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Crossing another new border in the path between sports wagering and the media, FanDuel announced that Kenny “The Jet” Smith, two-time NBA Finals winner and analyst for TNT’s popular show Inside the NBA will directly join the company in an exclusive partnership content deal.
The new partnership arrangement designates FanDuel as the exclusive sports betting and daily fantasy provider for Smith, who will appear in FanDuel advertising and TNT promotions featuring free-to-play contests. Smith will also provide unique content for FanDuel Group’s social media channels.
While integrating as an official member of the FanDuel team with his Inside the NBA teammate Charles Barkley, FanDuel will introduce a new free-to-play game exclusively for Turner Sports featuring between 8 to 12 Over/Under the Total type questions.
During the balance of the NBA season on Tuesday and Thursday nights including the playoffs, participants will be able to test their knowledge each game night with Smith. The FanDuel Over/Under contest will be integrated into the Inside the NBA program on TNT broadcasts, while fans compete to win a share of a $5,000 prize pool.
In selecting Kenny Smith, Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel Group Chief Marketing Officer said that his combination of knowledge and humor made him an excellent fit for an individual FanDuel deal. One that will let FanDuel do more with him than they had under the previous Turner deal.
Raffensperger offered these additional comments about the new partnership with Smith:
First of all, Kenny is just a great, awesome person, and I think FanDuel is really happy to be aligning ourselves with him in more of an official endorser and spokesperson role. We have the TNT partnership and he’s marquee talent within that show and engagement with FanDuel is a part of that, but there are things we want to do outside of that in extending that relationship. He’ll be helping us create questions, and there will be his questions of the night. And as we go through time, there will be other ways we can get him more deeply involved, actually using him as talent to help voice some of our promotions around the game. There are some really exciting things we have in store from a direct relationship with Kenny; there’s social media we want to do with him, there’s content we want to develop with him.
Smith was equally excited about creating the FanDuel opportunity within his responsibilities for Inside the NBA on TNT and said:
Partnering with FanDuel has been a great addition to Inside the NBA. I am looking forward to collaborating with FanDuel on future projects, as well as, interacting with our viewers each night through FanDuel’s new free-to-play game that will become a bigger part of our broadcasts.
The announcement furthers FanDuel’s commitment to the NBA and continues their growing public relations bridge to basketball. With the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament about to begin and the NBA Playoffs not far away, expect FanDuel and basketball to be extensively linked for bettors.
Last year FanDuel signed a deal with Turner Sports to promote FanDuel during NBA broadcasts. DraftKings Sportsbook also has a deal with Turner but FanDuel has been granted exclusive rights to NBA content.
The partnership with Smith extends the Inside the NBA connection as FanDuel previously signed fellow Inside the NBA analyst and retired NBA star Charles Barkley to be a brand ambassador for the company.
The free-to-play game debuted on Thursday evening within the broadcast of the Brooklyn Nets vs the Boston Celtics on TNT. Watch for Smith introducing FanDuel along with the Over/Under game again next Tuesday night on Inside the NBA.
Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.
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