Fox Sports Puts Chips Into Gambling Business

Fox is jumping into the legalized gambling market.

Speaking at Fox’s investor conference on Thursday, Fox Sports head Eric Shanks called the new Fox Bet venture "the most ambitious and most exciting” of the company’s new revenue opportunities.

Fox on Wednesday bought a 4.9% stake in Stars Group for $236 million. The companies will jointly launch Fox Bet.

“The opportunity presented to us by legal sports wagering and I-gaming we think is simply massive,” Shanks said. “Fox Bet will be a trailblazer in using the strength of a major media company to develop this enormous potential with digital first products.”

Shanks said Fox expect sports wagering to be a $7 billion business in the U.S. by 2025, with another $1 billion in marketing and sponsorship money on top of that.

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“In time, the expansion of legal wagering will drive fan engagement and in turn viewership and will become a growth category for sports advertising at both the national and local levels,” he said.

Fox has done research that found that 27% of Americans would consider using a Fox Sports branded wagering platform.

“We're going to be up and running by this football season,” Shanks said. “It's a complicated gaming marketplace filled with brands that are largely unfamiliar to American sports fans. Fox Bet will stand out as a brand that the fan at home knows and trusts.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.