FOX Bet: Will Skip Bayless Shout Less And Bet More?
Last week, FOX Sports and The Stars Group announced a partnership to launch a sports betting app called FOX Bet this fall. The move makes Fox the first U.S. media company to launch its own betting product. It wasn’t long before FOX Sports’ pundits rejoiced in wake of the news.
On FOX Sports’ morning show First Things First, Nick Wright sounded like a kid who had just finished unwrapping Christmas presents. Sitting across from his co-host Cris Carter, Wright was antsy to chime in. “This is awesome! This is so great,” Wright exclaimed.
His excitement quickly turned to curiosity. “We need to talk to the boss. Think you guys can pay me in credits?”
More exciting than anything is speculating not what the agreement means for the business, but what consumers will get out of the deal both in the short and long-term. To that end, RotoGrinders caught up with Matt Primeaux, President, FOX Bet, to find out what sports fans can expect as the new sports betting initiative moves forward.
Sports betting innovation
Calling the sports betting industry a “gold rush” and “the Silicon Valley 27 years ago,” FOX Sports personality Colin Cowherd said, “for this next 30 years of my life this can be where you can go to make a sports bet.” Cowherd described a platform where you can watch the game and bet all at the same time. “This is the future of our business.”
Cowherd might be engaging in some hyperbole but the description wasn’t far off.
“FOX Bet will be integrated within the linear broadcasts and digital assets of FOX Sports. This type of deep and natural integration is different than live streaming and has numerous advantages over just porting a feed into a betting app,” Primeaux told RotoGrinders. “We’re really excited about building exciting and engaging products and content in tandem with FOX Sports, and as both our partnership and the US market mature, we see this approach being uniquely differentiated and to the sports fan’s benefit.”
To note, the deal inked between FOX Sports and The Stars Group is for 25 years and it brought a nearly 5% ownership stake to FOX in Stars. That number could be upped to 50% after 10 years if FOX chooses.
Primeaux believes the long-term partnership leaves almost limitless opportunity when thinking about different ways to intermingle sports betting and sports consumerism.
Unlike some companies that have sat idly or shirked sports betting — CBS refused to even mention it on air during its broadcast of Super Bowl LIII in February — both Fox Sports and The Stars Groups are confident that sports betting benefits US fans, media and the overall market.
“One of the most important aspects of this partnership is our joint ability to widen the funnel and introduce an array of sports fans to sports betting and how responsible play can enhance the enjoyment of their favorite sports.”
The Stars Group has also been active in voicing support for legislation for more Americans to access legal sports betting platforms and will continue to do so.
More than transactional
At the outset of this partnership, FOX Bet umbrella will feature two products: one for those looking to wager real cash in (a growing number of) states where sports betting is legal, and second, in states where it is not, a free-to-play product that will allow people to test their sports forecasting skills for cash prizes without risking a dime.
As Todd Fuhrman pointed out on FS1’s first sports betting show Lock it In, the latter option/contests will give all of FOX Sports’ viewers and visitors a chance to get in on the action, so to speak.
FOX Bet will take the lessons learned from The Stars Groups’ Sky Betting & Gaming platforms, which includes the popular Saturday Super 6 contests and leaderboard. The company hopes to build on the successes seen in the European model by putting an American spin to the FOX Bet product.
What happens to BetStars?
The BetStars brand and legal online sportsbook, which is currently live in New Jersey, will be replaced by FOX Bet.
So far, BetStars has struggled to keep up with FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook in the New Jersey market, but sunsetting the brand in favor of FOX Bet, driven by FOX’s expansive media reach, should be a huge jolt for the joint venture.
Will Skip Bayless put his money where his mouth is?
Beyond the ability to wager for real and play money, it’ll be exciting to see how FOX Sports’ game day coverage, studio shows and social media content adjusts as FOX Bet rolls out the app this fall.
FOX Sports saw the writing on the wall when they were the first to introduce a FOX-centric show Lock It In to their daily lineup on the eve of the NFL Week One’s Monday Night Football game during the 2018 season. ESPN followed up introducing a sports betting show of their own, Daily Wager, to ESPN News in March.
Will daily talk shows incorporate sports betting contests? Instead of wagering a “Diet Dew” with co-hosts, pundits can say “Look, here. I’m betting on it.” Wright might even look to up the stakes after winning a Mother’s Day dinner paid by former NBA player Kendrick Perkins.
Will we finally see Skip Bayless put his money where his mouth is, though?
No sports betting legislation has yet passed in California, home to FOX Sports studios. That’s probably best for Bayless, but we can follow his and other pundits’ takes via FOX Bet’s free-to-play product for the time being.