Rival Sportsbooks DraftKings, FanDuel Ink Deals With WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports

  • DraftKings agreement secures the sportsbook's exposure across multiple Turner Sports channels
  • FanDuel inked a deal that gives it exclusive access to NBA programming, Bleacher Report assets
  • Turner Sports saw that NBA fans were reacting well to FanDuel’s 2020 sports wagering content 
  • It also said DraftKings' betting info met the demands of the network's “highly interactive viewers”
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Rival sportsbooks DraftKings and FanDual each signed an exclusive multi-year deal with WarnerMedia-owned network Turner Sports. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Distinctly different, exclusive multi-year agreements

Sportsbook competitors DraftKings and FanDuel went unusually Dutch on Thursday, signing distinctly different, exclusive multi-year deals with the same media network, WarnerMedia-owned Turner Sports.

DraftKings heralded its partnership with Turner Sports on Twitter:

The deal with the WarnerMedia subsidiary gives the Massachusetts-based firm exclusive sportsbook and daily fantasy sports provider rights across “select Turner Sports and Bleacher Report properties”. This includes Turner Sports telecasts, the Bleacher Report app, and all Bleacher Report digital channels.

According to SportBusiness, industry sources believe the DraftKings arrangement opens the door to its involvement in Turner Sports’ distribution of March Madness, as the men’s NCAA basketball tournament is popularly known. This would only be possible, however, if the NCAA softened its stance on betting-related sponsorship.

Cementing a partnership with the NBA

New York-based FanDuel struck an entirely different multi-year deal with Turner Sports, which it also announced in a tweet:

FanDuel is now the exclusive sportsbook partner for Turner Sport’s National Basketball Association (NBA) programming. This includes live TNT telecasts and Bleacher Report digital channels, including the app. The new agreement cements a partnership that started during the 2020 NBA Playoffs.

new, enhanced experience for NBA fans”

FanDuel Group CMO Mike Raffensperger said the aim is to take viewership “to the next level” via exclusive sports wagering content directly interfacing with NBA programming. He added that the betting company would be offering a “new, enhanced experience for NBA fans”.

An era of enhanced engagement

Turner Sports’ executive vice president of sports partnerships and branded content, Will Funk, said in a press release that NBA fans were “responding well […] this past season” to FanDuel’s sports wagering content across both Turner Sports and Bleacher Report channels.

betting information that our hyper-engaged, highly interactive viewers demand”

Funk also elaborated on the DraftKings deal, drawing particular focus on fan engagement. He said the emerging industry was still evolving, with sports betting driving engagement, audience scale, and viewing time. The alliance, Funk believes, will drive DraftKings’ customer engagement and acquisition, while enhancing Turner Sports content with “betting information that our hyper-engaged, highly interactive viewers demand.”

DraftKings CBO Ezra Kucharz concurred, saying that Turner Sports platforms align with the DraftKings brand and “provide exceptional content as they continually captivate sports audiences.”

Eyes on the ball

What Turner Sports did in signing up a pair of rivals was show how a leading media network could divvy up its portfolio to get the best of both worlds. DraftKings gains visibility across multiple Turner Sports channels, while FanDuel gets access to NBA programming.

While the financial side of both partnerships was not revealed, the move is the latest in a hot streak of betting operators hooking up with media giants in increasingly creative compacts. In mid-September, ESPN inked two co-exclusive multi-year deals with Caesars Entertainment – in conjunction with its sports betting partner William Hill – and DraftKings.

The agreements allow the rival sportsbooks to link exclusively to ESPN’s digital channels. Both deals are then neatly split, with William Hill becoming the sports network’s exclusive odds provider, and DraftKings its exclusive daily fantasy sports content provider.

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