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FanDuel CEO Matt King Talks Transformation In Sports Media

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
FanDuel odds board at the 5280 Burger Bar in Denver, Colorado.
  • FanDuel CEO Matt King is of the opinion that the sports media ecosystem is in a state of seismic transformation.
  • Younger sports fans are rejecting the traditional format of sports, not sports themselves.
  • He thinks that FanDuel is a perfect fit for the new sports broadcasting landscape.

One lesson from the digital transformation of the Internet era is just how oblivious some people can be to the obvious. This is true on an individual level as well as a corporate level. The world can be changing around some people and businesses and they either miss it or ignore it choosing to charge full speed ahead with the status quo.

The same thing is going on now at the intersection of sports, media and betting. The traditional approach to all three is being roundly rejected by new generations of fans but some companies refuse to see it. Judging from a recent interview with UK based gaming publication SBC that won’t happen to FanDuel or their CEO Matt King. King was a guest on the debut episode of the SBC Leaders Podcast where he talked about his view of the changing sports landscape and where FanDuel fits within it.

King talked about the massive transformation underway in the media landscape and how many ‘analog era’ players are oblivious to what is going on:

“It’s interesting to track the disruption going on across the media landscape. People talk about ‘ratings being down and equate it to young people not watching live sports’…I take the opposite view.”

In King’s view, younger sports fans simply want to consume the product in a different manner than ‘legacy fans’:

“People of all generations care about sports, however, younger audiences don’t want to consume sports in a passive manner sitting in front of the TV for three hours – they want shorter intervals and access across all platforms.”

FanDuel hopes to meet the sports interests of a new generation with connection and instant experiences:

“This is a great opportunity for FanDuel, which I think can develop in sport’s new ecosystem, where younger generations want instant experiences and to connect with other sports fans… something radically different to traditional formats.”

King also talked about the early days of FanDuel’s expansion into sports betting from their original niche in daily fantasy sports. Their focus at the time was getting the basics right:

“In the early days of any marketplace, you forget that the easiest innovations are getting the basics right. Is it easy for the customer to sign-up, is it easy for them to place their first bets and can they follow what’s going on?”

“Our focus was on education, so our innovations were not sexy. Our goal was simply to make sure that we delivered the best first-time wagering experience for all customers”.

King concluded with observations about the seismic changes ahead for the sports betting business:

“I think that we are here to bring sports viewing and wagering into the 21st century. Our mission is to bring in sports fans from the sidelines and engage them with their favorite sport, just like they have been accustomed to with other digital products”.

“If you look at video games and social media platforms, the user has allowed them to personalise their product and offerings to better suit their own preferences… this should be no different for sports betting which at the moment is a static experience for the customer”.

He’s right on the money, of course, but the impact of many within the sports ecosystem being ‘analog players in a digital world’ is far wider than he suggests. There’s also a serious element of utter cluelessness about sports betting at play. You can see this every day in the financial media’s efforts to understand sports betting related stocks or the traditional sports media’s efforts to assimilate betting. It’s bad enough not understanding the technology driven transformation going on but not really understanding sports betting on a conceptual level makes it significantly worse.

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