Murdoch Enters U.S. Sports Betting Market with FOX Bet
A media giant hopes to capitalize on the proliferation of sports betting in America, in the wake of the Supreme Court reversal of a federal law. After the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned, the race was on for states to legislate sports betting into existence. Since then, there have been new locations popping up everywhere, and the online and mobile angle has been added to make it even more convenient for customers.
is Murdoch Really Entering The U.S. Sports Betting Market with FOX Bet?
Mainstream media, which for the most part has avoided the sports betting discussion or handled it badly because of lack of expertise, is now diving in, as they seek to attract the attention of the casual bettor. And now Fox Corp has taken the boldest move yet.
The Rupert Murdoch-owned organization, which is a rights-holder for NFL games, is launching FOX Bet, which will enable customers to place wagers through a phone app, while providing content as well. It represents a very comprehensive push to exploit the Fox brand to cash in on an activity that had heretofore been “taboo” to the major sports league. Morality matters less when there is money to be made, one supposes.
The Stars Group
Actually, in this venture Murdoch’s company is less involved in the actual bookmaking business than it is in the business of lending its “brand” name to an enterprise that can appeal to a new and growing market. They have enlisted a company called The Stars Group (TSG) as a tech/gaming partner. They do own about 5% of TSG on the basis of a $236 million investment. And so this raises the question of whether if there are problems with the service – in terms of customers getting paid in a timely fashion, for example – how much could that conceivably damage the Fox brand?
While Fox may be entering a whole new sphere, Murdoch has initiated a couple of ventures like this overseas. When he had Sky TV, he developed Sky Bet, which took advantage of his media presence. And it was successful (Comcast now owns Sky). But Sun Bets, which was established in association with his newspaper, The Sun, along with Australia-based Tabcorp Holdings, didn’t work out so well, and was closed down last year.
For Casual Sports Bettors?
The real value in this for Fox may not be so much in making a killing off the casual sports bettor, but instead in being able to engage fans and keep them involved. They will, in fact, be utilizing some of their on-air personalities, like Colin Cowherd and Nick Wright, for their insights in the way of “Bet Boosts,” and there will be basic videos explaining the various wagers. It is an approach specifically aimed at the recreational bettor. And Fox Sports, on a separate basis, will be offering a game with sports wagering as its basis, that will be free for the public to play.
FOX Bet has already launched on the Apple IOS and Android platform for customers in the state of New Jersey, and is currently in the midst of a “soft launch” for residents of Pennsylvania, which also permits online and mobile sports betting.