In a historic moment for the fast-growing sports betting market, a major U.S. sports network is partnering with a global leader in mobile gaming to create a sports wagering platform.
FOX Sports announced it was purchasing about 5 percent of The Stars Group, the parent of PokerStars, for almost $236 million. The result is FOX Bet, the first-of-its kind national media and sports wagering partnership in the United States.
Though other networks have dipped a toe into the sport betting world, for example NBC Sports aired an online betting show in conjunction with The Kentucky Derby on Saturday, this is the first time a major broadcast network has gone all-in to partner with a licensed gambling operator.
“FOX Sports is already synonymous with the best live sports events in the country and now we are expanding the way we immerse fans in the sports culture they love,” Eric Shanks, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Producer of FOX Sports, said in prepared statement. “Digital sports wagering represents a growing market opportunity that allows us to diversify our revenue streams, connect directly with consumers and expand the reach of the FOX Sports brand.”
As part of the deal, the pair are expected to launch two products in the fall:
- An unnamed nationwide free-to-play game which will award cash prizes who correctly predict the outcome of a game
- FOX Bet, a live wagering app, will launch in states with legal, regulated betting, giving patrons an opportunity to place real-money wagers on the outcome of a wide range of sporting events.
“We believe this strategic partnership uniquely positions us to build a leading betting business in the U.S., which represents one of the most exciting long-term growth opportunities for our company,” Rafi Ashkenazi, Chief Executive Officer of The Stars Group said in a news release. “Leveraging our proven media partnership strategy with Sky Sports in the UK, we are excited to partner with FOX Sports to integrate wagering into sports media and drive customer acquisition and retention in the U.S.”
This partnership was announced one week before the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme ruling that made it possible for sports betting to expand outside Nevada.
Under the agreement, FOX Sports will grant exclusive rights up to 25 years to The Stars Group use of certain FOX Sports trademarks for a range of immersive games and online sports wagering. That use extends to certain exclusive advertising and editorial integration rights on some FOX Sports broadcast media and digital assets. Stars Group has agreed to a minimum annual advertising commitment on some FOX media assets.
Before the 10th anniversary of the agreement, FOX Sports has the option to acquire up to a 50 percent equity state in The Stars Group’s business in the United States.
The Stars Group owns or licenses several gambling brands, including PokerStars, PokerStars Casino, BetStars, Full Tilt, BetEasy, Sky Bet, Sky Casino, Oddschecker and more.