‘Walk before you run’: Sports publishers look to blow out their betting content

Digiday 24 Sep 2020 04:01
September 24, 2020 by Max Willens

Sports media is betting big on sports gambling this season.

As the 2020 NFL season kicked off a few weeks ago, coverage from many of the largest sports media companies has been augmented with a different kind of content.

Some, such as CBS Sports, featured a banner with odds provided by the sports book William Hill. Others, such as NBC Sports, had team- and sport-specific ads from PointsBet layered into content for readers located in states including Illinois, New Jersey and Virginia; a person in Illinois reading an article about the Chicago White Sox might see an ad offering 100-to-1 odds with PointsBet that the team will win the World Series.

The shifts are not accidental. Over the past 12 months, several large sports media brands, including NBC Sports, CBS Sports, ESPN and Bleacher Report have signed partnership deals with sports books including DraftKings, MGM and PointsBet.

While not every deal is structured the same, the largest arrangements are potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars: PointsBet is committed to spending almost $400 million with NBC Sports over the next five years, plus commissions for driving customers. NBC Sports also gets a 5% stake in PointsBet, whose shares mature in five years.

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