Fox Sports enters betting sphere with Stars deal

The Fox Sports division of US network Fox has made a significant move into sports betting through an agreement with Stars Group that will lead to the launch of Fox Bet, the first-of-its-kind national media and sports wagering partnership in the US.

The commercial agreement, which was announced on Wednesday, will run for up to 25 years. Under the deal, Fox Sports will acquire a 4.99-per-cent stake in Stars for around $236m (€210.8m).

Fox Sports has the right acquire up to a 50-per-cent equity stake in Stars’ US business prior to the 10th anniversary of the commercial agreement, and subject to certain conditions and applicable gaming regulatory approvals.

Stars Group and Fox Sports expect to launch two products in the autumn under the Fox Bet umbrella. One will be a nationwide free-to-play game, awarding cash prizes to players who correctly predict the outcome of sports matches.

The second product, which will be named Fox Bet, will give customers in states with regulated betting the opportunity to place real money wagers on the outcome of a wide range of sporting events in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations.

Under the commercial agreement, Fox Sports will grant to Stars an exclusive license for the use of certain Fox Sports trademarks for a range of immersive games and online sports wagering, and certain exclusive advertising and editorial integration rights on certain Fox Sports broadcast media and digital assets.

As part of the transaction, Fox Sports will receive certain brand license, integration and affiliate fees. In addition, Stars has agreed to a minimum annual advertising commitment on certain Fox media assets during the term of the commercial agreement.

The agreement was announced as Indiana became the second state this week to legalise sports wagering, following Montana. The announcements also came a week before the anniversary of a US Supreme Court decision allowing all 50 states to offer legal sports betting, should they choose to do so. Following Indiana and Montana, 10 states can now provide legal sports betting.

Eric Shanks, chief executive and executive producer of Fox Sports, said: “Digital sports wagering represents a growing market opportunity that allows us to diversify our revenue streams, connect directly with consumers and expand the reach of the Fox Sports brand.”

Rafi Ashkenazi, chief executive of the Stars Group, added: “We believe this strategic partnership uniquely positions us to build a leading betting business in the US, which represents one of the most exciting long-term growth opportunities for our company.

“Leveraging our proven media partnership strategy with Sky Sports in the UK, we are excited to partner with Fox Sports to integrate wagering into sports media and drive customer acquisition and retention in the US.”