Saturday will mark the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby, and this year’s event will be a particularly notable one for FanDuel. This year’s Derby will mark the first one with FanDuel as an official partner of Churchill Downs, thanks to a multi-year, multi-event deal they signed last fall. They also have their FanDuel TV channel broadcasting live from Churchill Downs all week.
Andrew Moore, FanDuel’s general manager of racing, recently spoke to AA by e-mail about the importance of the Derby, of FanDuel’s partnership, and of FanDuel TV’s coverage. He said the Derby is the most critical event on the racing calendar for bringing in new fans.
“The Kentucky Derby transcends racing and is the biggest opportunity to showcase the sport of racing. Every year new fans find racing through the race and become fans for life.”
For FanDuel TV, the weeklong broadcasts from the track will feature significant coverage from horse racing experts. Those include Mike Joyce, Todd Schrupp, Christina Blacker, Gabby Gaudet, Scott Hazelton, Matt Bernier, Simon Bray, Andie Biancone, Caleb Keller and Caton Bredar. They also will have their NFL show, Up and Adams, broadcasting live from the track Thursday and Friday, with host Kay Adams joined by a variety of special guests. Moore said FanDuel TV (which was renamed that in 2022 from TVG) is key to the company’s overall strategy, and its racing coverage is both a way to build on its TVG history and a way to bring in new fans who have come to the channel for content like Up and Adams and the Michelle Beadle-hosted NBA show Run it Back.
“FanDuel TV’s coverage is integral for every racing event, not just the Kentucky Derby. It is the only network showing live racing 365 days a year. Racing is an “always on” product with great history and excitement. FanDuel TV, formerly the TVG Network, has been showing horse racing for over 20 years. We see ourselves in a position where we can bring a new audience to the sport while continuing to cater to existing racing audiences.”
Moore said even with the FanDuel TV rebrand and launch of non-racing shows, they still have a strong connection to those existing audiences.
“FanDuel TV is still very much a racing network showing top racing from across the world,” he said. “The primary audience are racing fans. ”
Moore said being on location here will significantly add to FanDuel TV’s coverage of the Derby.
“Our team will be creating content all week that will help promote the Kentucky Derby and inform new and old audiences alike.”
On those new audiences, Moore said those are the target they’re looking for with their partnership with Churchill Downs, which will allow audiences to place online bets on the Derby at FanDuel.
“Partnering with the Kentucky Derby gives our customers access to wager on one of the most iconic events in sports. We are focused on introducing customers to racing via our sportsbook rather than driving sign ups from existing racing fans.”
And he thinks racing as a whole is in a strong place, and has a significant role to play in the wider betting landscape.
“Racing has an opportunity to take an important role in the sports betting universe. The challenge is to create the right content and experiences to attract audiences to watch and attend.”
On the Derby in particular, Moore already has one horse he’s eyeing.
“If you’re having a bet, bet responsibly and have fun. FanDuel Racing is giving all customers a ‘No Sweat Bet’ up to $20 on the Kentucky Derby. So, if the first horse you bet to win loses, we will refund your bet up to $20. I’ll be putting my $20 on Derma Sotogake, who is bidding to be the first horse from Japan to win the Derby.”
[2023 Kentucky Derby draw photo at top from Sam Upshaw Jr./The Louisville Courier-Journal, via USA Today Sports]