It’s not often Stryker Maguire is shocked, but when the news came through Tuesday that AP (Associated Press) had inked an exclusive odds deal with FanDuel, this was one of those occasions.
The phrase “Is nothing sacred anymore?” was first to pass his pursed lips, followed swiftly by a string of expletives.
A 175-year-old American nonprofit institution – supposedly known for its fierce independence – decides to take the coin to favor one sportsbook over another. It’s a grim day for journalism in sport.
Per multiple reports, the widely respected news agency has agreed a multi-year pact which will see FD odds included in its sports odds features, game previews and other sports articles. Most of those reports termed the arrangement “unusual“. LOL, we know what that was code for…
AP + FanDuel deal
It’s easy looking from the outside to see why this deal might be attractive to AP. Wire services are not exactly blazing a trail these days – in reality most are struggling to stay afloat commercially.
But despite the grim financial reality facing businesses like AP, this one still leaves a really sour taste in Stryker’s mouth. Props to whoever got the deal over the line for FD, but come on AP…
“As sports betting becomes more commonplace, our customers are increasingly asking for this kind of information,” said Barry Bedlan, AP’s global director of text and new markets products.
Okay Barry, that’s fine to a point, but here’s the deal from a purely logistical standpoint. What if your customers are publishers who already have deals in place with existing sportsbooks? And they don’t want FD odds plastered all over they content they already pay you for? Maybe they pay for the independence AP has always stood for.
So this is not just an ethical war Stryker is waging – it’s a common-sense one too. Has AP really considered the fallout here? Wire services are often attractive because their content is clean and free from conflicting commercial tie-ups. Not any more.
So many questions
Companies like AP supplying content to sportsbooks is one thing – it’s something they’ve always done. Syndicated their stuff to third-party clients. But how often have they done it with a commercial partner baked right in?
Worst case scenario, this is like asking me to pay a premium so my product comes ad-free, and then filling it full of ads. What happens to publishers who no longer afford editors to back-read AP content before it gets published? The ones who just auto-feed it onto their websites? What if they don’t want FanDuel odds?
We’re not finished yet; the deal also means FanDuel widgets will be placed across AP’s website – doesn’t that then make AP a direct competitor of the clients it supplies?
So many questions, and Stryker has other things to do today. Potentially better things. But he figured it was worth his valuable time to at least ask some of the questions currently whirling in his tiny brain. Anybody got the answers?