Sports betting is taking on a larger role in sports culture, becoming increasingly mainstream as it becomes legalized in more states throughout the country. With the NBA tipping off its 2020-21 season Tuesday night, TNT’s pregame show will begin featuring a sports betting element prominently with Charles Barkley.
As reported by Variety‘s Brian Steinberg, Barkley has signed on with FanDuel to be an ambassador and spokesperson for the gaming company. A major part of that will include the popular analyst making predictions and guarantees for that night’s NBA games, presumably including those on the TNT telecast.
Bleacher Report will also produce content with sports betting elements earlier in the day of a TNT NBA broadcast. Additionally, Barkley will appear on FanDuel advertising, social media, and podcasts, along with Turner Sports spots promoting the company’s free-to-play contests as part of the deal.
Fans might recall that Turner Sports and FanDuel agreed to a partnership during the restarted 2019-20 NBA season in which betting information from FanDuel was incorporated into the pregame show and postgame Inside the NBA program. Alternate live-stream broadcasts with commentary focusing on betting and odds were also offered during the NBA Playoffs.
A running joke during the 2020 postseason was Barkley “guaranteeing” a winner or outcome of a particular playoff game or series, with the prediction often being wrong. For instance, the NBA legend picked the Portland Trail Blazers to beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.
Barkley’s picks could compel bettors to choose against them. But that’s still useful information, right? Now those “gua-ROWN-tees” will apparently have FanDuel branding attached during a telecast.
Charles Barkley "guarantees" this playoffs:
– Blazers sweep
– Nuggets Game 3
– Pacers Game 3
– Blazers Game 4
– Clippers 20-point win tonight (double-guarantee) pic.twitter.com/OHRViD7Vby
— StatMuse (@statmuse) September 12, 2020
For FanDuel, integrating the brand into programming like TNT’s NBA studio show helps stand out from the growing competition, and more than commercials or buying ad time on live sports broadcasts.
“I want to be the American sportsbook of record, and to do that, I need more than advertising,” FanDuel chief marketing officer Mike Raffensperger told Variety‘s Steinberg. “I need partnerships with critical leagues, teams, and media entities like TNT where sports betting is in front of the fans.”
Barkley seems like the ideal spokesperson for FanDuel during TNT’s studio coverage. In addition to his often misguided “guarantees” becoming popular during the 2020 NBA playoffs, he also has a public history with sports gambling that has reportedly cost him up to $30 million.
Again, Barkley’s role with FanDuel might be to persuade sports bettors to make their picks against whatever the analyst suggests.
Charles Barkley: *makes guarantee*
The team as soon Charles picks them ? pic.twitter.com/7YC5JKkKvw
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) August 25, 2020