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FanDuel Signs Marketing Agreement With Canadian Sports Network TSN

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • FanDuel has announced a multi-year marketing partnership with Canadian sports network TSN.
  • Ontario has launched their regulated and competitive iGaming market though there’s been little movement in that direction by the other Canadian provinces.
  • Ontario’s sports betting market should be one of the most competitive–and most lucrative–ecosystems found anywhere in the world.

FanDuel was one of the fourteen online gaming providers ready to launch when Ontario opened their iGaming market to the private sector on Monday. Almost simultaneously, the Flutter Entertainment owned brand announced a very high profile marketing partnership. FanDuel has inked a multi-year agreement with Canadian sports network TSN–initially for Ontario, but with the opportunity for ‘scaled expansion into other Canadian provinces and territories pending regulation.’

By now, you should know how this sort of deal works. FanDuel becomes the ‘exclusive provider of sports odds across TSN programming’ and will be featured across the network’s various properties. TSN will also ‘highlight a variety of FanDuel’s online gaming formats’ with the press release announcing the partnership singling out the company’s Same Game Parlay bets.

Here’s the 4-1-1 on the partnership–check out the second paragraph where Fan Duel promises all sorts of ‘fan engagement’ type hyperbole:

 FanDuel Group, North America’s premier online gaming company, announced today that it has reached a first-of-its-kind multi-year agreement with TSN to introduce its leading sportsbook to Canadian sports fans. FanDuel will be the official sportsbook partner for TSN, starting first in Ontario. The partnership comes as the province has legalized online sports and casino wagering. The deal provides opportunity for scaled expansion into other Canadian provinces and territories pending regulation. 

FanDuel will deliver its global expertise in mobile sportsbook and casino operations across TSN, through original content and innovative digital products. The FanDuel Sportsbook will be the exclusive provider of sports odds across TSN programming to deepen fan engagement and reimagine the way sports betting can be offered alongside sports content. FanDuel will have multiple deep and meaningful integrations across TSN platforms, including in-game broadcasts, digital marketing, mobile apps and co-branding opportunities. TSN will highlight a variety of FanDuel’s online gaming formats, notably its Same Game Parlay™ bets, as well as its leading casino platform and free-to-play games.

Generally speaking, I’m an advocate of the ‘underpromise and overdeliver’ school of self promotion. Even for a company like FanDuel re-imagining ‘the way sports betting can be offered alongside content’ is a pretty tall order. Earlier in the press release, we get another dose of hyperbole:

FanDuel, TSN to Collaborate on Content and Elevate Viewing Experience for Ontario Sports Fans

For those of you in the ‘lower 48’ who might not be familiar with TSN’s multitude of platforms here’s another press release blurb:

TSN is Canada’s Sports Leader and provides world-class content across its industry-leading platforms including five national television feeds, TSN Direct, TSN.ca, TSN Radio stations, and the TSN app, now featuring 5G capabilities. With a broad portfolio of multimedia sports assets, TSN delivers more championship events than any broadcaster in the country. The network’s deep and diverse roster of live sports programming includes the Grey Cup, IIHF World Junior Championship, Spengler Cup, Hockey Canada events, CFL, NFL, NBA, MLS, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets, Season of Champions Curling, FIFA World Cup™, UEFA EURO, MLB, Golf’s Majors, Grand Slam Tennis, NASCAR, F1, UFC, and NCAA March Madness. TSN comes from Bell Media, Canada’s premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio, digital, and Out-of-Home. More information about TSN is available at TSN.ca.

I’ve always liked TSN’s hockey and CFL coverage, so I have no issue with them specifically. I also don’t blame them for getting on the sports betting gravy train and don’t blame FanDuel for paying them to hop on board.

The problem is that in most of these partnerships the media entity does a shabby job with their sports betting themed content. Even if they hire some good people to provide dedicated sports betting coverage, you seldom see much improvement across the platform. On balance, there is better coverage of sports betting on a macro level now than there was a decade ago but virtually all is in the ‘gaming specific’ media. Even within this niche, there’s a handful of excellent outlets (eg: DraftKings owned VSIN) and a lot of marginal ones.

In the mainstream media–sports or otherwise–I’m hard pressed to come up with an example of an outlet that is doing it well. This is true not only in the mainstream sports media but also the mainstream financial media–I actually watch more of the latter than the former and despite an abundance of betting related stocks on the board in the US and elsewhere, the level of knowledge about the realities of what a sportsbook does and how they make money is astounding. Sports betting is definitely not alone in this regard–the financial media’s poor understanding of cryptocurrency related concepts is astounding–but it is particularly glaring.

Here’s the relevant quotes–we’ll start with Dale Hooper, General Manager of FanDuel Canada, who is full of praise for his company’s newest media partner:

“Bringing our industry leading sportsbook platform to Canada is a watershed moment for FanDuel. Partnering with Canada’s most iconic and trusted media company was integral to our strategy of delivering gaming content to passionate Canadian sports fans in the most entertaining and responsible way possible.”

Stewart Johnston, Senior Vice-President, TSN, did the honors for the network:

“FanDuel is the undisputed leader in sports betting, and with the launch of sports betting in Canada they were the clear choice for us as a sportsbook partner. FanDuel delivers an entertaining, customer-centric, responsible gaming experience with attractive odds that Canadian sports fans will want to engage with and we believe that combining their sportsbook with our expansive portfolio of live sports properties will not only deliver the exciting content that our passionate fan base demands but will provide new opportunities to expand the TSN brand.”

A very successful bookmaker once gave me this sage bit of wisdom. We were having lunch and he asked why I didn’t send any referrals to his sportsbook. I considered him a friend, and told him that it was out of respect–my clients and associates were pretty sharp and thus I thought they might be ‘negative EV’ for him. He thought for a second and then responded:

‘Ten is always going to go into eleven’.

Sports betting finally has mainstream media legitimacy in North America. They might be new to the game but people have been betting on sports all over the world for a long time now. It’s not anything new. There’s definitely a lot that sportsbooks and sports media can do to leverage technology, but there’s no reason to try and ‘reinvent the wheel’. I don’t know how (or if) you could properly research this but I’m willing to wager that the demographic profile of sports bettors hasn’t changed much over the past couple of decades. ‘Ten will always go into eleven’ and it would benefit all of the corporate newcomers to the sports betting ecosystem to realize that the bookmaking business didn’t begin with the fall of PASPA.

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