Verizon is going all in on sports betting as it looks to finally get some value from those acquisitions of AOL and Yahoo.
The telecoms giant sunk around $9billion into building out a media empire, but as yet there is little to show for it. Step forward sports betting.
Verizon and BetMGM
Verizon has partnered with budding sportsbook giant BetMGM to get in on the gambling Gold Rush, and 18 months in the service is now live in some nine states.
While using AOL and Yahoo to take on ad giants Facebook and Google is now a distant memory, the telecoms giant does see its current media division as the perfect conduit to betting riches.
Yahoo Sports and its Fantasy Football League, as well as blue-chip streaming rights for the National Football League (NFL), do give Verizon some powerful weapons to make a splash in a hugely competitive market.
The company has 900million digital users to target, and its media division chief Guru Gowrappan sees sports media properties and fantasy as just one step away from betting. All Verizon needs to do now is “close the loop”.
He told London’s Financial Times: “We know you consume sports scores and content [and] you also use Yahoo Fantasy sports, which is more like gaming. The next step for you is to go bet.”
Media + betting = $$$
Verizon’s play is a complete common sense step, given the way media and betting are already heavily linked in the U.S. market.
Penn National Gaming now owns a sizeable chunk of controversial media brand Barstool Sports, while Rupert Murdoch also has skin in the game by partnering his TV and digital behemoth with Flutter’s The Stars Group to launch FOX Bet.
Other high-profile partnerships include Turner Sports linking up with Bleacher Reports and Caesars inking a long-term pact with ‘Worldwide Leader’ ESPN.
Expect more of these media/sports betting marriages in the months to come – sportsbooks right now want market share and eyeballs. Media properties with huge audiences give them just that. It should be a marriage made in heaven.
The legal sports betting market in the U.S. is expected to worth approaching $10billion annually by 2025 – a prize worth fighting for we think you’ll agree…