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Fox Sports announced a partnership with The Stars Group that will culminate in the creation of a sports betting app called FOX Bet.
In addition to the betting app, the partnership will also bring a nationwide free game that awards prizes to players who correctly predict the outcome of games.
Eric Shanks, CEO and executive producer of FOX Sports told Sports Illustrated that FOX Bet will another branch of the company’s sports offerings.
“FOX Sports is already synonymous with the best live sports events in the country and now we are expanding the way we immerse fans in the sports culture they love,” Shanks said.
“Digital sports wagering represents a growing market opportunity that allows us to diversify our revenue streams, connect directly with consumers and expand the reach of the FOX Sports brand.”
Fox paid $236 million for a 5% stake in the online gambling operator.
The Stars Group has already penetrated the U.S. betting market with the app, BetStars, that is in use in New Jersey.
The belief is that The Stars Group technology will fuel the structure of FOX Bet that will be available in all states where online sports betting is legalized.
Fox becomes the first major US network that has partnered with a sports betting operator.
Comcast-NBC flirted with creating NBC Sports Bet earlier in the year but tabled the plans after a shakeup in leadership.
Comcast-NBC could revisit the app in light of the Fox announcement.
Stars Chief Executive Officer Rafi Ashkenazi believes that the partnership will bring together two companies that need one another to move content and fuel betting.
The companies will create a free app that will simulate actual betting but allow players to pick winners for cash prizes.
“Free-to-play games are an effective way to convert customers to real money games, and they drive customer acquisition and engagement,” Ashkenazi said.
Another part of the agreement is that The Stars Group will be allowed an exclusive license for 25 years to Fox Sports trademarks.
The company also agreed to spend a fixed amount each year on advertising on Fox networks.
The announcement of FOX Bet brings the first ever marriage of a sports betting app with a rights holder to major professional U.S. leagues.
Fox Sports has the rights to NFL, MLB and college football.
Fox Sports CEO & Exec Producer Eric Shanks told Bloomberg that the app will seamlessly integrate with their Fox Sports One and radio network lineups.
“There’ll be certain places, like our FS1 show ‘Lock It In,’ where it’s going to be tightly integrated,” Shanks said.
“Probably on some of our radio shows that are on television, more tightly integrated.”
“You will see integrations in our pregame shows, but sitting here today, just announcing this deal, we still have a lot of work to do to say exactly how all of that’s going to be.”
Perhaps the biggest possibility of the agreement is that Fox Sports has a 10-year option to buy 50% of The Stars Group U.S. business.
With the potential of a huge sports betting expansion across America, Fox may be picking up the option far in advance of the decade-long deadline.
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