Commentary

Gannett's Sports Betting Deal With Tipico Will Help Diversify Revenue

Gannett this week signed a five-year deal valued at more than $100 million with a sports-betting company. The agreement will help the publisher, whose newspapers include USA Today, to diversify revenue somewhat amid the ongoing pressure on advertising sales.
In the deal with Tipico USA Technology, the U.S. division of German sports betting company Tipico Group will provide betting odds for Gannett’s sports content. The publisher’s websites will show a button or an icon for Tipico that points readers to the online betting platform.
Tipico will pay a referral fee to Gannett for signing up first-time bettors; it will also spend $90 million on advertising and sponsored content that includes columns, blog posts, events and videos. Gannett will receive a 1% equity interest in Tipico USA Technology and an option to expand its ownership to 4.99% in the next five years.
“Our highly engaged audience of more than 46 million sports fans crave analysis, betting insights, odds and unique features which we will provide with our Tipico alliance,” Michael Reed, chairman and CEO of Gannett, stated.
Since completing a merger with GateHouse Media in 2019, Gannett has announced a variety of initiatives to restore revenue growth. Flagship title USA Today this month introduced a digital paywall to generate more reader revenue after offering its content for free.
As advertisers shift their media spending to digital platforms including search and social media, Gannett has experienced years of revenue declines. The company’s advertising marketing and sales revenue fell 20% from a year earlier to $388.4 million in the first quarter, while circulation revenue slipped 13% to $325.4 million.
The agreement with Tipico comes as more states legalize sports betting, leading several news outlets to partner with betting platforms.

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Sports betting company FanDuel in May agreed to pay the Associated Press to show sports odds among news coverage. ViacomCBS’ CBS Sports and Disney's ESPN also teamed with companies to show betting odds, while Fox started its Fox Bet sports betting two years ago in a partnership with The Stars Group.

Legalized sports betting its still in its infancy in the U.S. and its growth present an opportunity for publishers to generate incremental revenue with sports-betting platforms.
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