DraftKings is about to become an even bigger player in the sports betting content space. Announced this morning, the company has acquired VSiN.
The Vegas Sports Information Network, which launched in 2017 under the guidance of Brian Musburger, arrived on the sports betting scene by placing a heavy focus on delivering trusted sports betting information for gambling enthusiasts across different platforms. They struck a deal with the South Point Casino to serve as their home base (Circa has also become a key partner for where VSiN produces content) and established multiple partnerships to showcase their talent and content on radio, television, and digital platforms. Among those partnerships included Comcast Xfinity, Sling TV, fuboTV, Roku, Rogers’ Sportsnet, MSG Networks, Marquee Sports Network, iHeartradio, and SiriusXM. The company no longer broadcasts on SiriusXM and is planning to expand its footprint in the sports radio space in the near future.
The growing reach of VSiN combined with its strong Las Vegas presence made the company appealing to DraftKings, who will now look to use the company’s talent and content to reach sports gamblers thru its mobile sports betting app. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but DraftKings is said to have more than enough cash on hand to cover the cost. The company finished 2020 with $1.8 billion in cash on its balance sheet, and announced earlier this month that they’d be raising another $1 billion through convertible notes. The company raised its Fiscal 2021 revenue expectations in February from $900 million to $1 billion, surpassing their initial projection of $750 million to $850 million.
“This is a big jump-start for our content capabilities,” said Matt Kalish, the president of DraftKings, North America. “There’s endless demand for sports betting content these days, and we’ve started to dabble in that a little bit, through our relationship providing odds to Turner, or odds overlays in UFC broadcasts. There’s more and more demand for this type of content and VSiN really gives us that capability to get to the next level.”
Kalish said VSiN will retain its name and editorial independence as part of the agreement. The Las Vegas-based company will be asked by DraftKings to create content to help the company acquire more customers and increase media partnerships. DraftKings will also make their odds available to VSiN for use during broadcasts. VSiN will still have the ability to use odds from different sportsbooks during programming despite having a new owner.
VSiN is home for a number of familiar on-air talent including Michael Lombardi and Brent Musburger. The company’s morning show ‘Follow The Money‘ hosted by Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard has also gained traction thru television partnerships. The executive team of Brian Musburger, Stephan Shelanski, and Bill Adee is expected to remain intact. Dan Mason will give up his position as Chairman but remain involved with the company in a strategic advisory role. SeventySix Capital’s Wayne Kimmel dove deeper into VSiN’s growth and the DraftKings merger with Mason. To watch the video click here.
Fescoe in the Morning: ESPN Has a History of Ignoring Non-Partner Leagues
“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.
ESPN is out of the running for the Big Ten football and basketball media rights. Those will be awarded to a combination of other networks and likely a streaming service. ESPN appears to be focusing on NCAA Championships next.
Josh Klingler, co-host of Fescoe in the Morning on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City, took time on their show on Tuesday to break down what that might mean for the Big Ten in terms of coverage.
“You’re (Big Ten) going to network television, which is better; more eyeballs and what have you,” noted Klingler. “But also, let’s not forget ESPN has a history of ignoring you when you’re not on their air. That’s the risk they are going to run.”
Klingler would add, “They are going to take the money. They are going to get network viewers, which is good. I guess the highlight and the hype and all those things that we are accustomed to doing that ESPN provides. We’ve already seen they ignore you if you’re not on their network.”
Bob Fescoe chimed in a reminder about another prominent league that chose not to partner with ESPN.
“Ask the National Hockey League what happened when they took the money from NBC and ran,” said Fescoe.
“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.
“Right, but I think they are willing to do that for a billion dollars per year,” Fescoe responded.
Fescoe then said that the Big Ten might make up for the perceived shortcomings of not being on ESPN by being on network television.
“If you’re going to be on network TV in all three windows, Josh, quite honestly all your marquee games are going to be free,” said Fescoe.
“That’s exposure,” said Klingler.
NESN’s Dave O’Brien Says National Networks “Blew It” By Not Hiring Dennis Eckersley
“I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”
On Monday, Dennis Eckersley decided to make it known that this season would be his last with NESN in the booth. He mentioned that after 50 years in baseball, it was time to go be with the grandchildren in San Diego.
His broadcast partner for a lot of those years in the NESN booth was Dave O’Brien. On the latest Sports Media Mayhem podcast, O’Brien joined show host Alex Reimer to talk about the retirement of Eckersley. Reimer pointed out that it took awhile before Eckersley became the main color analyst for the team. O’Brien remembered the time well.
“When he started, he was pre- and post- and he did that most of his career at NESN,” said O’Brien. “It was really, only the last six or seven years that he really started to get on as a game analyst.”
O’Brien was named the lead play-by-play announcer for NESN’s Red Sox coverage in 2016 which is about the same time Eckersley slid into the role of game analyst. In the time since, O’Brien has seen the work of Eckersley up close and is floored that he was working for a regional sports network and not somewhere more nationally prominent.
“I think the national people totally blew it on Dennis Eckersley,” blurted O’Brien. “And that includes Turner. They had an opportunity, I can say that because a lot of those people there now didn’t make the decision. He should have been the lead analyst doing national games. He should have been on ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball or FOX. I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”
Sal Paolantonio Not Interested In Trying Ayahuasca To Better Understand Aaron Rodgers
“Halucinagenics have been at the center of a lot of conversations about Aaron Rodgers lately.”
Dan Patrick is a very good interviewer. He asks the questions he knows his audience wants answered. He also makes a habit out of throwing out questions to his guests that they never see coming. That was the case on Tuesday for ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio.
Paolantonio joined the Dan Patrick Show to discuss Pro Football Hall of Fame voting and the new NFL season. That is not what the host hit him with out of the gate.
The first question from Patrick to Paolantonio was “Just to relate to Aaron Rodgers, would you be willing to try ayahuasca?”.
Paolantonio was left speechless. All he could do was laugh and say “you got me on that one, Dan.”
Halucinagenics have been at the center of a lot of conversations about Aaron Rodgers lately. The Green Bay quarterback recently said on a podcast that experimenting with ayahuasca opened him up to be ready to succeed both on the field and as a leader. He credits the experience with laying the foundation for his 2021 MVP season.
Patrick pushed the issue challenging Paolantonio to beat Andrea Kremer to the experience.
“My money is on the fearless Andrea Kremer,” Paolantonio shot back.
For the record, Kremer responded to the challenge on Twitter.