Is Sports Wagering-TV Connected Business Moving Too Slowly?

Finding the right sports programming model remains difficult -- especially with networks, pay TV services, and regional sports networks that are looking for some extra boosts in revenue through sports-wagering enterprises.

Fox Corp. was an early starter when it invested in Fox Bet with The Stars Group.

Fox has an option to buy 50% of that business. But Ireland-based Flutter Entertainment now has a controlling interest, and may not feel it needs much of Fox Bet, which is now only in four states.

That is because Flutter owns the much larger FanDuel. Fox also has a lesser option to purchase a nearly 19% stake in FanDuel. But that's not all of it.

While sports wagering is growing -- in 30 states so far -- there are still many transitions from major players.

Right now, FanDuel has 40% of the market, with DraftKings at 29% and Fox Bet at 1%.



Other sports TV programming business -- Sinclair Broadcast Group's Diamond Sports and sports TV-focused fuboTV, a virtual pay TV provider -- are only getting started.

The idea among sports TV networks -- including Fox's FS1 and Disney-ABC's ESPN -- is to promote the sports-wagering product on their own airwaves through straight-ahead advertising or sports-wagering content based TV shows. But the problem is that since the market is not fully national, there are a lot of holes to fill, and not all interested viewers can play.

To an extent, regional sports networks may have an easier situation in those specific markets where sports wagering is fully legal and well-connected to the sport TV content on those regional networks.

The idea -- whether with sports wagering, fantasy, or free-to-play games -- is that engagement with sports can be a broader connection with TV consumers.

Before the current market of growing sports-wagering operations, TV executives alway knew that the smaller and more intense market of veteran heavy sports bettors were the most attentive and engaged viewers.

Lachlan Murdoch -- the executive chairman of Fox Corp, who has been frustrated by the slow pace of Fox Bet's growth -- as well as other TV executives believe sports-betting operations could be a key revenue element to help pay the ever-increasing sports TV rights fees, especially from the likes of the NFL.

Is it time for those invested in sports-wagering enterprises with related sports TV networks and TV shows to moderate expectations? Less parlay, please!

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