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Friday, June 18, 2021

The Associated Press Bets On Sports With FanDuel Partnership

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In an industry where advertising revenue has been shrinking for decades, The Associated Press has found a reliable revenue stream—gamblers. The AP cut a deal to make FanDuel, the sports betting company, its exclusive provider of sports odds across AP’s global sports reports.

Under the terms of the agreement, which Axios first reported, FanDuel Sportsbook will pay the AP to cite its odds in sports stories, game previews, and daily sports odds fixtures. The AP will have editorial control of all content.

According to an internal memo obtained by Forbes, an AP editor described the partnership with FanDuel Sportsbook as “valuable” and “long-term.” Starting last month, every story AP publishes that mentions betting lines, a favorite, or other gambling information now cites FanDuel’s odds and links to FanDuel Sportsbook. FanDuel widgets will appear on the sports pages of APNews.com and FanDuel content will be distributed across the AP wire. Financial details of the partnership have not been disclosed.

This type of partnership is nothing new for the 175-year-old news organization. Previously, AP had been using odds from Pregame.com for six years. The memo explained that part of the funds from the partnership will go to the AP Sports budget.

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Surging interest in sports betting, which is quickly expanding across the U.S. after being legalized in 2018, helped fuel the deal, the company explained to its employees.

“We have heard from dozens of customers over the last six months asking for more sports gambling stories on the wire and gambling info in our fixtures,” the internal memo said. “We know that a huge increase in interest in sports over the past two years has been due to the expansion of legal sports gambling, which will soon be available in more than half of the country. We’ll look for more smart ways to serve that readership.”

Barry Bedlan, AP’s global director of text and new markets products, is responsible for reeling in the partnership. “It makes sense to work with one of the largest reputable sportsbooks in the United States to provide a consistent, credible reference point for AP and its customers,” Bedlan said in a statement.

“We want more context in our reporting,” Bedlan told Axios. “That’s ultimately what this is about.”

The partnership also fits into FanDuel’s strategy of expanding into content and media, FanDuel’s chief marketing officer Mike Raffensperger told Axios. FanDuel has other media partnerships that ran across television and digital properties, including Hulu, NBC, The Ringer, CBS, Turner Sports and more.

Last December, Flutter Entertainment agreed to pay $4.175 billion to expand its stake in FanDuel to 95%, up from 57.8%.



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