NBA Insider Shams Charania to Appear Regularly on New FanDuel TV Show ‘Run it Up’

  • Shams Charania of The Athletic will appear on one of FanDuel TV’s first shows
  • The line-blurring between sports and sports gambling is drawing criticism 
  • FanDuel says that Shams will only elaborate on news on the show, not break it
  • The Athletic previously blocked reporters from partnering with sportsbooks
Shams Charania
FanDuel signed The Athletic reporter Shams Charania to a deal that will have him regularly appear on a new TV show. [Image: Through The Lens / YouTube]

Merging entities 

Sports betting operator FanDuel has announced that a show on its new television network will feature NBA reporter and The Athletic insider, Shams Charania. 

the first time that someone with exclusive information will also represent a betting agency

The show “Run it Up” will also feature retired NBA veteran Chandler Parsons and reporter Michelle Beadle. The trio will cover hot topics in the league, provide analysis, and look at betting lines. FanDuel and other sportsbooks have partnered with celebrities before, but this is the first time that someone with exclusive information will also represent a betting agency.

Charania’s partnership with FanDuel is ultimately a byproduct of the continued fraternization between sports and the betting industry. However, its potential to spiral into something else entirely is both intriguing and scary for others in the industry.

Shams, FanDuel inspire concerns

Charania, often referred to by his first name “Shams,” rose to prominence after he challenged ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski for the title of best news-breaker. “Woj” had essentially monopolized NBA news and was the out-and-out authority before Shams.

Both Shams and Woj often work in conjunction with one another, breaking news at similar times and covering the same situations. However, they have also had their disagreements, the most recent of which involved which player the Orlando Magic were going to select with their first-overall pick between Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith Jr., and Chet Holmgren.

Shams “will bring his insights and breaking news to the show each week”

As part of his deal with FanDuel, Shams “will bring his insights and breaking news to the show each week” and relay “interesting news nuggets only he can deliver.” So, leading up to next year’s draft, for example. he will have a platform to discuss which team will select Victor Wembanyama, an 18-year-old French sensation touted as the next global basketball megastar. 

The betting public rightfully has concerns about Shams’ deal and the potential it holds to burn their pockets. For example, FanDuel could use his inside information about a power-shifting trade or big-money free agent signing to help reset the betting lines before the information is public knowledge.

A FanDuel executive promised that there would not be any behind-the-scenes collusion. 

“It will always go to the audience first,” said Chris Jones, FanDuel’s vice president of communications. “He’s not sitting in an office—he is a contributor to our network, which is based in [Los Angeles], and not at all tied to our sportsbook operation, now or in the future.”

Negative precedent

A major win for Shams in the deal with FanDuel was his retaining autonomy over his news delivery. FanDuel is encouraging him to continue breaking stories and inside scoops on his social media, specifically Twitter, where he has 1.8m followers.

“He’s going to break news on social media. That’s where we want him to break things,” Jones said. “Then he will come on air on FanDuel and contextualize that information.”

As per the agreement, Shams will not be able to create a FanDuel sportsbook or daily fantasy account. He is also likely to tag FanDuel on Twitter when delivering news.

The Athletic has a complicated relationship with the sports betting industry. Last year, it signed an affiliate marketing agreement with BetMGM that allowed it to collect referral fees for customers who signed up with BetMGM. That deal was later reworked into a sponsorship, preventing the news outlet from collecting payments.

The Athletic also recently introduced a policy prohibiting reporters from betting on sports they cover due to the intermingling of relationships and information behind the scenes, which are the same concerns clouding Shams’ new gig.

According to The Washington Post, The Athletic blocked at least one reporter from signing with an operator before The New York Times purchased the company earlier in the year. However, it will no longer stand in the way of reporters looking to link up with sportsbooks.

“As long as someone isn’t putting themselves in danger of violating journalism and independence ethics, we would be supportive of that situation,” said David Perpich, The Athletic’s publisher.

FanDuel TV launched in September and is available on television and via streaming. Shams and company will be joined by Pat McAfee’s media company and Bill Simmons’ “The Ringer,” both of which will also shoot content for the channel.