Big media gets into gambling

The world keeps on changing and now it seems news reporters also want to try something different. Instead of only reporting on the news—sports news that is—they want to be part of the action. That’s one possible reason for the recent changes at Fox Sports as the brand entered an entirely new market: sports betting.

Fox Sports and The Stars Group Join Forces

This year saw the unique partnership between a sports network and a popular Canadian gambling company called TSG (The Stars Group). Together they launched a new sports betting app called FOX Bet.

Sports fans can already access two innovative game options:

  • A free-to-play game where you guess the outcome of sports games and cash prizes are on offer. This is not a new concept as many sports brands use this method to draw more fans.
  • The FOX Bet app is a platform to wager money on the outcome of various sports games.

Canadian portal is just one of the many other sites experiencing exponential growth. Access to the apps are limited though as sports betting isn’t legalized across the US. But more about that later.

The Particulars of the Deal Explained

A high stakes partnership like this must carry benefits for both parties. TSG now has the right to use some of Fox’s popular branding. For Fox it’s the potential revenue coming from the gambling market.

It’s no secret the high income the gambling market can generate. Giving sports fans access via mobile will attract the younger generation—those less likely to visit land-based casinos simply to place a bet. It seems an entire revenue stream is yet to be tapped and Fox is the first to make sure it gets in on the action.

It’s also worth mentioning that the deal gives Fox 4.99% of TSG shares. Why does the powerful brand not push for more shares? This is probably a tactical decision. It is still protecting its reputation as it doesn’t want to be seen as a gaming entity at this stage. Owning a minimal number of shares will also limit gaming regulators’ investigations. 

What About the Future?

Are you wondering why this partnership with the app development is such as novel occurrence?  Remember that there are currently still many limitations on sports betting in the US, especially on mobile betting.

Sports betting is legal in a few states, but different rules apply to mobile betting. Except for New Jersey where it’s entirely legal, in other states hardly anyone can take part until more legislation is passed or unless the player is in a physical casino.

Mobile gambling app owners also need to get themselves licensed after a state’s legislation is passed. It’s a long process before you can roll out your products to the public.

Some states now experience a push towards making mobile betting legal:

  • West Virginia
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington DC
  • Indiana
  • Tennessee

The rules are changing but in most of these states there can only be a legal roll out once regulations are written or the legislation is signed. And there are no clear timelines from those in charge.

Consumers and organizers may hope that Fox’s new venture will prompt the brand to join the fight to speed up the process.

What are Other Media Outlets Doing?

Mobile’s popularity also means other networks have voiced interest in getting involved. CBS Sports has developed products such as SportsLine and NBC Sports owns domains that are clearly betting related.

One network you may not see enter the betting market for the near future is ESPN that belongs to the Disney brand. The family oriented brand may not want to be associated with betting activities. As its CEO Bob Iger has clearly stated in the past, the brand doesn’t see itself becoming part of the gambling market.

If all the changes in legislation do take place, Fox will one day reap the fruit of being so pro-active now. Mobile platforms for many activities—shopping, research and communication—are becoming more popular by the day. When US consumers, gamblers and sports fans can legally bet via mobile the FOX Bet infrastructure will be ready and waiting.

It’s the name of the game, right? Staying one step ahead of the competition. Fox is doing just that.