcast with visualization attached to it is very important to us. It’s definitely our secret sauce and how we differentiate ourselves from general sports networks.”
…“What’s really important to us,” says Grigsby, “is that the latency is as low as possible, given how much is bet at the last second and betting stops the second a race starts. You can’t have those pictures 10, 20, 30 seconds behind real life. We’re always demanding the lowest possible latency from our transmission partners, and we’ll continue to innovate on that.
Dachman’s whole piece on FanDuel TV is well worth a read, and it illustrates how much this has changed from the racing-focused TVG (with Grigsby saying that change was initially planned for 2020, but postponed due to pandemic events). Horse racing is still a big deal for them, especially during the day when there aren’t many other North American sports live, but the FanDuel TV approach goes well beyond that now, from studio content geared to get people to tune in and maybe bet to (somewhat obscure) live sports content with betting integration. Their TV approach is certainly an interesting play, and it will be worth keeping an eye on. (And that’s also true for Fox, which has an option until 2030 to buy into FanDuel.)
[Sports Video Group, Bloomberg; photo via FanDuel TV and FanDuel+ senior manager Eric Girard on LinkedIn]