Remember the days when major media outlets pushed sports betting under the rug? Even veiled references to point spreads and over/unders were nowhere to be found. Of course, the ones that were found were met with sharp reprimands from admins and bigwigs at those networks.
Now, with PASPA dead, buried, and rotting away somewhere, the major sports networks and media outlets can’t get enough of gambling. It was only a matter of time until the mainstream sports media sunk its claws into sports betting and found a way to capitalize on its growing popularity. The world of legalized sports betting has opened up so much content and just about every major player in the sports media landscape has a division dedicated to gambling.
ESPN is partnered with Caesars. Fox Bet became partners with the Stars Group and now its own sports betting platform. Canadian-based sports scores and news site The Score has its own incarnation of legalized wagering with theScore Bet.
And now, the most recent partnership, comes in the form of Yahoo Sports and BetMGM. It was only a matter of time until MGM, whose closest competitor around the globe is Caesars, came to an agreement to get one of the big media players in its corner. It turns out that Yahoo Sports, owned by Verizon Media, is that big player.
The agreement is going to integrate the Yahoo Sports and BetMGM apps together and gives Yahoo another revenue stream with an affiliate program of epic proportions. Yahoo had itself dabbled in the world of sports gambling, putting together its own daily fantasy contests in an attempt to go head-to-head with DraftKings and FanDuel. It only makes sense that Yahoo will go up against those same companies in a betting context as well.
App users in states where sports betting is legal are going to see BetMGM odds integrated into the software and there will be prompts to click through and either make live wagers or make bets on upcoming games. The hope on MGM’s side is that Yahoo, which has arguably the largest fantasy sports market share in terms of season-long leagues, can bring the younger demographic to the BetMGM app. Right now, several sports betting apps are having a hard time getting that demographic because of the DraftKings and FanDuels of the world. Those sites were out there in front of that young demo with the DFS contests and a barrage of advertising. MGM is known more among casino players with its properties around the world. Now, MGM’s reach can be a lot larger and the convenience provided to app users with the meshing of the two apps and the two brands should drive a lot of revenue.
What will be fascinating to follow is how the leagues themselves continue to embrace sports betting. The major pro leagues came to advertising deals with the DFS companies long before PASPA was overturned in May 2018. Obviously, the regional sports networks owned by Fox give the Fox Sports brand a real leg up on the competition in terms of promotion of its Fox Bet app. Yahoo’s close working relationships with so many teams, organizations, and leagues is likely to have a significant impact on the visibility of the BetMGM app. MGM also has a television presence through its partnership with NBC Sports.
We knew that this new frontier of legalized sports betting was going to create a lot of media opportunities, but to see it all happening so fast in a world that some never thought was possible speaks to how ludicrous it was that PASPA existed and limited sports betting. The leagues and the networks, despite their public opposition, were secretly waiting, wishing, and hoping that they could tap into the large sports betting economy. Now that they can, they are leaving no stone unturned.
Most of the major operators now have big partnerships to provide gambling content through several key channels. More of these lucrative deals are sure to come. For the consumer, this is a good thing, as betting has never been more convenient through safe and legal channels. The integration of so many functions and features that will allow you to simply go from checking scores and reading news to placing bets with a few swipes of your finger on a mobile device is a long way from having to meet up with or call your bookie. It is impossible to put a price on the peace of mind that comes from using these 100% legal apps over offshore sportsbooks in Central America or the Caribbean.
As major media continues to embrace sports betting, more consumers will as well. We’ve already seen the effects of mobile betting in states like Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia, and Nevada. More states are going to approve sports betting and more states are going to come online in 2020 as legislatures reconvene and realize just how much they are missing out by not having this tax revenue stream.
For more on the BetMGM app, check out our review.