Kay Adams is getting ready to roll the dice on a new opportunity.
The former NFL Network host is launching a new morning show that will lean heavily on betting talk, all on a cable network operated by one of the biggest betting facilitators in the business: FanDuel. She can talk endlessly about getting a speeding ticket in Los Angeles or the kinds of things that might be featured in the new HBO series House of Dragons. But she’s also willing to mix it up with guests and knowledgeable pundits about making odds and betting on upcoming sports games.
Sports betting “is part of our game. It’s the future of the industry,” says Adams. “I want to be on the right side of this.”
Her new show will serve as one of FanDuel TV’s signature offerings, the launch of which represents the first entry of one of the industry’s leading legalized sportsbook operators into the media business. To be sure, ESPN2 features a regular betting show, “The Daily Bet.” DraftKings, one of FanDuel’s biggest rivals, produces a podcast series. And Caesars Entertainment struck a deal in June with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions to produce podcasts and digital series.
But none of them have a 24-hour TV schedule. FanDuel is betting on the power of linear TV (with accompanying broadband) at a time when that business has more skeptics than in the past. General entertainment and sports entities that rely on cable for distribution have seen their subscribers and audiences shrink, and more consumers have moved to broadcast venues to watch their favorite programs.
FanDuel launches its network in an effort to legalize certain types of gambling across the country. The market for legal sports betting is seen growing from $4.3 billion in 2021 to $19.7 billion in 2026, according to estimates from Ellers & Krejcik, a market research firm. Currently, 36 states allow legal betting, with 58% of the adult US population residing in one of those states. Advertisers who want to lure the gambling crowd can use a national media outlet that caters to them.
As digital companies acquire sports rights, they are making games more interactive. Amazon’s Prime Video, for example, will surround its “Thursday Night Football” streams with alternate fare and the ability to explore stats and highlights, all with the click of a button.
FanDuel isn’t starting over. It has owned cable network TVG – primarily focused on horse racing and formerly part of TV Guide Inc. – for years, part of an acquisition made by a predecessor company. But his efforts just might create, if not the next ESPN or Fox Sports, then certainly the next ESPN or Fox Sports of sports betting.
“I’m rebuilding TVG as FanDuel TV to be the first network built from the ground up that’s designed to be watched with a phone in hand,” Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel’s chief commercial officer, said in an interview. “Every single frame on the screen will have something you can interact with.”
Both FanDuel and its broadband counterpart FanDuel+ will go live in September. Adams’ new 11 weekday program isn’t the only offering. Pat McAfee’ PMI Network will produce content to be used in FanDuel TV’s weekly programming block. Ringer, the sports and culture center backed by Bill Simmons, will provide material from its podcasts and digital networks. “More Ways to Win,” hosted by former ESPN anchor Lisa Kerney, will continue to appear on the network. FanDuel TV will also feature international basketball thanks to a new licensing deal with Sportradrar that will give it more than 3,000 hours of live international sports to show, and FanDuel TV will continue to highlight its horse racing coverage has long been available on TVG.
FanDuel hopes to break the mold, Raffensperger says. “The world doesn’t need highly analytical, X’s and O’s of gambling. There’s a lot of that stuff out there, and honestly, I don’t think it can always be that interesting,” he says. “I’m interested in creating something that features voices like Kay’s who are unique, authentic and have a real engagement with their audience and who can cross the games into broader editorial stories in sports and culture.”
Adams, the sportscaster, expects to speak to a new type of sports audience, one that plans to interact with the games they watch instead of passively receiving them. “For me, the success of this show will be building a community that is ready for the future of what sports content looks like,” she adds.