Kay Adams is getting ready to roll the dice on a new opportunity.
The former NFL Network host is launching a new morning program that will rely heavily on chatter about betting, all on a cable network operated by one of the biggest facilitators of betting in the business: FanDuel, per Variety. She might talk about the over and under on her getting a speeding ticket in Los Angeles or on the types of things that might show up in HBO’s new “House of Dragons” series. But she also stands ready to mix it up with knowledgeable guests and experts on odds-making and wagering on upcoming sports games.
Betting on sports “is a part of our game. It’s the future of the industry,” says Adams. “I want to be on the right side of that.”
Her new show will serve as one of the signature offerings of FanDuel TV, the launch of which represents the first foray by one of the industry’s major legalized sportsbook operators into the media business. To be sure, ESPN2 features a regular show about betting, “The Daily Wager.” DraftKings, one of FanDuel’s biggest rivals, produces a series of podcasts. And Caesars Entertainment struck a deal in June with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions to produce podcast and digital series.
But none of them operate a 24-hour TV schedule. FanDuel is betting on the power of linear TV (with broadband accompaniment) at a time when that business has more skeptics than in the past. General-entertainment and sports outlets that rely on cable for distribution have seen their subscribers drop and audiences dwindle and more consumers move to streaming venues to watch their favorite programming.
FanDuel launches its network amid a push to legalize certain types of gambling across the nation. The market for legal sports betting is seen as growing from $4.3 billion in 2021 to $19.7 billion in 2026, according to estimates from Ellers & Krejcik, a market-research firm. Already, 36 states allow legal betting, with 58% of the adult U.S. population residing in one of those states. Advertisers who want to lure the gambling crowd could make use of a national media outlet that caters to them.
As digital companies win sports rights, they are making the games more interactive. Amazon’s Prime Video, for example, will surround its “Thursday Night Football” streamcasts with alternate fees and the chance to explore stats and highlights, all with the click of a button.
FanDuel isn’t starting from scratch. It has owned the TVG cable network—largely focused on horse-racing and once part of TV Guide Inc.—for years, part of an acquisition made by a predecessor company. But its efforts might just create, if not the next ESPN or Fox Sports, then certainly the next ESPN or Fox Sports of sports betting.
“I am rebuilding TVG as FanDuel TV to be the first network built from the ground up that is designed to be watched with a phone in your hand,” says Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel’s chief commercial officer, in an interview. “Every single frame on the screen will have something you can interact with.”
Both FanDuel and its broadband counterpart FanDuel+ will go live in September. Adams’ new 11 a.m. weekday program isn’t the only offering. Pat McAfee’ PMI Network will produce content that will be used in FanDuel TV’s weekly block of programming. The Ringer, the sports and culture hub backed by Bill Simmons, will provide material from its podcasts and digital networks. “More Ways to Win,” hosted by former ESPN anchor Lisa Kerney, will continue to run on the network. FanDuel TV will also showcase international basketball thanks to a new licensing agreement with Sportradrar that will give it more than 3,000 hours of live international sports to show And FanDuel TV will continue to highlight horse-racing coverage that has long been available on TVG.
FanDuel hopes to break the mold, says Raffensperger. “The world does not need more very analytic, pick-based touts of the X’s and O’s of gambling. There is a lot of that out there, and frankly, I don’t think it can always be that interesting,” he says. “I’m interested in creating something that features voices like Kay’s that are unique, authentic and have real engagement with their audience, and can thread gaming into broader editorial narratives in sports and culture.”
Adams, the sportscaster, expects to talk to a new type of sports audience, one that plans on interacting with the games they see rather than passively taking them in. “To me, success on this show will be building a community that is ready for the future of what sports content looks like,” she adds.