Will We Soon See a Sports Wagering TV Network?
- More a question of “when” not IF we will soon see a 24-hr sports wagering cable channel
- VSiN and ESPN are moving the sports wagering broadcast needle ahead rapidly
- Sports Grid’s streaming option a landmark for the all-inclusive sports wagering broadcast network
Asking whether we will see a 24-hour television channel devoted entirely to sports wagering, handicapping and analysis seems rhetorical. At the lightspeed we are progressing in our US sports wagering universe, it seems more a matter of not IF but when?
From the moment a casual to hardcore sports bettor opens their eyes in the morning, the lines devoted to virtually any game they desire are waiting for them. Grasping for their cell phone offers opportunities from their own personal betting websites to a variety of long-established dedicated wagering sites including Scores and Odds, Don Best, Vegas Insider, etc. No one has the excuse for not knowing who is favored, the game’s total, proposition bets, and way beyond.
We also cannot seem to think we should be surprised by this or did not see it coming. When the Supreme Court officially deemed sports wagering legal in the US on May 14th, 2018, all bets were on, not of how to take advantage of the opportunity.
VSiN First Out of the Gate
Give entrepreneurial VSiN (the Vegas Stats and Information Network) credit for getting the system started dedicated to fully directed programming. Founded in 2017, it broadcasts from studios at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. VSiN streams radio programming online via its website, and via an audio simulcast on SiriusXM channel 204.
VSiN brings the audience insights from authoritative sources dedicated to sports betting. Their aim is to inform and entertain on multiple platforms with respected, known sports personalities, starting with Hall of Fame broadcaster Brent Musburger. Joined by his son, co-founder, and President Brian Musberger, their roster of talent in the Las Vegas gaming industry includes oddsmakers Jimmy Vaccaro, Vinny Magliulo, and Chris Andrews.
VSiN began broadcasting Betting Across America live from BetMGM Sportsbooks and studios in select large sports betting markets across the country on weekdays from 3-5 PM. ET/Noon-PM PT and weekends from 1-3 PM ET/10-Noon PT. BetMGM oddsmakers and experts are joining VSiN hosts live to deliver wagering perspectives as the odds and lines move at BetMGM Sportsbooks across the country.
This month VSiN opened another studio at the new Rivers Casino in Illinois with perhaps other locations forecast depending on rapid changes in the market. With a pun intended, stay tuned.
ESPN the Logical Candidate
Seizing the meteoric rise and interest in US sports wagering, ESPN owns the obvious favorite role to create a potential 24-hour cable channel dedicated to sports wagering. They have proven a successful formula for adding niche sports news and other streamline channels for specific audiences. With momentum and demand building quickly, sports wagering could be next.
The only obstacle is delivering to a universal national audience. However, the interest in sports gambling across the US has opened the doors to dozens of broadcasts targeted to sports wagering. With 18 states now offering legal sportsbooks, and another four almost ready for 2020, there is a viable majority. Another seven states are in the legislation stage for 2021 including key state market New York. Ambitiously, about 60-65% of the nation will have some type of regulated sports wagering coverage over the next year.
ESPN has begun their quest with a new show gaining popularity on ESPN2 called “The Daily Wager”. It is scheduled at a prime-time news spot on weekdays at 6 PM ET. On Sunday, football fans can watch for the most important updated version at 9 AM ET.
The Daily Wager is hosted by Doug Kerzirian, a former sports director and reporter for the Las Vegas media outlet KTNV-TV. He has also served as an anchor on ESPN since 2012. Kerzirian’s contract was just recently renewed. Speaking about the new broadcast he commented:
On a personal level, I’m thrilled that I’m able to stay with ESPN and continue what we started in the betting space. I have been along for the ride for many years, including hosting Daily Wager and I think this move to Las Vegas is just the latest step in the overall vision that ESPN has for sports betting. I’m incredibly fortunate and grateful that the team believes in me to help launch this in Las Vegas.
The show also has an authentic, 6,000 square foot new home. It is now broadcast from a studio created inside the LINQ Hotel in Las Vegas. The Daily Wager was previously broadcast from ESPN’s studio in Connecticut.
Sports Grid – A TV Streaming Reality
The reality of a 24-hour sports wagering television concept has indeed already arrived. That is, for subscribers willing to pay for it via streaming access.
SportsGrid Network is a digital-first linear streaming programming service providing real-time coverage of pre and in-game odds, data, stats, and gaming intelligence for the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college sports, golf, tennis, and soccer. According to their website, the network offers 18 hours of live programming, available for streaming on Pluto TV, Xumo, STIRR, Samsung TV, and most recently Sling TV. Their mission is to combine insightful expert commentary with real-time delivery of news, data, statistics, and sports betting intelligence.
The sister station to SportsGrid TV is the SportsGrid Radio Network which features full sports wagering and fantasy sports programming 24/7. It streams nationwide on iHeart, TuneIn, the SportsGrid Radio app, and terrestrial radio stations throughout the US. In launching interviews, President and co-founder Louis Maione stated he had a vision of creating “the CNBC for the sports, fantasy and gambling world”.
The SportsGrid Network carries both live and original programming, and features a team of on-air personalities including Scott Ferrall, along with guest analysts. The Network streams live from a state-of-the-art television production facility located in New York City adjacent to Madison Square Garden and at the Meadowlands inside the FanDuel Sportsbook.
Betting on What’s Next
Look for some convergence likely to come from any of these combined sources soon. It has become quite noticeable how much television advertising exposure giants DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel have received within the last few months. That is expected to continue into October and November with at least three of the major US sports still in action. Joining the competition soon will be BetMGM with exposure from other sportsbooks as well.
Noticeable airtime and graphics involving lines on games accompanied by advertisers is also apparent. More time devoted by ESPN adds more credence to the demand from a growing customer base. Don’t bet against a new fully programmed 24 hr. sports wagering channel finding its way into your cable lineup in the near future.
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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.