What Does Turner Sports Gain By Partnering With DraftKings, FanDuel?

Posted on October 27, 2020 - Last Updated on October 28, 2020

Legal sportsbooks race to claim digital and television real estate. Turner Sports‘ recent deals with DraftKings and FanDuel are the latest iterations.

The question for sportsbooks becomes whether these partnerships prove to be a wise investment. Well, it heavily depends on whether it drives people to sports betting apps in places like Iowa.

Details of the Turner sports betting deals

Akin to PointsBet’s deal with NBC Sports, this puts DraftKings and FanDuel in front of viewers of live sporting events. Turner’s holdings include Bleacher Report, NBA Digital, TBS and TNT.

Viewers of NBA content on these channels will see FanDuel references. For everything else, it’s DraftKings. That everything else includes programming from:

  • MLB
  • NCAA men’s basketball tournament
  • PGA

While the exact amounts of these two operators paid for this access isn’t public information, it likely didn’t come cheap. The 888 Holdings US chief Yaniv Sherman called such partnerships likely “very expensive” for the sportsbooks.

This isn’t the only media partnership for either brand, either. DraftKings has a similar deal with ESPN, while FanDuel has signed Pat McAfee to a contract for the same purpose.

In essence, it’s a commercial within the content for the sportsbooks. Their hope is that the odds presented will put the idea in bettors’ minds and from there, bettors will act upon that idea.

It may take a lot of those conversions for DraftKings and FanDuel to break even on these deals, much less turn a profit. Among bettors in IA, the key to that maybe the NCAA and its member institutions embracing gambling.

Marketing college sports wagers of pivotal importance in IA

With no major professional sports teams within the borders of the Hawkeye State, the Cyclones and Hawkeyes are the biggest show around. That limits the value of this deal in IA.

To date, the NCAA and most of its member institutions want to keep sports betting at arm’s length. The word “most” applies because the University of Colorado has essentially become an affiliate for PointsBet.

Despite that divergence from the norm, the NCAA is still likely to frown upon betting markets on March Madness games touted on TBS during those games. It’s even possible that such references would violate the contract between the NCAA and Turner.

While that might suit the NCAA’s purpose, it’s a bummer for DraftKings and FanDuel in IA. Broadcasts of Iowa State University and University of Iowa sporting events might be their best chance to entice bettors in the state.

It’s possible that DraftKings and FanDuel could still realize some value from this deal overall. The potential for IA bettors to contribute to that value may hinge upon changing attitudes within college sports.

Photo by AP Photo / Michael Conroy
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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