The future is now. And it’s brought to you by FanDuel Group.
The American sports betting arm of Paddy Power Betfair, and overseer of burgeoning New Jersey power FanDuel Sportsbook, announced this week that it will integrate live-streaming broadcasts alongside odds on its website and mobile app. This comes a few days after FanDuel Sportsbook rolled out the service last week in the Garden State.
While the initial offering of sports won’t have you sprinting to your computer or phone (FanDuel will start with midlevel tennis and German Bundesliga soccer), this amuse-bouche of a feature brings the future of legalized sports betting to the forefront.
FanDuel brings sportsbook experience to mobile device
This FanDuel integration comes courtesy of a partnership with data giant Sportradar. And because of this team, the entire retail sportsbook experience becomes mobile. Only in New Jersey, at least. For now.
Since the dawn of time (which began with televised sports; change my mind), the marriage between brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and TVs on its walls has been ever so pleasant.
The big-screen, high-definition screens throughout an expansive sportsbook is essentially the draw for customers. Head to the property, find a table, set up shop for the day, and head to the betting windows to place a wager.
Now, that long walk to the betting window is eliminated. As is the daunting task of even getting off the couch. Watch a game, make an in-game wager as you watch the game, all without getting out of your comfy sweatpants at home.
Said Nial Connell, general manager of FanDuel Sportsbook:
“We’re trying to build the most engaging and entertaining sports betting experience in the U.S.”
This is the world envisioned. And perhaps sooner than expected.
US sports betting gets taste of Europe
Per Bloomberg, offerings such as this FanDuel-Sportradar product are commonplace in Europe. The streaming feeds of overseas operators are not the greatest, using lower resolution video to avoid infringing on the rights of media companies that paid for full rights packages.
On American soil, obtaining rights to stream the popular leagues may become more difficult. Leagues and networks negotiated long-term deals long ago, long before states began considering the legalization of sports betting.
Perhaps down the road, the leagues that once fought tooth and nail to prevent state-sanctioned wagering will budget in media rights for sportsbook operators. Until then, bookmakers such as FanDuel are limited to what sports they can stream.
Interestingly, as reported by Bloomberg, FanDuel’s access to these sporting events is not exclusive. So if DraftKings Sportsbook and William Hill US, both chief competitors of FanDuel in New Jersey, wanted to partner with Sportradar in order to offer a similar experience, they can do so.
Sports betting quickly adapting, expanding
This is the future of sports betting. And we’ve already had a small taste of it.
Recall that NBC Sports introduced special broadcasts of NBA games involving the Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers. During these select games, viewers could watch the action while live in-game odds scroll across the screen.
Even The Masters inadvertently streamlined the nascent of sports betting. The golf tournament this year set out to archive (thus allowing the public to potentially view) every shot of the weekend.
Those NBA games, though, did not accept wagers. (It was a “predict the game” situation for a chance at winning a prize.) The Masters’ decision was not the result of adapting to, and was not explicitly made to further the progress of, legalized wagering.
This summer, theScore Inc., a sports media company, expects to launch a sportsbook in New Jersey. That will make theScore the first media group to integrate wagering.
FanDuel, though, will beat them to the punch in terms of what’s offered. Streaming a game with the opportunity to make in-play bets on the same screen is groundbreaking. And ultimately, as Connell told Bloomberg, that could attract even more business.
“If you’re betting on something, you tend to want to watch the outcome of it,” Connell said. “It’d be a bit like betting on a horse race but not being able to see the actual race at all. Plus, a lot of this tennis content is matches that aren’t on terrestrial TV.”