There’s been a growing move into FAST (free, advertising-supported television) channels in sports over the past few years, from CBS Sports HQ and CBS Sports Golazo to Fubo Sports (formerly Fubo Sports Network) to Speed Sport 1 to efforts from the ACC, the PFL, the World Surf League, and more. The latest to join that move is DraftKings.
Following late-April reports they had a FAST channel in the works, DraftKings has now officially launched that channel. For now, the DraftKings Network is available through Samsung TV Plus, as well as through browsers at DraftKingsNetwork.com. And they’re the first sportsbook to launch a 24/7 FAST channel (there are other traditionally-distributed channels, like FanDuel TV, but this is the first full 24/7 FAST one.)
Unsurprisingly, the DraftKings Network lineup comes with a strong presence from Meadowlark Media. That includes The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (which DraftKings signed a specific distribution deal for back in 2021), but also GoJo with Mike Golic Jr. and Golic and Smetty with Mike Golic Sr. and Jessica Smetana. It also comes with the announcement of two new Meadowlark-produced shows: the weekly Journeyman with Andrew Hawkins (not Tony Hawk), beginning now, and a new Tuesday-Friday daily basketball-focused show with new Meadowlark hire Charlotte Wilder and regular Le Batard contributor Amin El Hassan. Here’s more on those new shows from a DraftKings release:
In addition, two new Meadowlark Media produced shows will debut on DraftKings Network. Beginning May 10, former NFL player and football funnyman Andrew Hawkins will be seen weekly in Journeyman. The ultimate show for the undrafted, Journeyman is a comedic take on life, sports, and culture through the lens of NFL journeymen. On June 1, a new basketball centric show with NBA analyst, Amin El Hassan, and sports personality, Charlotte Wilder, will debut on DraftKings Network. El Hassan and Wilder, plus a collection of guests, will dish out daily basketball takes Tuesday – Friday featuring a heavy dose of NBA opinion, interviews, games and hi-jinks. More details on titles and timeslots will be shared in the coming weeks.
None of this is necessarily exclusive to the new network, though, as the release notes that “The diverse range of programming will also be found in audio and video formats on high-reach platforms such as iHeart Radio, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube and Twitch, among others.” So those already consuming content here, such as Le Batard’s show, through other avenues, won’t necessarily have to pivot to DraftKings Network. But this will provide another option for viewers, and increased distribution for these shows. Here are some quotes on the strategy from that release:
“In bringing together some of the most authentic sports and entertainment voices under one umbrella, DraftKings Network is the destination for ‘In on the Action’ sports fans and content they love,” said Stacie McCollum, Vice President, Content at DraftKings. “We look forward to reaching fans with our deep roster of independent, credible and relatable voices that resonate with sports fans and the sports betting community.”
…“DraftKings brings a fresh and crisp look to modern day sports news and entertainment programming, which our collaboration will deliver to users across millions of devices in the U.S.,” said Takashi Nakano, Senior Director of Business Development and Content Acquisitions, Samsung Electronics. “Whether it’s a lean back experience on a Samsung Smart TV or a lean forward experience on a Samsung Galaxy device on-the-go, we are excited to work with leading operators like DraftKings to serve today’s sports fan.”
Beyond the Meadowlark programming, DraftKings Network will also feature a weekly show from Jared Carrabis, who recently spoke to AA’s Jessica Kleinschmidt about his move from Barstool to DraftKings. It will also have daily shows from Ross Tucker and the Vegas Sports and Information Network, and some weekly shows previously seen/heard elsewhere, including The GM Shuffle and The Cooligans. Here’s the schedule they’ve released so far:
As mentioned above, DraftKings Network is joining a crowded space of gambling-focused content (including FanDuel TV) and sports FAST channels. But they’re doing so with a bunch of big names and well-established personalities and shows. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact this network makes, and how important it becomes to DraftKings’ overall content strategy.