How media companies like Barstool Sports and Bleacher Report are taking advantage of legal sports betting


Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) runs against Virginia during the first half of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

  • Media brands like Barstool Sports and Bleacher Report are trying to capitalize on the growing share of people in the US who bet on live sports matchups. 
  • These companies are going after the lucrative advertising revenue that could come from creating content for gamblers.
  • Business Insider breaks down the approaches to sports betting at Barstool Sports, Bleacher Report, and other media companies.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Sports media companies plunged into the burgeoning market for sports betting in 2019, as the gaming category became legal in more US states.

Some media companies, like Fox, are angling to get a piece of the gaming revenue that’s generated from gambling on sporting events. The legacy media company launched this year the sportsbook, Fox Bet, with Canadian gaming operator, The Stars Group.

But even more sports media companies are pursuing the lucrative advertising, sponsorship, affiliate, and other revenue that could come from creating content for gamblers.

Bleacher Report’s strategy is to entertain as much as inform

Digital media brand Bleacher Report is courting sports bettors through its gambling vertical, B/R Betting, to boost engagement on its platforms.

The company says gamblers are five times more engaged within the Bleacher Report app than non-bettors. A good share — about 82% — of its largely millennial audience are also sports bettors or interested in betting.

CEO Howard Mittman told Business Insider that Bleacher Report is pursuing sports bettors with new content that’s meant to entertain, on top of offering stats and picks, like other outlets.

Read the full story: Inside Bleacher Report’s strategy to win over sports gamblers, who it says are 5 times more engaged with its app than other sports fans

Barstool Sports and others are vying to be the main hubs for sports gamblers

Meanwhile, Barstool Sports, which started in 2003 as a print newsletter for sports gamblers, is going back to its roots with its app, Barstool Bets, which launched in September.

The app is Barstool’s dedicated hub for all things sports betting. It leverages Barstool’s boisterous online personalities and a new free-to-play betting game, to entertain, inform, and get people accustomed to betting on live matchups.

The goal is to build a robust database of new and experienced sports betters to attract new advertising dollars, and revenue streams, like affiliate, as more states legalize the activity. 

Go inside the strategy: Inside Barstool Sports’ strategy to become advertising’s gateway to gamblers with its new sports betting app, Barstool Bets

Barstool isn’t the only media company vying to be the hub for sports gamblers.

The Action Network, created by the Chernin Group in 2017, has an app where gamblers can track their bets across sportsbooks. It’s also using in-depth stats and analysis to draw in bettors, and has been striking content and other deals with companies like Yahoo Sports, Nascar, PointsBet, William Hill, and DraftKings, to expand its footprint.

Other media companies are trying to evolve how live sports are broadcast

Other media companies are also interested in changing the way live sports are broadcast.

Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSIN), which dedicated its network to sports gambling before it became legal in more parts of the US, is exploring the possibility of alternative sports broadcasts that cater to bettors.

Imagine one broadcast on ESPN for general sports fans, and another on a platform like VSIN with anchors who share stats and other details specifically for gamblers.

These alternative broadcasts are likely still a few years out. Today, VSIN has sports-betting channels on streaming-TV services like Sling TV and FuboTV; a satellite-radio station on SiriusXM; content on networks like the MSG Network; and video on its own website and mobile app, for which it also sells subscriptions.

Read the full story: How media companies can capitalize on the sports betting boom, according to a founder who bet on the space before it was big

Alternative broadcasts are just one of the ways sports betting could influence media rights deals with sports leagues.

Sports-rights owners, like Nascar, are also hoping that the growth of legal gambling will make sports fans more engaged in live broadcasts.

Sports betting could become a bargaining chip for sports-rights owners in their next big negotiations with media networks starting in 2021.

Read the full story: Legal sports betting could be a game-changer for NFL, Nascar, and others in US media-rights negotiations

SEE ALSO: Meet the 22 power players leading the explosion of the US sports betting space

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