Gannett, the media and newspaper publisher behind USA Today, Detroit Free Press, Indianapolis Star, The Tennessean, The Arizona Republic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and many other newspapers, announced a new partnership with sports betting company Tipico USA Technology on Tuesday. The five-year deal worth over $100 million is the first of its kind for a major newspaper publisher in the United States.
Tipico USA, which is the American arm of German sports betting provider Tipico Group, will provide Gannett’s newspapers and sports sites with betting odds embedded within its editorial content. Gannett will add a button or icon for readers to click-through and place a bet with Tipico and receive a referral fee based on first-time bettors who sign up with them. The deal also calls for Tipico to spend $90 million in advertising and sponsored content with Gannett, which will include videos, editorial, events, and more.
Gannett also receives a 1% equity stake in Tipico USA Technology upfront and has an option to acquire as much as 4.99% of the company within five years.
With papers in 46 states as well as over 200 sports websites in their portfolio, Gannett commands the largest mass media audience in the nation in terms of total newspaper circulation. While not every state that they have a newspaper in currently has legalized sports gambling, it’s a foregone conclusion that more than half of American states will get there. As of the time of this deal, sports gambling is legal in 22 states with 9 more getting ready to add it in the coming months and year.
While the scale of Gannett’s deal might be new, it’s nothing new for U.S. media companies to partner up with gambling companies and betting partners. The Associated Press made a similar deal with FanDuel in May, ViacomCBS and ESPN have betting odds partnerships, and Fox launched the FOX Bet sports betting platform via The Stars Group in 2019.
It remains to be seen how profitable these partnerships are for the media partner (although local TV media companies seem to be the early winner), but it’s abundantly clear that no one wants to be left out of the potential profits.